AODA Alliance Asks House of Commons HUMA Standing Committee to Make Public Proposed Amendments to Bill C-22 that MPs Put Forward

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

Web: https://www.aodaalliance.org
Email: aodafeedback@gmail.com
Twitter: @aodaalliance
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

December 1, 2022

SUMMARY

On December 7, 2022, the House of Commons HUMA Standing Committee (the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities) will conduct its clause-by-clause review of Bill C-22, the proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act. That is when the Standing Committee will decide which amendments, if any, it will make to the bill, as a result of the public hearings that just wrapped up.

How will we know what amendments the political parties put on the table? How will we know what they vote on and pass or defeat? This can be hard to figure out, for those who watch the Standing Committee live, or who later read the Hansard transcript of the meeting.

This is because of two problems. First, these Standing Committees usually dont make public the proposed amendments that the parties submit. Second, the MPs dont necessarily read aloud the amendments they propose during the meeting itself.

We believe that people with disabilities should be able to follow the debates in the Standing Committee, so we can know what we win or lose. Therefore, the AODA Alliance today wrote the Standing Committee. Our letter is set out below. We ask the Standing Committee to make public the proposed amendments that MPs submit for debate, in advance of the December 7, 2022 HUMA meeting. We also ask HUMA members to read aloud their proposed amendments as they are introduced at the Standing Committees December 7, 2022 meeting.

It is not too late for you to try to have your voices heard. Please email and/or tweet key MPs to insist that they amend Bill C-22 to strengthen it. All the information you need to enable you to do this can be found in the November 25, 2022 AODA Alliance Update.

To learn more about this issue, check out:

* The 21 minute captioned video of AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofskys November 14, 2022 testimony at HUMA. It tells you all you need to know.

* The November 14, 2022 open letter on Bill C-22, originally signed by 37 organizations (now increased to 41) from six provinces across Canada, that the AODA Alliance tabled with the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

* The 15 amendments to Bill C-22 that the AODA Alliance has requested.

* The AODA Alliance brief to the House of Commons on Bill C-22.

* The AODA Alliances guest column in the November 7, 2022 edition of the Toronto Star, and the powerful Toronto Star editorial that day that cites the AODA Alliances concerns with Bill C-22.

* The AODA Alliance websites Bill C-22 page, which shows our efforts to strengthen this proposed new law.

MORE DETAILS

December 1, 2022 Letter from the AODA Alliance to Members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

Web: www.aodaalliance.org
Email: aodafeedback@gmail.com
Twitter: @aodaalliance
Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

December 1, 2022

Via Email

To: Members of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities House of Commons of Canada

Parliament Hill
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0A6

The Hon. Robert J. Morrissey
Robert.morrissey@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Louise Chabot
Louise.Chabot@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Scott Aitchison
Scott.Aitchison@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Chad Collins
chad.collins@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Michael Coteau
Michael.coteau@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Rosemarie Falk
Rosemarie.Falk@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Michelle Ferreri
michelle.ferreri@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Tracy Gray
Tracy.Gray@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Wayne long
Wayne.long@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Soraya Martinez Ferrada
Soraya.MartinezFerrada@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Tony Van Bynen
Tony.VanBynen@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Bonita Zarrillo
Bonita.zarrillo@parl.gc.ca

CC: The right honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister
Justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla.Qualtrough@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Irek Kusmierczyk, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Irek.Kusmierczyk@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the Official Opposition pierre.poilievre@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party
Jagmeet.Singh@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Yves-François Blanchet, Leader of the Bloc Quebecois Yves-Francois.Blanchet@parl.gc.ca

The hon. Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party
elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca

Dear HUMA Members,

Re: Bill C-22 The proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act

Canadas disability community is eager to see what amendments the HUMA Standing Committee will make to Bill C-22, the proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act. The HUMA Standing Committee is scheduled to begin clause-by-clause review of Bill C-22 on Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 4:30. The deadline for MPs to submit proposed amendments is noon EST this Friday, December 2, 2022.

It is commendable that all the political parties in the House of Commons have invoked and echoed the importance of Nothing about us without us, an important theme in the disability rights movement. As part of this, all parties have recognized the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities can fully and effectively participate in the development of the promised Canada Disability Benefit.

We write to ask you to take two important steps in furtherance of that goal, in connection with your Committees upcoming clause-by-clause debate. First, could you please make public in an accessible format, the proposed amendments that MPs file with HUMA in advance of the December 7, 2022 HUMA meeting? This is an important step to enable people with disabilities to understand the Committees proceedings and decisions which so directly affect their lives.

We have been told by the Clerks office that these proposed amendments are ordinarily not made public, and especially not before the Standing Committee meeting. However, we have been involved in similar clause-by-clause proceedings before Standing Committees at the Ontario Legislature, where such motions are made public in advance of the Standing Committees meeting where they are considered.

Second, we ask that whenever a member of the HUMA Standing Committee makes a motion to propose an amendment to Bill C-22 during clause-by-clause debate, could the MP please read aloud the amendment they are proposing? MPs did not do this in the fall of 2018, when the HUMA Standing Committee was undertaking clause-by-clause study of Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act. That made it impossible for us and other members of the public to understand what the Standing Committee was debating, and what it decided. It passed several amendments and rejected several others. Yet we could not fathom what was accepted and what was rejected. This, of course, was entirely contrary to the principle Nothing about us without us.

Even if MPs read out their proposed amendments during the Standing Committee meeting, it will still be very important for us and the public to be able to read those amendments in advance of the December 7, 2022 Standing Committee meeting. As you know, such amendments are worded in very technical language. A reader must jump back and forth from the text of a proposed amendment to the text of the bill, to piece together the legal jigsaw puzzle. We should be able to figure out what is on the table, and what results are reached.

We would be pleased to provide any further information that the Standing Committee may require as it considers our request. You will be voting on issues that are fundamental to people with disabilities.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont
Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

Twitter: @davidlepofsky