ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE
Wednesday, August 2, 2000
For Immediate Release
DISABILITY COALITION TO UNVEIL NEW STRATEGY
AT QUEEN'S PARK NEWS CONFERENCE
AFTER ANOTHER BROKEN PROMISE
FROM THE HARRIS GOVERNMENT
Wednesday August 2nd, 2000 - The Ontarians with Disabilities Act
Committee will hold a news conference at the Queen's Park Media
Studio at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, August 3, 2000. It will
unveil its plans for action in the face of the latest Harris
government broken promise to 1.5 million Ontarians with
disabilities. The last Throne Speech promised a new action plan for
the ODA before the end of the Legislature's session. Citizenship
Minister Helen Johns later committed to bring this plan forward by
June. But there is still no action plan announced.
"The Harris government's latest breach of its word rubs painful
salt in the wound of Premier Harris's broken 1995 promise to enact
the Ontarians with Disabilities Act in his first term," said David
Lepofsky, chair of the province-wide non-partisan ODA Committee.
"While the Premier keeps stalling on this overdue legislation, more
and more barriers against people with disabilities are being
created, some financed with tax dollars. This cruelty cannot
This news conference comes one week after the tenth anniversary of
U.S. President George Bush's signing into law the landmark
Americans with Disabilities Act. "Americans with disabilities have
a decade of progress to celebrate," said Lepofsky. "But all we
Ontarians with disabilities have is five years of betrayal and
broken promises by a Premier who claims to keep all his
commitments." The news conference also comes fully two years after
previous Citizenship Minister Isabel Bassett commenced
consultations on what to include in disability legislation.
The ODA Committee will announce its plans to step up grass-roots
action in 19 regions of the province. "We have found that the
public is very supportive of our need for a strong new law to tear
down the barriers that block people with disabilities from fully
participating in Ontario life," said Lepofsky. "The Harris
government cannot keep hiding from this."
Twelve municipal governments across Ontario have passed resolutions
calling on the Ontario government to enact the Ontarians with
Disabilities Act. During the current U.S. presidential campaign,
both Republican candidate Bush and Democratic candidate Gore have
expressed their commitment to the Americans with Disabilities Act,
and have promised to vigorously enforce it.
In the 1995 election, Premier Harris promised to work together
personally with the ODA Committee to develop the Ontarians with
Disabilities Act. Half a decade later, he continues to refuse even
to meet with this grass-roots coalition.
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