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Press Release
ODA Committee London News Release
January 30, 2005

Posted March 7, 2005





Legislature's Standing Committee To Kick Off Historic
Public Hearings On New Bill To Make Province Fully
Accessible For Ontarians With Disabilities

January 30, 2005 Toronto: On Monday, January 31, 2005, the Ontario
Legislature's Standing Committee on Social Policy kicks off 6 jam-packed
days of province-wide public hearings on Bill 118, the proposed
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act with the first two days of
hearings at Queen's Park. This bill aims to make Ontario a barrier-free
province for its over 1.5 million residents with physical, mental or sensory
disabilities. For the first time in Ontario history, these hearings, held
at Toronto, Ottawa, London, Niagara Falls and Thunder Bay, and ending on
February 8, will be televised and webcast (schedule attached).

"We've tenaciously campaigned for over a decade for a strong, effective new
law to tear down the barriers that block persons with disabilities from full
access to jobs, goods, services and facilities others take for granted,"
said David Lepofsky, chair of the province-wide non-partisan grassroots
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee that has led the charge for this
bill. "We're delighted that the Government brought this bill forward, that
all three parties unanimously supported this bill in principle on Second
Reading, that this bill now goes to televised public hearings, and that the
Government is open to suggestions from community groups at these hearings on
how to amend this bill to make it even better."

After consulting its supporters and extensive research, the ODA Committee
has filed a 50-page brief with the Standing Committee, and will make a
presentation to the hearings on Tuesday, February 1, 2005, from 3:45 to 4:00
p.m. at Committee Room 1, the Legislative Building, Queen's Park, Toronto.
It tabled a package of proposed amendments, which it hopes all parties will
support. These would add more time frames to the bill to ensure timely
progress towards full accessibility, would make the Government more open and
accountable when implementing this bill, would provide independent public
monitoring of progress under the bill, would mandate education on disability
accessibility and would close loopholes in the bill.

Many individuals and organizations will present their own perspectives on
the bill, will put a human face on this issue by describing the barriers
they face in their local communities and will suggest amendments. Bill 118
is the fourth disability accessibility bill to come before the Legislature
since 1994, over the span of three successive Ontario governments.

Contact: David Lepofsky oda@odacommittee.net

For full background, visit: www.odacommittee.net


For Premier McGuinty's election commitments regarding this legislation,
visit: www.odacommittee.net/news126.html


Monday Jan. 31 and Tuesday Feb 1: Toronto 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with lunch break
from noon to 1 p.m. Ontario Legislature Building Queen's Park Committee Room
1 Televised/webcast live

Wednesday, , Feb. 2 Niagara Falls Americana Conference Resort, South
Grand Ballroom

8444 Lundy's Lane (905) 356-8444
9 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Televised/webcast Friday, Jan. 4

Thursday, Feb. 3 London Four Points Sheraton 1150
Wellington Rd. South (519) 681-8222 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.
Televised/webcast Sat. Feb. 5

Monday, Feb. 7 Thunder Bay Valhalla Inn 1 Valhalla Inn Road
(807) 577-1121 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Televised/webcast Wed., Feb. 9

Tuesday, Feb. 8 Ottawa Courtyard By Marriott, Laurier Room
350 Dalhousie St. (613) 241-1000 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Televised/webcast Feb. Thurs., Feb. 10

The broadcast is on the Ontario Legislature Channel on TV and the webcast is
available on the Legislative Assembly website at

Last updated March 7, 2005


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