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ODA Committee Update
October 15, 2002


ODA Committee asked to provide input to government consultant on how to evaluate the effectiveness of the ODA 2001

October 15, 2002


The Ontario Government has retained a private consulting firm to design a
process for evaluating the effectiveness of the ODA 2001. The ODA 2001
requires the Government to review the effectiveness of this legislation
within five years. The private consultant has asked for input from the ODA
Committee. The ODA Committee here gives some ideas of possible feedback we
could give, and seeks your input on what we should tell the private


Section 22 of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 requires that a
review of the legislation be conducted within five years of the date of its
proclamation (i.e. by September 30, 2007). To support this requirement and
the effective implementation of the legislation, the Citizenship Ministry
has acquired the services of Cathexis Consulting Inc. to develop an
evaluation framework for the ODA 2001. The Cathexis team includes Martha
McGuire (President), Rochelle Zori and Burt Perrin, all of whom have
substantial experience in program evaluation and research to promote
improved accessibility for persons with disabilities.

We are very pleased to see that the Government is taking steps now to plan
for the evaluation which it will be required to conduct. We also are
pleased that the Government's consultant has sought our input.

Here are the questions which the consultant has provided to us. We also set
out below some possible answers to these questions, which the ODA Committee
might give. We would appreciate your feedback on this, preferably by Friday
October 18, 2002. Please email your feedback to:


We will do our best to incorporate the feedback we have received in
discussions with the Government's consultant.


Questions for Stakeholders

1. What is your understanding of the purpose of the Ontarians with
Disabilities Act?

Proposed ODA Committee Answer: The Government made 13 detailed promises in
the fall of 2001 on what the ODA would achieve. We See fulfilment of all of
these commitments as part of the ODA's purposes. These are posted at:

While the specifics of all these commitments are important, we can
summarize them as follows:

Ontario will become barrier-free for persons with disabilities as soon as
reasonably possible, far ahead of the U.S., at a point in time which the
disability community will determine. This will make Ontario Canada's most
inclusive province, with the ODA 2001 a key measure to achieve this.

No new barriers will be created against persons with disabilities.

Created under the ODA 2001 will be regulations imposing mandatory
requirements, covering all sectors including the private sector.

Ontario's disability community will be in the driver's seat, and the
forefront of change, playing a pivotal role in setting standards under the
ODA 2001.

The Government will enforce compliance with the ODA 2001, will take on a
leadership role and will set high standards. Specific accessibility results
will be achieved in the Government, the broader public sector (e.g.
schools, universities, colleges and hospitals), municipalities and the
private sector. These will include e.g. improved and more accessible
services and opportunities in all sectors, significant improvement in
community accessibility, enhanced access to schools, hospitals, colleges
and universities, greater ease in moving around communities safely,
significantly enhanced ability to participate in community life, greater
accessibility in the private sector, and increased retail job opportunities
for persons with disabilities.

2. What are some of your hopes and concerns regarding the legislation and
its implementation?

We hope that the legislation will achieve all the things the Government
promised. We are concerned that the final legislation was itself very
disappointing to many, and did not include many of the ingredients that the
ODA Committee and the broader disability community recommended. We are also
concerned that 10 months after this legislation was passed, the Government
has not appointed all the members to the provincial accessibility council,
and that no consultations have been commenced to develop standards and
enforcement mechanisms which the Government promised to enact under the ODA

3. What type of role do you feel is appropriate for your organization in
the conducting of an evaluation of the legislation and the implementation

The ODA Committee is eager to play a central role in these activities in
these ways:

(a) We wish to be directly consulted as a coalition, being the broad-based,
province-wide, grassroots organization that led the charge for this

(b) We wish to play a role in helping facilitate the gathering of input
from the broader disability community, so that the broader disability
community can voice its views directly to the Government;

(c) We wish to see the results of this evaluation process as they are
gathered and analyzed.

4. What could the Accessibility Directorate do to assist your organization
in participating in the evaluation?

The Accessibility Directorate could link its website to the ODA Committee's
website, and include direct reference to the ODA Committee in all its ODA
implementation materials as a helpful resource for the broader disability
community and other stakeholders.

The Accessibility Directorate could post information on its website on
recommendations it has made to various organizations on steps to become
barrier-free and information it obtains on whether this advice is acted

The Accessibility Directorate could be sure to obtain copies of all
accessibility plans and policies made by any organization under the ODA
2001, and could make this information available in accessible form e.g. on
its website.

The Accessibility Directorate in conjunction with the Accessibility Council
could conduct public consultations in this context across Ontario to enable
all to have a chance for direct input.

5. What do you see as some of the challenges in evaluating the legislation
and its strategy? How might those challenges be addressed?

The most important feature in evaluating this legislation is tracking what
actual removal and prevention of barriers occurs in the public and private
sectors over the next years. If opportunities to remove and prevent
barriers are missed, it will be critical to track why this happened.

For example, it will be important to track whether organizations include in
their accessibility plans all the barriers that persons with disabilities
bring to their attention, and to track whether organizations actually take
the steps that they set out in their accessibility plans.

In the end, the measure of the success or failure of this legislation will
be the extent to which Ontarians with disabilities can fully participate in
all that Ontario has to offer, including employment and the enjoyment of
goods, services and facilities.

6. Is there anything that we have not covered that you believe is important
to consider in designing the evaluation?

It is very important that the evaluation not focus on bureaucratic measures
ie. how many plans are made, or how many policies are adopted. Rather, the
important question is whether barriers are being removed and prevented as
soon as reasonably possible.


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