AODA Alliance Calls for Major Reforms to Ontario Government’s Implementation and Enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in its Finalized Brief to Phase 2 of the Rich Donovan AODA Independent Review

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

June 5, 2023

On May 31, 2023, the AODA Alliance submitted its finalized brief to Phase 2 of the Rich Donovan 4th Independent Review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Our brief calls for a major reform of the Ford Government’s sluggish and weak implementation of the AODA a law which the Legislature unanimously passed in 2005 to require that Ontario becomes accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. This brief is available at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/read-the-finalized-may-31-2023-aoda-alliance-brief-submitted-to-phase-2-of-the-rich-donovan-aoda-independent-review/ Last year, the Ford Government hand-picked Rich Donovan to conduct this mandatory 4th AODA Independent Review. On March 1, 2023, the Rich Donovan Review submitted to the Ford Government an interim report, where it made detailed findings on progress towards an accessible province for 2.9 million Ontarians with disabilities. The Donovan Interim Report made damning findings about the poor progress and protracted lack of effective Government leadership. On February 6, 2023, the AODA Alliance submitted a detailed brief to assist the Rich Donovan AODA Independent Review with the first phase of its work.

The findings in the March 1, 2023, Rich Donovan Interim Report echoed the similarly blunt findings almost four and a half years ago by the 3rd AODA Independent Review that was conducted by the late David Onley, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Each of the four Independent Reviews that have been conducted since the AODA was enacted in 2005 called for strong new Government leadership on accessibility. Sadly, that leadership has never materialized.

In Phase 2 of his Review, Rich Donovan sought input on what recommendations he should make to the Ford Government. The new May 31, 2023 AODA Alliance brief on Phase 2 of the Donovan Review offered 95 detailed recommendations. These address every aspect of the Government’s implementation of the AODA. As a bedrock starting point, the AODA Alliance insists that the AODA itself is sacrosanct and must not be amended in any way. The improvements that Ontario desperately needs can and should all be undertaken within the framework of the AODA as it now stands.

On May 23, 2023, the AODA Alliance made public a draft of its brief on Phase 2 of the Donovan Review’s work, in order to get input from the disability community. This final report is the same as that earlier draft, with an additional line that emphasizes that there is now a housing shortage that amounts to a crisis, which cries out for Government action.

We held off announcing this last week, because we have had far more AODA Alliance Updates than usual. Send your feedback to us at aodafeedback@gmail.com