Unveiling the Party’s Disability Accessibility Platforms: Every Ontario Political Leader Except Doug Ford Makes Major Election Pledges on Tearing Down Accessibility Barriers that Impede 2.6 Million Ontarians with Disabilities

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

May 3, 2022 Toronto: Doug Ford’s Tories are Ontario’s only major political party which has made no election promises to 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities to tear down barriers impeding their access to jobs, transit, schools, health care and other necessities, according to a major grass-roots non-partisan disability coalition. Below the AODA Alliance unveils all 2022 disability accessibility election promises in response to its November 22, 2021 letter to the party leaders.

“For 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities, this is the most important Ontario election in two decades, because Ontario is about to reach 2025 without becoming disability-accessible, the deadline which Ontario’s Disabilities Act requires. We need all Ontario’s parties and candidates to commit to a plan to achieve accessibility for people with disabilities to jobs, education, housing and health care, but the PC Party running the Government hasn’t answered our requests for commitments,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the AODA Alliance which spearheads a campaign for disability accessibility. “This is the first time since 2003 that the Ontario Tories refuse to even respond to our request for provincial election commitments on issues that are vital to everyone. Everyone either has a disability now or gets one later as they age.”

The NDP, Green and Liberal parties each make significant commitments on accessibility for people with disabilities (Links set out below to their letters to the AODA Alliance). They vary in content and detail from party to party, but all cover a number of the key issues where promises were sought. In every Ontario election since 1995, any party’s detailed pledges on disability accessibility have been set out in a party’s letter to the AODA Alliance, or before 2005, its predecessor, the ODA Committee.

All parties had over five months to formulate their responses to us. Our outreach to the Premier’s office, to Ford’s Minister of Accessibility and to the Tory campaign office have produced no reply to our request for disability accessibility election pledges. In sharp contrast, the PCs wrote in response to our requests for disability promises in the 2007 election, 2011 election, 2014 election and 2018 election. Ford himself has refused to meet with any AODA Alliance representatives since taking power.

“Our goal is to get Doug Ford’s Tories to make strong election commitments, and by meeting or beating what the other parties offer,” said Lepofsky. “We urge Ontarians to press all PC candidates and the PC Party to make strong pledges to make Ontario accessible to people with disabilities. Our non-partisan coalition doesn’t endorse or oppose any party or candidate.”

This news release focuses on the parties’ commitments regarding accessibility for people with disabilities. There are also other important disability issues in this election, such as the pressing need to raise ODSP rates. The AODA Alliance encourages voters and candidates to address themselves to all disability issues in the election. We also call on reporters, covering this election, to include coverage of the issues that are important to at least one million voters with disabilities — something that too often has been missing from reports from the campaign trail.

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

For background:

1. The April 6, 2022 letter to the AODA Alliance from the Ontario New Democratic Party, setting out its party’s 2022 Ontario election commitments on accessibility for #pollwatch.

2. The March 22, 2022 letter to the AODA Alliance from the Ontario Green Party, setting out its party’s 2022 Ontario election commitments on accessibility for #pollwatch.

3. The May 1, 2022 letter to the AODA Alliance from the Ontario Liberal Party, setting out its party’s 2022 Ontario election commitments on accessibility for #pollwatch.

4. The AODA Alliance’s November 22, 20221 letter to the party leaders, listing the election promises on disability accessibility that they are asked to give.

5. The April 18, 2022 AODA Alliance Update’s review of the Ford Government’s record on disability issues: “During Its Four Years in Power, Ford Government Made Ontario a More Dangerous Place for Vulnerable People with Disabilities”.

6. The April 29, 2022 AODA Alliance Update’s analysis of the Ford Government’s 2022 budget: “The Ford Government’s 2022 Ontario Budget is a Slap in the Face for 2.6 Million Ontarians with Disabilities”.