On Eve of the Ontario Liberal Party’s Big vote for Its Next Leader, Non-Partisan Disability Advocacy Coalition Makes Final Pitch to Yasir Naqvi and Ted Hsu to Make Commitments to tear Down Barriers Impeding 2.9 Million Ontarians with Disabilities

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

November 24, 2023 Toronto: On the Eve of the Ontario Liberal Party’s vote for its next leader, two of the four candidates, Yasir Naqvi and Ted Hsu, have made no commitments to the AODA Alliance on what they would do to lead Ontario to become accessible to 2.9 million Ontarians with disabilities. The other two leadership candidates, Nate Erskine-Smith and Bonnie Crombie, have written the AODA Alliance with detailed commitments.

In its September 28, 2023 letter to all the Ontario Liberal leadership candidates, the AODA Alliance sought strong commitments on leading Ontario to become disability accessible. The AODA Alliance aims to get all of the leadership candidates to make strong commitments.

“It is not too late for Yasir Naqvi and Ted Hsu to make commitments to Ontarians with disabilities to make this province accessible to them”, said David Lepofsky, Chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance which leads the grass roots campaign for disability accessibility. “We’ll immediately make public any commitments we receive from them. We’ve been tweeting to each of the Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidates almost daily to press them to make commitments.”

The AODA Alliance does not support, oppose or endorse any party or candidate. It works with all parties to make as much progress as possible on accessibility to jobs, education, health care, public transit and all that Ontario affords the public.

In the 2013 Ontario Liberal Party leadership race, all candidates made commitments on accessibility. In the 2020 Ontario Liberal Party leadership race, two of the candidates made commitments on disability accessibility. Whenever they did so, it was in letters to the AODA Alliance.

The AODA Alliance similarly wrote candidates for the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, seeking commitments on disability accessibility, in their 2014-2015 race, and in their 2018 race. None of the PC candidates responded.

This issue is especially important since there are only 404 days until 2025, the deadline that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act sets for the Ontario Government to have led this province to become accessible to people with disabilities. The January 2019 final report of the 3rd Government-Appointed Independent Review of the AODA conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley, and the March 2023 interim report of the 4th AODA Independent Review conducted by Rich Donovan, each concluded that progress on accessibility has been far too slow to meet that deadline. Last week, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky had to resort to a Freedom of Information application in an effort to force Premier Doug Ford to make public the June 6, 2023 final report of Rich Donovan’s 4th AODA Independent Review. The Ford Government is required by law to make that report public.

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

Twitter: @aodaalliance

For background, read:
* The AODA Alliance’s September 28, 2023 letter to Ontario Liberal leadership candidates, listing the commitments on disability accessibility that this coalition seeks. * Nate Erskine-Smith’s November 15, 2023 letter to the AODA Alliance. * Bonnie Crombie’s November 16, 2023 letter to the AODA Alliance.
* The AODA Alliance website, which documents its efforts since 2005 to get the Ontario Government to effectively implement and enforce the AODA.
* The March 1, 2023 Interim Report of the Rich Donovan 4th AODA Independent Review
* The January 31, 2019 Final Report of the David Onley 3rd AODA Independent Review