Image of black text with drop shadow that reads: Ontarians With Disabilities Act Committee


For Immediate Release

FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2000


On Friday, March 24, 2000, an open and public consultation will be
held at the Mount Hope Long Term Care Facility from 7 p.m.
to 9 p.m. by Liberal MPP Steve Peters on the proposal for the
Ontario Legislature
to enact a strong and effective Ontarians with
Disabilities Act. People with disabilities, their friends,
families and supporters, and other members of the community, are
all invited to attend this public forum, to describe the barriers
which 1.5 million Ontarians with disabilities face every day, and
how a new Ontarians with Disabilities Act could achieve a barrier-
free Ontario for all.

In the 1995 election, Premier Harris promised that he would pass an
Ontarians with Disabilities Act in his first term to achieve a
barrier-free Ontario for people with disabilities. That law was
never passed. He also promised in 1995 that he would work together
with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee, a non-partisan
province-wide community coalition, to develop that law. He has
refused since taking office to even meet with the ODA Committee,
now organized in 18 regions of Ontario including the London area.

In 1999, the Ontario Government said it would conduct more
consultations with the public before drafting a bill. But it was
recently revealed that instead of holding open public forums,
Citizenship Minister Helen Johns is merely holding closed,
invitation-only meetings with some groups. She has refused so far
to release her invitation list.

In the face of this, Steve Peters, MPP, the Liberals' Disability
Critic at Queens Park, announced he would hold his own series of
open, accessible and public consultations across Ontario. His
ambitious 15-city tour in March 2000 provides the public with an
open opportunity to share their ideas about their needs in their
local community, for Mr. Peters to report back to the Legislature.

"The Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee encourages everyone,
regardless of your political stripe, to participate in this
process, to tell Mr. Peters about the barriers they face in our
community, and about how a strong Disabilities Act would benefit
our entire community", said Cathy Vincent-Linderoos, a regional
representative of the ODA Committee. "Because we are non-partisan, we would
encourage everyone to participate no matter which party held an open forum
like this."

On November 23, 1999, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed a
resolution, sponsored by Steve Peters, which calls for a strong and
effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act to be enacted within two
years. The government has announced no steps since then to comply
with that resolution.

Contact: Cathy Vincent-Linderoos at or Jean Knight at 642-3999, or
e-mail David Lepofsky at



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