ODA Committee News Release
April 8, 2003
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE
NEWS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ONTARIO LIBERAL ELECTION PROMISE UNVEILED TODAY PLEDGES TO ENACT NEW, STRONG ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
Tuesday, April 8, 2003: As part of Ontario's ongoing undeclared election campaign, the Ontario Liberal Party today pledged to enact a new, strong, effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act if elected. 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 Liberals pledge in their April 7, 2003 letter to the ODA Committee to:
* pass an ODA that fulfils all 11 principles which the Ontario Legislature adopted on October 29, 1998, designed to make it strong and effective. It and regulations under it will include specific standards, timelines, and effective enforcement. It will build on the Liberals' proposed amendments to the Conservatives' 2001 ODA bill, proposed amendments which the Conservative Government defeated in the fall of 2001.
* Introduce this legislation with the intent of passing it within their first year in office.
* hold accessible public hearings on this legislation. Dalton McGuinty, as premier, will meet with ODA Committee representatives;
* Provide a cost of living increase to recipients of the Ontario Disability Support Plan.
"We congratulate the Liberals for making these important commitments, and look forward to publicizing any Party's election commitments on this important issue", 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."
The NDP made a similar election commitment on March 1, 2003. The Conservatives have made no commitment on this issue during 2003's undeclared election campaign.
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.
Ontario Liberal Party Unveils 2003 Election Pledge to Enact Strong Effective ODA dd April 8, 2003
ODA Committee Update dd Mar 1, 2003 ODA Committee Issues News Release on NDP Election
Pledge to Pass a New, Strong ODA Within One Year
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Last updated April 13, 2003