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ODA Committee Update
November 18, 2002



November 18, 2002


Today the Ontario government announced that it has appointed eight more
members to the government-appointed Ontario Accessibility Advisory Council.
The ODA Committee has been urging the Ontario Government for months to fill
the majority of the Council's seats which have been vacant. Last April, it
appointed its first five members to this twelve-member body. Of those, its
originally-appointed chair, Mr. David Shannon, stepped down seven months
after taking on that post.

In the government's announcement, set out below, it replaced Mr. Shannon
with Jeff Adams as the chair, elevated existing council member Barry
McMahon to the position of vice-chair, and filled the remaining seven

These appointments took place today, over a year after the Conservative
government first introduced the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 into
the Legislature, over nine months after it proclaimed in force the power to
appoint this council, and over seven months since it appointed the first
five members of this twelve-member council.

The Ontario government re-created this council in 2001 to advise it on
implementation of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001. Such a body had
existed in Ontario since the 1970s. However, the Conservative government
abolished it in 1995, weeks after it first took office.

We congratulate these new appointees. The ODA Committee is eager to work
with the provincially-appointed council, and to do whatever we can to help
it succeed in our campaign for a barrier-free Ontario. The ODA Committee
wrote to the council via its previous chair, Mr. David Shannon, on October
2, 2002, offering our help to the council. We asked what plans the council
has for conducting public consultations on the implementation of the ODA
2001, including on developing regulations to implement it. We have not
received a response to that letter, nor to our earlier letter to a similar
effect dated June 13, 2002.



Attention News Editors:

Jeff Adams named new Chair of Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario joining eight additional appointees TORONTO, Nov. 18 /CNW/ - Brampton Olympian and Paralympian, Jeff Adams, was named the new Chair of the Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario (AAC), along with eight additional members appointed today by Citizenship Minister, Carl DeFaria. The AAC plays a critical role in advising the minister on implementation of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001. Minister DeFaria also appointed Barry McMahon, a disability activist from Ottawa, as vice-chair.

"I am delighted with the calibre of the individuals who have agreed to participate on the Accessibility Advisory Council," said DeFaria. "Together, they represent a depth of experience in issues affecting people with disabilities, and I know they will make a significant contribution to create a barrier-free province for the 1.9 million people with disabilities." Adams recently made headlines with his September 2002 CN Tower Climb in a specially designed wheelchair billed as 'Step Up to Change'. The event was held to raise awareness about the abilities of people with disabilities and to highlight the barriers that people with disabilities face every day. Adams replaces former Chair Dave Shannon, who has accepted a new full-time position with the federal government and is unable to continue his work with the Council.

"It is with great regret that I recently had to accept Dave's resignation," said DeFaria. "As Chair, Dave brought a great deal of enthusiasm and expertise to the Council. I would like to publicly thank him for the work he did in getting the Council off to a good start."

Today's appointments include Valerie A. Baker, chief facilitator for V.A. Baker & Associates in Waterloo; André F. Bélanger, a senior executive in charge of finance, human resources, information services and labour relations with the Conseil scolaire de district catholique centre-sud; Kathryn E. Bremner, office manager with the Durham College Student Association; Barbara Fowke, a community worker with the Opening New Doors program in the Waterloo Region; Uzma Khan, a second year Ryerson University student active in campus accessibility; Karen Liberman, consumer survivor and recognized spokesperson on mental health issues; Tracy MacCharles, vice-president of human resources for Manulife Financial; and Kristin Snodden, Coordinator for the Ontario Cultural Society for the Deaf and a Director of the Canadian Hearing Society. Dean La Bute, of Windsor and Duncan Read, of Ajax, were appointed last May.

The Accessibility Advisory Council was established following the February
2002 proclamation of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001. Under the
act, a majority of Council members must be people with disabilities, chosen
for their broad range of skills and experience in, and sensitivity to
disability issues.

The Council will advise the minister on implementing the act and preparing
regulations, as well as provide input on programs of public information
related to the act and the accessibility for people with disabilities to
services provided or funded by the government of Ontario.

The Ontarians With Disabilities Act, 2001 is Canada's most far-reaching and
comprehensive legislation for people with disabilities. It builds on the
government's multi-billion dollar commitment to programs and services for
people with disabilities.

The act requires municipalities, universities, colleges, school boards,
hospitals, public transportation organizations, and the Ontario Public
Service to develop plans to make their buildings, programs and services
more accessible to people with disabilities. It also allows for regulatory
codes and standards for the private sector.


Following are brief biographical sketches of the members of the
Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario, appointed by Minister of
Citizenship Carl DeFaria.

Jeff Adams, chair, is a two-time Olympian, four-time Paralympian, six-time
World Champion and has held numerous World Records. He is a 12-year member
of Canada's national wheelchair racing team. When not in training and
competition, Adams is also a motivational speaker and corporate
efficiencies consultant.

Barry McMahon, vice-chair, was for nine years, an executive producer of
film and video with Public Works and Government Services Canada. Prior to
working with the federal government, he ran his own production company for
12 years, as well as working as a producer/director with companies in
Canada and England. Post-polio Syndrome, with its typical symptoms of
fatigue, weakness, and pain, caused him to permanently retire in 1996.

Valerie A. Baker, chief facilitator for V.A. Baker & Associates, has
developed and taught courses in self-development at Conestoga College, and
written numerous articles related to disability issues. She has also
co-facilitated on oral communication courses to clients with disabilities
as well as attendants working with people with disabilities.

André F. Bélanger, a senior executive in charge of finance, human
resources, information services and labour relations with the Conseil
scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud, has been active in the Canadian
College of Health Services Executives, the Canadian Association of Health
Care Human Resource Management, and the Human Resources Professional
Association of Ontario.

Kathryn E. Bremner, office manager with the Durham College Student
Association, has served as chair of both the Words in Whitby writers'
festival and Breaking the Barriers Forum on disability issues in Durham
Region. She also founded the Whitby & District Sledge Hockey Association to
provide opportunities for athletes with physical disabilities to play
hockey with able-bodied athletes.

Barbara Fowke, a community worker with the Opening New Doors program in the
Waterloo Region, was a research assistant at the Centre for Research and
Education in Human Services, a project that explored strategies for linking
people with disabilities with community life.

Uzma Khan, a second year Ryerson University student active in campus
accessibility, was a member of a Ryerson Student Advisory Committee for
Ryerson's Access Centre, and dealt with campus issues related to
accessibility, including an accessibility audit at the university.

Karen Liberman, consumer survivor and spokesperson on mental health
illness, executive director of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario,
who has been honoured as a "Health Hero" by Chatelaine magazine for her
work in combating the stigma of mental illness in Ontario.

Tracy MacCharles, vice-president of human resources for Manulife Financial,
has been an active volunteer for numerous charities including the Canadian
Cancer Society, Ontario Division Board of Directors, the Canadian
Paraplegic Association, the Big Sister's Association of Ajax-Pickering and
the United Way.

Kristin Snodden, co-ordinator for the Ontario Cultural Society for the
Deaf's ASL and Early Literacy Consultant program, a Director of the
Canadian Hearing Society, and Secretary for the Canadian Cultural Society
of the Deaf, was a member for GOAL: Ontario Literacy for Deaf People, and a
member of the Student Advisory Committee for Accessibility Services at the
University of Toronto.

The following members were appointed by Minister DeFaria last May:

Dean La Bute, has a strong history of advocacy work on disability issues.
He is the founding Chairman of the Windsor-Essex Chapter of the Ontarians
with Disabilities Act Committee, as well as the regional representative for
the provincial committee. La Bute also serves with the Windsor Advisory
Committee on Disability Issues, and is the founding Chairman of the Health
Services Sub-committee.

Duncan Read is a deputy judge for the Ontario Small Claims Court, Ontario
Superior Court of Justice. He is experienced in dispute resolution. In
2001, he opened the Law Office of Duncan P. Read in Ajax, an office
dedicated to representing small business. Read is a former President of the
Ontario March of Dimes and has acted in many capacities with that
organization. He has an extensive knowledge of disability issues.


The Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA) was passed on December 14,
2001. A partial proclamation of several sections of the act took place on
February 7, 2002 (section 19, establishing the Accessibility Advisory
Council of Ontario and section 20, establishing the Accessibility
Directorate of Ontario). The proclamation of these two sections was the
essential first step that needed to be taken before the balance of the act
could be proclaimed.

Proclamation of additional sections on September 30, 2002 brought into law
obligations on the part of the government of Ontario, municipalities,
public transportation organizations, school boards, hospitals and colleges
and universities. Ongoing ODA implementation demonstrates the government's
commitment to people with disabilities, reaffirms the seriousness of this
commitment and ensures that relevant sectors comply with the legislation by
implementing the necessary changes.

Key Dates

Passage of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 - December 14, 2001
Partial Proclamation - February 7, 2002
Notice to Proclaim posted in Ontario Gazette - July 6, 2002
Further Proclamation - September 30, 2002
Government Internet accessibility - December 31, 2002

Affected Organizations Municipalities

Municipalities (10,000 + population) are required to have municipal
accessibility advisory committees in place. All municipalities are required
to develop annual accessibility plans and make them public within one year
of proclamation, i.e. September 30, 2003.

Hospitals, school boards, colleges, universities, and public transportation

These organizations are required to prepare annual accessibility plans in
consultation with people with disabilities and make them public within one
year of proclamation. The plans will address the identification, prevention
and removal of barriers to people with disabilities in the organizations'
by-laws and its policies, programs, practices and services.

A resource package is available to provide guidance to those with
obligations under the ODA.

Disponible en franJais

For more information visit:




For further information:
Ginette Whitten-Day,
(416) 314-7389;
Mike Campbell,
Minister's Office,
(416) 325-1891


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