ODA Committee Update
dated June 22, 2003
posted June 30, 2003
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE UPDATE
Conservative Party's 2003 Election Platform Makes No Commitment To Strengthen The Ontarians With Disabilities Act
June 22, 2003
The Ontario Conservative Party's 2003 election platform, unveiled on May 16, 2003, included no commitments regarding the removal and prevention of barriers facing Ontarians with disabilities. In the Conservative Government's recent pre-Throne Speech consultation, many (including individuals involved in implementing the Tory ODA) asked Premier Eves to strengthen the Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The March 2003 pre-election Throne Speech similarly made no commitment to do this or anything to improve accessibility.
The Conservative Party's detailed 2003 60-page election platform, and the 18 policy papers released with it, include no commitment to strengthen the Ontarians with Disabilities Act or to take any other action announced as intended to work towards the goal of a barrier-free Ontario for persons with disabilities.
In contrast, the Liberal and NDP election platforms include specific commitments to strengthen the Ontarians with Disabilities Act within the first year of the next Government to make it strong and effective. Those two parties have each also committed to work together with the ODA Committee to develop the strengthened ODA.
In another important disability context, the Conservatives made the following 2003 election commitment regarding increases to the Ontario Disability Support Plan:
"Whether born with disabilities or rendered unable to work by illness or injury, some Ontarians simply cannot work and need our society's help. We will increase the support for our most vulnerable citizens by hiking our payments to disabled persons who are unable to work by 5% immediately, helping them meet the increased cost of living and improve their quality of life. The funds for this and future increases in Ontario Disability Support Program benefits will be taken directly from the savings we have made through cracking down on fraud and abuse of the system. We are taking from those who refuse to play by the rules and giving more to those truly unable to work."
In contrast, the Liberal and New Democratic Parties have each made election commitments to give a cost of living increase to ODSP recipients. There has been no cost of living increase to ODSP recipients since before the Conservatives took power in 1995. That cost of living has increased at least 15% over that period.
In June 2002, NDP disability Critic Tony Martin brought forward a private member's bill aimed at raising ODSP. The NDP and Liberals supported that bill. The Conservatives used their majority in the Legislature to defeat it.
In fall 2002 and then again in the current session of the Legislature, Liberal disability critic Ernie Parsons brought forward a similar private member's bill to raise ODSP. It has not passed.
To see the entire Conservative election platform, visit:
The Liberals' election commitments on the OdA can be seen at:
The NDP election commitments on the ODA can be seen at:
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Last updated June 30, 2003