ODA Committee Update
November 8, 2002
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE UPDATE
ODA and Related Disability Issues again arise in the Ontario Legislature over past week
November 8, 2002
The ODA and related disability issues came up again twice in the past week
in the Ontario Legislature. These events, summarized here, are set out in
* On November 5, 2002, the first anniversary of the Ontario Government
introducing its ODA bill into the Legislature, Liberal disability critic
Ernie Parsons made a statement about it in the Legislature. He focused on
the Government's delays in getting the ODA 2001 implemented, and the lack
of progress towards a barrier-free Ontario.
* Earlier, on October 31, 2002, Liberal disability critic Ernie Parsons
introduced a private member's bill into the Legislature. His bill provides
for a process aimed at raising Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
benefits. A similar bill, introduced last spring by NDP disability critic
Tony Martin, was defeated in the Legislature. The governing Conservatives
voted Mr. Martin's bill down, while the NDP and Liberals voted in favour of
Mr. Martin's bill. Mr. Parsons' bill passed first reading on October 31,
2002. His bill and the statement which he made about it in the Legislature
are set out below.
Tuesday November 5, 2002
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES
Mr Ernie Parsons (Prince Edward-Hastings): One year ago today, Citizenship
Minister Cam Jackson introduced the Ontarians with Disabilities Act. This,
by the way, is the minister who gave new meaning to the phrase "meeting
with stakeholders." Many of my Conservative colleagues have said, "How is
the act working? Can we have an update on it?" I'm pleased to provide that
Since one year ago today, of the 13 major new commitments that were
promised to Ontarians with disabilities, none have been kept.
One year after appointing a new provincial advisory council, only five of
12 have been appointed -- not one woman.
One year ago today, this government committed to working to launch an
incentive program to get all sectors to work together to remove and prevent
barriers. No program has been announced. Cam Jackson promised no new
barriers. Fifty special education teachers were laid off in Ottawa, a major
barrier to special-ed students.
Former Citizenship Minister Isabel Bassett committed to amend the Ontario
building code. Consultation took place in the winter of 2001. The reforms
were passed in the spring of this year. Not one new measure included
anything on disability access.
Your government said that you would lead by example. Over the seven years,
you are still working to try to make your own Web sites accessible.
As far as private industry goes, Pizza Pizza in Toronto clearly
demonstrated that they will not provide access to Ontarians with
Ontarians with disabilities say to your government, "Where's the beef?"
Thursday, October 31, 2002
ONTARIO DISABILITY SUPPORT
PROGRAM AMENDMENT ACT, 2002
Mr Parsons moved first reading of the following bill:
Bill 203, An Act to amend the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997
to empower the Integrity Commissioner to determine the level of income
The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the
motion carry? Carried.
The member for a short statement?
Mr Ernie Parsons (Prince Edward-Hastings): This is a bill that shouldn't
have to be introduced, but it is an opportunity to let the government do
the right thing. Unfortunately, it seems we have to embarrass him. At a
time when cabinet ministers are living on publicly funded steaks, we have
people on ODSP depending on food banks.
The Speaker: Could you please just stick to your bill and the explanation?
Don't let's get political, please.
Mr Parsons: This bill amends the Ontario Disability Support Program Act,
1997, to empower the Integrity Commissioner to make recommendations
concerning the level of income support to be set by the Lieutenant Governor
in Council under the program and the time and manner of providing it. This
is a bill that does not cause the Legislature to spend money but provides
for recommendations to be made. Legal opinion that I have received
indicates that this is acceptable.
Ontario Disability Support Program Amendment Act, 2002
The Bill amends the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997 to empower
the Integrity Commissioner to make recommendations concerning the level of
income support to be set by the Lieutenant Governor in Council under the
program and the time and manner of providing it.
An Act to amend the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997 to empower
the Integrity Commissioner to determine the level of income support.
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly
of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
1. Section 11 of the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997 is
repealed and the following substituted:
Determination of income support
11. (1) The amount of income support to be provided and the time and manner
of providing that support shall be determined in accordance with the
regulations, but in making the regulations the Lieutenant Governor in
Council shall consider the recommendations made in a report made under this
Income support review
(2) The Integrity Commissioner appointed under the Members' Integrity Act,
1994 shall, at such intervals as he or she considers appropriate, review
the amount of income support paid under subsection (1) and make
recommendations concerning the appropriate amount of support and the time
and manner for providing it.
(3) Following each review, the Integrity Commissioner shall prepare a
report setting out his or her recommendations on the appropriate amount of
income support and the time and manner for providing it.
(4) The report of the Integrity Commissioner may recommend,
(a) that some classes of income support be made mandatory and must be
provided to persons who are eligible and other classes of income support be
(b) the classes of persons who will be eligible to receive the income
(c) the method of determining what portion of income support should be
provided with respect to each person.
(5) The Integrity Commissioner shall cause a copy of the report to be
delivered to the Speaker who shall, at the first opportunity, cause it to
be tabled in the Assembly and published in The Ontario Gazette.
(6) If the report recommends an increase in the amount of income support,
it may also recommend that the increase may be retroactive to a date before
the regulation made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council is filed.
2. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.
3. The short title of this Act is the Ontario Disability Support Program
Amendment Act, 2002.
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