On December 3, the International Day of People with Disabilities, Will the Ford Government Offer 2.9 Million Ontarians with Disabilities Bold Action or More Platitudes?

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

December 3, 2023 Toronto: December 3rd is honoured around the world as the International Day of People with Disabilities. One billion people with disabilities worldwide turn to governments to see what they will do to make society disability accessible. In Ontario, Premier Doug Fords Government can mark the International Day of People with Disabilities with these milestones:

* The Ford Government has still not made public the final report of the 4th Government-appointed Independent Review of its implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, which it received on June 6, 2023, fully 180 days or six months ago. Last year, the Ford Government hand-picked Mr. Rich Donovan to conduct that Independent Review. Donovans March 1, 2023 Interim Report blasted the Government and the Premier for doing a very poor job of implementing the AODA.

Section 41(4) of the AODA requires the Government to make Donovans final report public. Last month, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky had to resort to a Freedom of Information application to try to force the Government to obey the law. So far, all he received is a form letter, below, confirming that the Government received that Freedom of Information application. The Government could make that report public in an instant.

* There are only 395 days left until 2025, the deadline by which the Ontario Government must have led Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities. In the June 27, 2022 edition of the influential QP Briefing publication, Premier Doug Ford said:

We’ll make sure we meet those timelines, and we’ll move as quickly as we possibly can

* There have been 1,982 days since Premier Ford and his Government were sworn in. In all that time, he has never once met with representation from the AODA Alliance. He has turned down every request to meet. His Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho has not agreed to meet with us for several years. For over two years, Chos office has not responded to any contact from us. Premier Ford is the first Ontario Premier in two decades to never meet with this non-partisan grass roots movement.

* There have been 1,767 days since the Ford Government received the blistering final report of the 3rd Independent Review of the AODA, conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. That report found that progress on accessibility for people with disabilities was glacial and that Ontario was full of soul-crushing barriers impeding people with disabilities. Since receiving the Onley Report, the Ford Government has not announced an effective and comprehensive plan to implement it.

* There have been 675 days since the Ford Government received the final report of a Government-appointed panel of experts that detailed many serious barriers in Ontarios school system that hurt at least 330,000 students with disabilities. Since then, the Government has not enacted the Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA that it promised, and whose details are recommended in the final report of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee. That report continues to gather dust in some Government digital drawer.

On the International Day of People with Disabilities, 2.9 million Ontarians with disabilities dont need more Government speeches full of platitudes, said David Lepofsky, chair of the AODA Alliance. We need a plan of bold new Government action to make this province accessible to us, as the Ontario Legislature promised when it unanimously passed the Disabilities Act in 2005, after we tenaciously campaigned for it for ten years.

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

November 28, 2023 Ford Government Letter to AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky

(Personal information removed)

November 28, 2023

By email:
David Lepofsky

Dear David Lepofsky:

RE: File Number MSAA 23-007

Thank you for your access request made under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act) to the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility for the following:

The final report of the 4th Independent Review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005, which was conducted by Mr. Rich Donovan, and which was submitted to the Minister for Seniors and Accessibility on or about June 6, 2023. In 2022, the Ontario Government appointed Mr. Donovan to conduct this Independent Review of the AODA pursuant to Section 41 of the AODA. Pursuant to Section 41(4) of the AODA, this report must be made public.

This letter is to acknowledge the receipt of your request.

Please contact Patricia Fiorini, FOI Program Advisor at 437-228-9305 or myself at 647-646-5503 if you have any questions. We would appreciate you using the above-mentioned request number assigned to your file in any further correspondence.

Sincerely,

Original signed by Patricia Fiorini

For
Padma D. de Souza
Team Lead, FIPPA and RIM
Corporate Support Unit