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


September 18, 2000


Below is a news release which Liberal Disability Critic Steve Peters
has issued. Earlier this year, Mr. Peters filed a request with the
Citizenship Ministry for documents concerning the Minister's and
Ministry's activity over the past year concerning the Ontarians
with Disabilities Act. He did so because the Minister was refusing
to provide meaningful information on this topic.

The Minister or Ministry responded that Mr. Peters would have to
pay some $450 for this information. Mr. Peters gave a cheque to
the Premier for this in the Legislature during Question Period this
past spring. The Ministry nevertheless did not comply with the

Mr. Peters then filed an appeal under the Freedom of Information
Ultimately, an order was issued to comply with Mr.
Peters' request. Finally, the Minister recently turned over the
documents to Mr. Peters.



September 18, 2000



Queen's Park: After waiting five months for the Minister of
Citizenship Culture and Recreation to stop stalling and comply with
a Freedom of Information request, Steve Peters, M.P.P, the Liberal
Party Disabilities Critic, has finally received that ministry's
Ontarians with Disabilities Act consultations findings.

The Ministry was ordered to comply by the office of Dr. Anne
Cavoukian, Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner. "After
waiting months for this information and reviewing its contents, it
is clear to me that Minister Helen Johns is not the voice for the
disabled in this province", said Peters. "What is painfully clear
is that she spends more time doing damage control than actually
working toward drafting effective legislation."

The 600-page document contains submissions from various individuals
and organizations and shows overwhelming support for effective
legislation that would remove and prevent the barriers faced by
more than 1.5 million persons with disabilities in this province.
Despite overwhelming support, ministry-briefing materials continue
to script the Minister to dodge, duck and avoid. Internal ministry
documents acknowledge the government's commitments including
support for the 11 principles, outlined by the Ontarians with
Disabilities Act Committee and supported by the legislature, yet
the Minister now appears to be waffling in her support of these
very principles.

"This Minister has failed to respond to the needs of the community
she is mandated to represent," said Peters. "Her own Ministry's
documentation reveals nothing in the way of a solid action plan as
a precursor to strong legislation." An example of this is that
while stating she is working full time on this and meeting with
stakeholders on a weekly basis, her own schedule shows this is
clearly not the case. "These documents admit to the large
commitments made by Mike Harris and this government yet reveal
nothing about a planned approach to make good on those
commitments." Peters concludes.

As promised, Peters is committed to providing the results of his
own province wide consultations to the Minister when the
legislature resumes sitting this fall.


Contact: Steve Peters, M.P.P. 1- 519-631-0666
Mary Devorski 416-325-7179
Suzanne van Bommel 1- 519-631-0666


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