ODA Committee Update
dated March 1, 2003
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE UPDATE
ODA COMMITTEE ISSUES NEWS RELEASE ON NDP ELECTION PLEDGE TO PASS A NEW, STRONG ODA WITHIN ONE YEAR
March 1, 2003
The ODA Committee has issued a news release on the NDP election pledge to pass a new, strong ODA within one year. (See below). It summarizes for the media the information we have sent in today's email announcement on this development. We emphasize that the ODA Committee does not support or oppose any party, but seeks to publicize the parties' platforms on this election issue.
We encourage you to circulate this news release to your local media. Encourage them to cover this now and to cover the ODA issue throughout the forthcoming election campaign.
NDP ONTARIO ELECTION PLATFORM TODAY PLEDGES TO ENACT NEW, STRONG ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
Saturday, March 1, 2003: The NDP provincial election platform, unveiled today, is the first platform of any party in the current undeclared provincial election campaign pledging to enact a new, strong, effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act. This legislation is needed to tear down the many barriers to access to jobs, goods, services and facilities that impede 1.9 million Ontarians with disabilities.
The NDP pledge to:* pass an ODA within one year that fulfils all 11 principles which the Ontario Legislature adopted on October 29, 1998, designed to make it strong and effective. It will include specific standards, timelines, and effective enforcement. It will build on amendments to the Conservatives' ODA passed in 2001, which the ODA Committee proposed to the Legislature - proposed amendments which the Conservative Government defeated in fall of 2001.
* hold a barrier-free consultation, including accessible public hearings with Ontarians with disabilities. Howard Hampton, as premier, will meet with ODA Committee representatives;
* take steps to make this provincial election barrier-free;
* take steps to remove the barriers in the Ontario Disability Support Plan, e.g. linking ODSP benefits to the cost of living. "We congratulate the New Democrats for making these important commitments, and look forward to publicizing any commitments on this important issue that the other parties announce," said David Lepofsky, Chair of the ODA Committee, a province-wide grassroots disability coalition organized in 23 regions of Ontario, that has led the eight-year fight for strong, new disability legislation. "The ODA Committee does not seek to elect or defeat any party or candidate. We plan to urge voters to make the ODA an important election issue, as we did in the last two provincial elections and in each by-election in recent years. It touches the lives of millions of voters."
In the 1995 election, the Conservatives promised to enact the ODA in their first term. They only passed legislation in December 2001, and only after people with disabilities across Ontario battled relentlessly for years to get the Conservatives to keep their pledge. Most found the Conservatives' 2001 bill very disappointing. It fell far short of expectations. For example, it does not address the many barriers people with disabilities face throughout the private sector.
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Last updated March 1, 2003