Organizations Invited to Apply for Funding Under the National AccessAbility Week Call for Proposals to Promote Accessibility and Disability Inclusion

Under this new CFP, up to $2 million over two years is available to support up to 20 projects that will help:

improve understanding and knowledge among Canadians about accessibility and disability inclusion, including through NAAW activities taking place in 2025 and 2026; reduce stigma and attitudinal barriers towards persons with disabilities; and,
share best practices and lessons learned within the disability community on NAAW activities, to help support the broader culture change objectives of the Accessible Canada Act.

Read more at
https://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/organizations-invited-to-apply-for-funding-under-the-national-accessability-week-call-for-proposals-to-promote-accessibility-and-disability-inclusion/

Family, Leaders Mark Boardwalk Opening in Memory of David Onley

CBC News | Posted: Sunday, May 26th, 2024

New boardwalk is part of zoo’s plan to meet provincial accessibility standards

Family, politicians and members of the community gathered in Toronto Saturday to mark the opening of Toronto Zoo’s new boardwalk in memory of late accessibility champion and former lieutenant-governor, David C. Onley.

Located in the Rouge National Urban Park, the accessible boardwalk will “serve as a constant reminder to Zoo staff, volunteers and guests about the importance of ensuring accessibility for all,” the zoo stated in a release.

“For 26 years the Toronto Zoo has been a part of our lives with many family visits,” said Ruth Ann, Onley’s wife. The couple raised their three sons in Scarborough and frequented the zoo throughout the years.

“On behalf of the entire Onley family, we are thrilled today to see David’s life and legacy honoured in such a meaningful way.”

Onley had disabilities stemming from a childhood bout with polio, and he used a motorized scooter. As Ontario’s first lieutenant-governor with a physical disability, Onley spearheaded accessibility initiatives during his seven years in office. On Saturday, family, politicians and locals remembered Onley as an advocate and role model in his efforts, and a friendly face in the community.

“We hope this very small gesture of naming this beautiful trail will serve as a constant reminder of his many important contributions and the impact he had on so many people – an impact that will continue here for years to come,” said zoo president Dolf DeJong said.

Before the boardwalk was built, the space was a concrete path that was steep and hard to navigate, DeJong said. Now, it’s a paved walkway that people of all abilities should be able to use, and it won’t be the last one they’re building. He said another boardwalk will be opening between its Indo-Malaya pavilion and African rainforest pavilion.

DeJong said the boardwalks will help the zoo reach the mandatory standards outlined in the provincial Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), which has a deadline of 2025.

“This is us just getting started,” he said.

Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie said Onley was also a recognizable face within the Scarborough community.

“He was always kind and he was always friendly and he was always welcoming,” said McKelvie.

“We miss him dearly in the community.”

Tracy MacCharles, former Pickering- Scarborough East.MPP who was at one point responsible for accessibility and women’s issues in Ontario, said she remembers Onley as her adviser and family friend. She recalls helping to appoint Onley to conduct a review of the AODA.

“He didn’t pull any punches. He was just great in his analysis of where we’ve made progress in this province and where [some gaps] still exist,” she said.

Ann said Onley would be “overjoyed” to see companies and industries starting to understand the importance of accessibility.

“It’s a wonderful thing. We’re thrilled,” she said.

Original at https://www.cbc.ca/lite/story/1.7215249

Toronto Woman Who Uses Wheelchair Carried Off Air Canada Flight

The video was captured the same week the federal government wrapped up the National Air Accessibility Summit. The summit was launched in response to numerous reports of airlines leaving passengers with disabilities to deplane without assistance and misplacing vital equipment.

Read more at
https://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/toronto-woman-who-uses-wheelchair-carried-off-air-canada-flight/

Proposed Accessibility Laws Will Help Those ‘Being Left Behind,’ Says Advocate

The province has proposed laws to improve accessibility for public and private sector spaces, including standards and penalties for failing to comply.

Haley Flaro, the executive director of Ability New Brunswick, said it was a career highlight for her and her team to see the Accessibility Act tabled in the legislature on Friday.

Read more at
https://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/proposed-accessibility-laws-will-help-those-being-left-behind-says-advocate/

Timmins Group Boosting Bid for Provincial ParaTransit Passes

Pass would be valid anywhere in Ontario, like a parking permit Author of the article:Amanda Rabski-McColl
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Published May 24, 2024

A local group wants to make it easier for people needing paratransit to easily get on board services across the province. Paratransit is for people who cannot easily access public transit due to their age or disability.

The Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC) is submitting a letter of support for a proposal to the provincial Ministry of Transportation to develop a provincial-level paratransit use application process.

According to the City of Timmins website, “The mandate of the City of Timmins Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee is to advise city council on matters pertaining to the accessibility of person with disabilities as set out in the Ontarians with Disability Act (ODA), 2001 and the implementation of accessibility standards as set out in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005 and Regulations.”

The MAAC is made up of citizens with disabilities and their families, Ward 3 Councillor Bill Gvozdanovic and Ward 5 Councillor Kristin Murray.

The letter sets out the reasoning for the request.

“Currently, every municipality has their own process when it comes to specialized public transit services which is not valid in other municipalities,” it reads.

The goal is to create a province-wide eligibility process so that qualified people can use specialized public transit services anywhere in Ontario. This can be particularly important for those who need to travel for treatment or appointments to different cities.

The province already has a disability parking pass system that, in a letter to MAAC, Timmins Transit manager Marcel Cate said can function as a blueprint for a similar public transit one.

“Your endorsement of this initiative will send a powerful message to the Ministry of Transportation and other stakeholders about the importance of prioritizing accessibility and removing barriers to transportation for all Ontarians,” read the letter to MAAC.

MAAC chair Dan McKay said having a standard set would make things easier.

“It’s similar to the parking permit. It’s standardized,” he said. “You can go anywhere once you have that permit and use it.”

Municipalities are currently responsible for the application process for paratransit services, and they are not transferable.

The next step for the proposal is to request for Timmins council bring forward the resolution to the Ministry of Transportation.

Original at https://www.timminspress.com/news/timmins-group-boosting-bid-for-provincial-paratransit-passes

Devastating Death of Vulnerable Student with Disability at School Reinforces Urgent Need for Strong Provincial Oversight of School Boards’ Safeguards for a Third of a Million Students with Disabilities

ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 31, 2024 Toronto: The as-yet unexplained death of a vulnerable student with a rare disability in a Trenton high school two weeks ago, as reported by City TV news, has shocked Ontarians (See City News report, below). As the facts giving rise to this fatality are officially investigated, important questions need answers now about the protracted failure of the Ontario Government and its Ministry of Education to set and enforce much-needed standards to protect safety and accessibility for one third of a million students with disabilities in Ontario-funded schools.

The Ford Government is still sitting on detailed recommendations it received almost two and a half years ago on what it needs to do to set and enforce long-overdue standards to safeguard safety and accessibility for students with disabilities in Ontario schools, said David Lepofsky, who chairs the non-partisan Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance which advocates for disability accessibility in Ontario. Despite the disability communitys pleas, the Ford Government has not enacted the promised Education Accessibility Standard, even though it received detailed recommendations on it from a Government-appointed committee of experts in January of 2022.

The K-12 Education Standards Development Committee of which David Lepofsky was a member, made specific recommendations calling for standards on when a school board can use isolation or sensory rooms. It revealed that as of January 2022, the Ontario Government had no policy on this, and collected no data from school boards on when these are used. By abdicating its provincial responsibility, the Government left it to each of 72 school boards and all their employees to make up their own rules, or do whatever they wished. The K-12 Education Standards Development Committees final report included the following: Physical restraints and seclusion

Parents/guardians report that physical restraints and seclusion continue to be used in schools to manage the behaviour of students with disabilities. Seclusion can include the use of a sensory room or calming room in a disciplinary manner, rather than as a pro-active approach. It was confirmed by Ministry of Education staff that The ministry does not have a policy on the use of isolation/seclusion rooms or the use of restraints. Decisions related to the use of time-out (seclusion/isolation) rooms and restraints are made at the board level; no data is collected regarding the use of time-out (seclusion/isolation) rooms or restraints at a provincial level. The following recommendations address the need for a ministry policy.

68. It is recommended that the Ministry of Education should establish a policy with strict criteria regarding the use of seclusion and physical restraints for students with disabilities, which must include,
(a) criteria that must be met for the use of seclusion or physical restraints to be authorized. Calming or sensory room may be appropriately used as a self-regulation strategy and should not be used as a punishment, or when adequate supports are not available.
(b) mandatory written notification of the parents/ guardians of pupils who are subjected to the use of seclusion or physical restraints; and
(c) mandatory reporting to the school board and minister on the use of seclusion and physical restraints in schools. Each school board shall publicly report annually on how many instances it has restrained or secluded any students with disabilities and shall provide annual anonymized aggregate data on this to the ministry. The ministry shall annually make public the board by board number of such instances. Timeline: six months

Since it received the K-12 Education Standards Development Committees final report in January 2022, the Ford Government has not enacted the promised Education Accessibility Standard. It has not announced any new measures in response to any of the recommendations in that report. That report was the result of the most exhaustive review of Ontarios K-12 education system from the perspective of students with disabilities in our lifetime.

Ontarios schools, like the rest of our society, are far behind reaching the mandatory goal of becoming accessible to people with disabilities by 2025, the deadline which the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act imposes, said Lepofsky. Last June, the Ford Government was told that Ontario is facing an accessibility crisis by Rich Donovan, whom Ford hand-picked to conduct a mandatory review of Ontarios progress towards becoming disability-accessible. Since then, the Ford Government has continued to sit on its hands, rather than taking the urgent action for which so many have called.”

Contact: AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, aodafeedback@gmail.com Twitter: @aodaalliance

For more background, check out:
* The K-12 Education Standards Development Committee final report.
* The AODA Alliance websites education page, which documents its 15 year long battle to tear down safety and accessibility barriers in Ontario schools, and
* A captioned online video that provides a roadmap for an accessible school system in Ontario.

City News May 30, 2024

Originally posted at https://toronto.citynews.ca/2024/05/30/vulnerable-boy-dies-after-allegedly-being-left-alone-in-room-at-ontario-school/

Vulnerable boy dies after allegedly being left alone in room at Ontario school

The 16 year olds mother says her son had special needs and warned the school he could not be left alone because he suffered seizures. By Cynthia Mulligan and Meredith Bond

An Ontario mother is devastated after her 16-year-old son with special needs was found unresponsive and alone at his school two weeks ago, and later pronounced dead.

Brenda Davis, whose son Landyn had Dravet Syndrome, is looking for answers on why no one was allegedly with him. Shes left wondering whether he would still be alive if someone had been.

Dravet Syndrome is a rare type of epilepsy that causes seizures.
Landyn was in Grade 10 at Trenton Public High School. He was found unresponsive in a private room, known as a sensory room, on May 14.

All we know at this stage is that Landyn was left unattended in a room for some time, and he was found dead at the end of the day by teachers, said lawyer Josh Nisker, who is representing Davis.

Its unclear how long Landyn had allegedly been left unattended, Nisker said. It is my understanding he was found at the end of the day to be woken up to get on the bus to go home. He was found unresponsive and his body was cold.

Nisker explained that prior to the incident, Davis had told the school that Landyn couldnt be left alone, especially if he was napping, as sleep was often a trigger for his seizures.

Due to his condition, Davis slept in the same room as her son every night. She would either sleep in a bed with him or sleep on the floor on a mattress to be with him at night to ensure that he woke up every day safely and happy, said Nisker.

The police and the coroner are investigating, according to Nisker, but he said in incidents like these, sometimes it takes legal action to get answers.

The school board has not been forthcoming with the family, he said. And the hope is that through this process, we do get answers and ensure that like this never happens again.

Davis was too distraught to speak with CityNews, but described her devastation on social media: Never in a million years would I think they would close the door with him in a room like that, and not have eyes and ears on my boy.

In a statement to CityNews, the Hastings and Prince Edward County School Board said, as with any tragic event, a comprehensive review of procedures and processes is underway.

A spokesperson for the board would not comment on the protocol involving students with special needs and the sensory room, along with whether these students were allowed to be left alone.

The family is grieving, as are students, staff and the greater school community. Our hearts go out to everyone affected during this difficult time, continued the statement.

In a statement, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce said the loss of a child is an unspeakable tragedy.
We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the Trenton High School student who passed away and to the entire Hasting and Prince Edward District School Board community.

Lecce also said the police and school board have launched an investigation into the incident. I know all parties will work together to ensure this tragedy does not occur again, the statement continued.

The Ontario Autism Coalition has repeatedly called for more funding in schools, adding incidents affecting children with disabilities are often due to chronic underfunding.

Weve been trying to sound the alarm bells with the government for a number of years now about the lack of safety in schools for children with special needs, said Kate Dudley-Logue, vice-president of community outreach at the Ontario Autism Coalition. There is a serious lack of resources. [?] kids are in danger on a daily basis.

Nisker said as part of the familys case, they will be looking into a lack of resources led to this incident as well. Staffing might certainly be a component of this, but ultimately its a claim of negligence, negligence being that the teachers, educational assistants and administrators did not meet the standard of reasonable educators to ensure that this child who was entrusted to their care was provided for, supervised, treated with dignity and respect, he explained.

Nisker tells CityNews he has dealt with other personal injury cases involving children at schools, but nothing like this. Its a tragic case. Its a parents worst nightmare.

A fundraiser has been started to help his mother with funeral costs. It describes Landyn as happy-go-lucky, a child who often gave his mother bouquets of dandelions and loved to sing to his classmates.

Landyn was a son, a brother, a nephew, a classmate, the fundraiser dedication states. He was filled to the brim with goodness, light, kindness, singing songs and picking flowers.

Metroland Newspapers Publish AODA Alliance Chair’s Guest Column Calling on Federal Government to Increase the Canada Disability Benefit

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities Website: https://www.aodaalliance.org
Email: aodafeedback@gmail.com
Twitter: @aodaalliance
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/aodaalliance

May 26, 2024

SUMMARY

On May 24, 2024, the Toronto Star’s 25 Metroland newspapers around Ontario published a new guest column by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, set out below. It calls on the Federal Government to substantially increase the paltry $200 per month that it included in the recent federal Budget for the Canada Disability Benefit, promised to lift impoverished people with disabilities out of poverty.

How You Can Help

Please circulate this guest column on email and social media to your friends and followers. Post it on websites and Facebook pages that are open to it.

Contact your Member of Parliament. Urge them to advocate in Parliament to substantially increase this paltry $200 per month as the promised Canada Disability Benefit. Urge opposition parties to publicly declare what level they would increase the Canada Disability Benefit to, if they are elected to power. Urge your local media to cover this issue.

MORE DETAILS

Metroland Newspapers May 24, 2024

Originally posted at https://www.toronto.com/opinion/columns/canadians-living-with-disabilities-deserve-better-than-federal-budgets-paltry-200-per-month-increase/article_296b0c0c-4c9f-51e6-bfe7-182e23e42759.html

Canadians with disabilities deserve more than $200 per month

Canadians living with disabilities deserve better than federal budget’s ‘paltry’ $200 per month increase BY DAVID LEPOFSKY
MAY 24, 2024

David Lepofsky is a retired lawyer who chairs the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance. By Metroland

Canadians are justifiably appalled that the Trudeau government’s budget gives impoverished people with disabilities a paltry $200 per month, after promising for years to deliver a new Canada Disability Benefit that would lift them out of poverty. Making this worse, the budget gives nothing new at all to impoverished people with disabilities who are older than working age. Yet disability poverty does not vanish at age 65.

News outlets and columnists blasted the Liberals over this. Yet partisan anti-Liberals get no time for self-congratulation. Sadly, we’ve seen this before at the provincial level. Doug Ford’s 2022 pre-election budget gave nothing new to increase the cruel sub-poverty Ontario Disability Support Program. After being blasted in the media for this, Ontario’s Tories were backed into pledging at least something as the first ODSP increase in four years.

In 2022, when promoting her Bill C-22, the proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act, Trudeau’s then disabilities minister Carla Qualtrough grandly proclaimed:
“Today, I begin with the following declaration: in Canada, no person with a disability should live in poverty.”

The Liberals repeated this over and over, expressed like JFK’s majestic commitment to reach the moon. Two hundred dollars per month helps, because anything helps. However, it won’t lift all or most impoverished people with disabilities out of poverty.

This thin gruel is far from a much-needed entitlement. Under Bill C-22, any future cabinet can slash it without first debating it in Parliament. Nothing stops a provincial government or private disability insurance company from deducting this $200 payment from disability benefits they pay out. The net effect of such clawbacks? Money the feds intend to help impoverished people with disabilities will instead end up in the bank accounts of provincial governments or private insurance companies who claw it back.

In 2022 and 2023, many of us disability advocates pressed Parliament for strong amendments to Bill C-22 to strengthen it. Yet some other disability advocates opposed such amendments. They wanted the bill passed as is. The Trudeau government got them to fear that it’s better to take what’s on the table, no matter how pitifully weak it was. The Liberals led them to think that the bill’s obvious and massive loopholes would be fixed up by promised future federal government consultations on the regulations that cabinet must later pass to fill in the bill’s many gaps.

Even those earlier defenders of this weak bill now blast the Trudeau government, because $200 a month is a slap in the face to people with disabilities who are languishing in poverty, and who have desperately waited for this new benefit for four years since Trudeau promised it.

Compare the Liberals’ lightning speed when it liberalized its doctor-assisted suicide MAID legislation (which makes it easier to die rather than living with a disability) with the Liberals’ snail’s pace when delivering on its promised Canada Disability Benefit (promised to make it easier to afford living with a disability). What does that say about their priorities?

It’s not too late. Trudeau must substantially increase the allocation, so that the Canada Disability Benefit lifts people with disabilities out of poverty, as his government promised. All opposition parties must vigorously and publicly demand this.

Parliamentary sniping is not good enough. Each party should go on the record stating what monthly payment they’d implement, if elected.

As for the danger that provincial or territorial governments may claw back this new payment from impoverished people with disabilities, the Trudeau Liberals have claimed to be negotiating “no clawbacks” deals for several years. They said that “no clawbacks” is a red line for them. Yet they must still have no deals, since their new budget calls on the provinces and territories to agree to this. What happened to the Liberals’ red-line pledge?

The Liberals unfairly vetoed a wise Senate amendment last year that would have banned private insurance companies from clawing back these funds. We fought hard for that protection and still need it.

Canadians of all political stripes can support this. It’s a minority Parliament. Trudeau’s poll numbers show he needs some good news.

Impoverished people with disabilities deserve better than $200 a month!

https://cozen-my.sharepoint.com/personal/apeiris_cozen_com/Documents/Documents/Personal Files/36 may 26 2024 aodaa update new AODA Alliance guest column on Canada Disability Benefit_AP.docx

Accessibility News May 25,2024 Update

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CrawfordTech helps organizations reach everyone, everywhere, fostering a more inclusive and informed world through accessibility and language translations.

Empowering organizations to be inclusive through CrawfordTech & Accessibility News. To learn more about how to make your communications clear and accessible, visit CrawfordTech EDAP:

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The AODA Clock is Ticking

There are 31 weeks, 3 days until a fully Accessible Ontario! Will you be compliant?

In this Issue

*Wellington Beach Expands Public Inclusion with Mobility Mats
*After An Outpouring from People with Disabilities, Toronto City Council Again Overwhelmingly Votes to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters
*Only 3 Toronto Beaches are Accessible. Advocates Want Better
*Metro Disabled Access ‘Shame’ for Paralympic Paris
*UNB Law Grad ‘Humiliated’ by Inability to Cross Stage at Own Graduation
*Here’s How Ontarians on ODSP are Trying to Make Ends Meet
*’It Would Be Life Changing’: Poplar Hill Lions Club Fundraising for Wheelchair-Accessible Swing

ARTICLES:

Wellington Beach Expands Public Inclusion with Mobility Mats

With over 250 beaches in Canada, less than 15% have accessibility for people depending on mobile devices.

Read more at

Wellington Beach Expands Public Inclusion with Mobility Mats

After An Outpouring from People with Disabilities, Toronto City Council Again Overwhelmingly Votes to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters

Read more at

After An Outpouring from People with Disabilities, Toronto City Council Again Overwhelmingly Votes to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters

Only 3 Toronto Beaches are Accessible. Advocates Want Better

When she isn’t swimming, East York resident Kim Lumsdon uses a cane to help her get around.

That’s especially the case at Cherry Beach. With sticks and stones jutting from the steep, uneven ground, Lumsdon wishes there was a better way to navigate the sand beneath her.

Read more at

Only 3 Toronto Beaches are Accessible. Advocates Want Better

Metro Disabled Access ‘Shame’ for Paralympic Paris

It is “absolutely scandalous” that more has not been done to improve accessibility on Paris’s underground trains network ahead of the Paralympics, a leading French disability charity has said.

Read more at

Metro Disabled Access ‘Shame’ for Paralympic Paris

UNB Law Grad ‘Humiliated’ by Inability to Cross Stage at Own Graduation

Blair Curtis didn’t get that moment.

Curtis was graduating from the University of New Brunswick with a law degree, but at the ceremony on Thursday at the Richard J. Currie Center, he was unable to get onto the stage to accept his diploma.

Read more at

UNB Law Grad ‘Humiliated’ by Inability to Cross Stage at Own Graduation

Here’s How Ontarians on ODSP are Trying to Make Ends Meet

Precarious work. Restricted food. Homelessness. There’s now a bit more money from government – but for ODSP recipients, it’s not nearly enough

Read more at

Here’s How Ontarians on ODSP are Trying to Make Ends Meet

‘It Would Be Life Changing’: Poplar Hill Lions Club Fundraising for Wheelchair-Accessible Swing

Olivia McIntosh loves to swing.

Unfortunately, in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy (CP) and a global delay, the 17-year old from Ilderton, Ont. needs at least two people to help lift her and get her seated.

Read more at

‘It Would Be Life Changing’: Poplar Hill Lions Club Fundraising for Wheelchair-Accessible Swing

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Wellington Beach Expands Public Inclusion with Mobility Mats

With over 250 beaches in Canada, less than 15% have accessibility for people depending on mobile devices.

Read more at
https://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/wellington-beach-expands-public-inclusion-with-mobility-mats/

After An Outpouring from People with Disabilities, Toronto City Council Again Overwhelmingly Votes to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters

ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Read this Update on the web.

May 23, 2024 Toronto: As another major victory for people with disabilities, Toronto’s City Council today overwhelmingly voted once again not to allow e-scooters in public. Terrified of the danger to them that e-scooters pose, people with disabilities have been working hard to oppose the efforts of well-financed e-scooter corporate lobbyists.

Toronto City Staff has twice recommended against allowing e-scooters, in 2021 and 2024. Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee has three times made strong recommendations to City Council against allowing e-scooters, in 2020, 2021 and 2024. City Council’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee twice decided against allowing e-scooters, in 2021 and again in 2024. Disability advocates told the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on May 2, 2024 that Toronto City Council must not unleash dangerous electric scooters. Three years ago, on May 5, 2021, Toronto City Council voted unanimously to say no to e-scooters.

The Latest City Staff Report recommended that Toronto say yes to micromobility, but no to e-scooters. The report amply shows e-scooters endanger public safety in places allowing them. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured or killed.

E-scooters especially endanger seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people can’t tell when silent e-scooters rocket at them at over 20 KPH, driven by unlicensed, untrained, uninsured, unhelmetted fun-seeking joy-riders. Left strewn on sidewalks, e-scooters are tripping hazards for blind people and accessibility barriers for wheelchair users.

The Infrastructure Committee was told that Toronto has been getting less accessible to people with disabilities. Allowing e-scooters would make that worse.

It accomplishes nothing to just ban e-scooters from sidewalks. The new City Staff Report documents the silent menace of e-scooters continue to be ridden on sidewalks in cities that just ban them from sidewalks. We’d need cops on every block.

E-scooters would impose significant costs on taxpayers for new law enforcement, OHIP for treating those injured by e-scooters, lawsuits by the injured, etc. Toronto has more pressing budget priorities.

In 2020, the AODA Alliance first exposed the stunning well-funded behind-the-scenes feeding frenzy of back-room pressure that corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies have inundated City Hall with for months.

“We applaud the Toronto City Council for its overwhelming vote and we congratulate all the disability organizations and individual disability advocates who devoted their volunteer efforts to help protect our safety and accessibility,” said AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. “Those Ontario cities that started an e-scooter pilot project should now suspend those pilot projects, and learn from the wise Toronto decision, in order to protect their vulnerable seniors, people with disabilities, and others that e-scooters endanger. We need Ontario cities to become more accessible to people with disabilities and to stop allowing any new disability barriers to be created.”

“We know that a growing number of people are illegally riding e-scooters in public in Toronto, and we need Toronto law enforcement to step up to the plate and do its job,” said Lepofsky. “Let’s expand other micromobility options, like Toronto City Staff recommended, while protecting vulnerable people with disabilities and seniors from the proven dangers that e-scooters cause. And after City Council has twice said no to e-scooters, it’s time for our politicians to permanently leave this e-scooters issue behindt and get on to more pressing issues.”

Contact: AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, aodafeedback@gmail.com Twitter: @aodaalliance
Learn more about the AODA Alliance efforts to protect vulnerable people with disabilities, seniors and others from e-scooters. Watch the captioned video of AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky’s 3-minute presentation at the May 2, 2024 Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting. Check out the AODA Alliance website’s e-scooters page.