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Please Support a Strong & Effective ODA


ODA Update
December 4, 2000


We are very delighted to let you know that a new, strong and
important voice has joined in the call for a mandatory and
effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act. This is the voice of
leaders in Ontario's seniors community.

Today at Queen's Park, representatives of major organizations and
coalitions speaking for the interests of seniors held a news
conference. They called on the Harris Government to enact a
strong and effective ODA. Their news release is set out below.

This news release comes on the first business day after December
3, the United Nations' International Day for Persons with
Disabilities. It's especially important to welcome seniors'
organizations to this movement, since seniors have such a strong
interest in achieving a barrier-free Ontario for all people with

We want to express our heart-felt appreciation to the seniors
organizations that organized and carried out this news
conference. This is yet another big step in the momentum which
just keeps on building in support of a strong ODA.

All are encouraged to circulate this news release to your local
media, and to encourage local seniors' groups in your community
to join in this ever-expanding movement. If you know of people
or organizations who want to get involved in this effort by
seniors' organizations, and they are looking for contacts to
join, please have them contact me at oda@odacommittee.net






Monday, December 4, 2000 - Ontario seniors and seniors
organizations are voicing their support for a strong and
effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA). United Senior
Citizens of Ontario, the Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens
Organizations, Canadian Pensioners Concerned, Canadian
Association of Retired Persons (Canada's Association for the
Fifty Plus), the Older Women's Network, and Care Watch Toronto
Inc. are calling for the Ontario government to act now on a 1995
campaign promise by Premier Mike Harris to bring in new
legislation to ensure that Ontario becomes a barrier free
society. In 1998 the Harris government introduced an ineffective
three page bill which did little to ensure that barriers facing
persons with disabilities would be removed. This bill was widely
condemned and was withdrawn.

One year ago, on November 23, 1999, the Harris government
supported an all-party resolution calling for a strong and
effective Disabilities Act. Seniors are reminding the Harris
government of this commitment. They are urging the government to
engage in a meaningful consultation with the ODA Committee,
seniors' organizations, and others. Legislation must be
introduced to ensure no new barriers are put in place in the
future, and that the principles of Universal Design are followed in
products, communications, and the built environment. The
legislation must also provide effective measures to ensure the
removal of existing barriers.

There is significant support in Ontario for a strong and
effective ODA. Over 20 municipal councils across the province have
passed resolutions calling for this legislation. On November 23,
2000, the Liberal Party of Ontario released a report entitled "The
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Liberal Consultation Tour Report"
which documents the barriers encountered by persons with
disabilities. The report calls for strong and effective
legislation. Seniors want their voices added to this growing list
of supporters.

Many seniors lead active and fulfilling lives. However, with the
seniors' population projected to double in the next twenty years,
there will be a growing number of seniors with disabilities.
Society must do all it can to ensure that these individuals will
still be able to participate meaningfully in the life of Ontario.
A strong and effective ODA will play an important part in
ensuring that future generations live in a barrier-free society.

December 3rd is United Nations' International Day for Persons with



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