Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities

I am a huge fan and supporter of the AODA. And I want you to know about it too.

The AODA stands for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. It recognizes the history of discrimination against persons with disabilities in Ontario. The purpose of the Act is to benefit all Ontarians by developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises by January 1st 2025.

Part of my support for the AODA was serving on the provincially mandated AAC, The Accessibility Advisory Committee, from 2009-2011 in the Town of Oakville. The AAC is a citizen volunteer committee that advises the Mayor and Council on matters related to the identification, removal and prevention of barriers for persons with disabilities. As directed by the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001, every community in Ontario of more than 10,000 residents must form such a committee. Under the same act, this committee is required to review site plans and advise Council on barriers to accessibility within the proposed site plan.There are 10 citizen positions available on this advisory committee. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, states that the majority of members must be persons with disabilities. Once I moved to Toronto last year, I could no longer serve on the Oakville committee.

I applied to the Toronto AAC, but surprisingly did not even receive a call back!! I was shocked and hurt, as I was Chair for the Oakville AAC when I left Oakville, and therefore had to seek out different ways to be a part of an Act that I feel so strongly about.

So I joined the AODA Alliance and have been a member every since moving to Toronto. The AODA Alliance unites in hopes for a barrier-free and accessible Ontario. Currently, the AODA Alliance is asking its members for help–so I am happily doing my part.

Monday October 29, 2012 started the ‘Dial Dalton Blitz Campaign’. The campaign asks its supporters to call the Premier’s office to ask how Premier McGuinty plans to keep his 14-year old promise to effectively enforce the Disabilities Act. The aim is to get the current provincial Government to strengthen the enforcement of the AODA.

Fourteen years ago on Monday October 29th 1998, Dalton McGuinty first publicly promised to enact a strong Disabilities Act with effective enforcement. In 2005 the McGuinty Government passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act with the helpful enforcement provisions, but unfortunately these provisions are useless if the Government does not fully and effectively use them.

As of today, and as far as AODA Alliance can learn, the McGuinty Government has not made public an Ontario Government phone number that people can call to report barriers that violate the AODA.

If a number is not provided to call, the AODA Alliance ‘Dial Dalton Blitz Campaign’ seeks to call the office of the person who promised the effective enforcement of the Disabilities Act, Dalton McGuinty. McGuinty’s office number is:

Main number: 416.325.1941
TTY: 1.800.387.5559

As of Monday morning, the Campaign has asked AODA Alliance supporters to call the Office of the Premier of Ontario. I have called myself and have left my own message. While the chances of reaching the Premier personally are slim, a staff member should answer.

Here’s what the AODA Alliance suggests you might wish to say to whomever answers the Premier’s Office:

As Premier McGuinty promised that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act would be effectively enforced, I wonder what Ontario Government phone number I can call to report a barrier that violates the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act?

What does the Government plan to do to effectively enforce the AODA?

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