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Please Support a Strong & Effective ODA


ODA Action Tip
November 23, 2000




The morning of Thursday, November 23, 2000 marks another
important milestone on the road to a strong and effective
Ontarians with Disabilities Act. At a news conference at Queen's
Park, the Ontario Liberal Party released its official Report on the
Ontarians with Disabilities Act. This Report is the result of the
15-city consultation tour which Liberal Member of the Legislature Steve Peters
conducted in March of 2000.

This Report makes very important findings and recommendations which
demonstrate the pressing need for Ontario to pass a strong,
effective and mandatory ODA. It describes how serious and
widespread are the barriers in Ontario which impede persons with
disabilities from fully participating in all aspects of Ontario
life. It documents that a strong, mandatory ODA is needed to remove
these barriers, and to prevent new barriers from being created in
the future. It concludes that this legislation must be shaped to
incorporate the 11 principles which the ODA Committee has put
forward, and which the Ontario Legislature unanimously approved by
resolution two years ago, on October 29, 1998. It views the
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee's detailed "Blueprint"
proposal for disabilities legislation, released in April 1998, as
a good starting point for any discussions regarding the components
of any new disabilities statute.

It is especially significant that this report results from fully 15
open, accessible, public consultation forums held across Ontario.
Anyone could attend and could say whatever they wished. This
ambitious consultation tour was conducted without the
benefit of the great resources in staff and funding that the
Ontario Government has at its disposal.

The ODA Committee has urged the Government of Ontario to hold such
public consultations. We regret that instead, any consulting that
the Ontario Government has undertaken has been very
restricted, has been by invitation only, and has been held behind
closed doors. We also regret that the Premier and the Citizenship
Minister Helen Johns declined to attend any of the 15
consultation forums to hear first-hand what now confronts
Ontarians with disabilities in this province. As well, the Ontario
Government has unfortunately never released a report documenting
the results of any consulting that it has undertaken. Any
documentation on the Government's activities has only been obtained
when the Government was required to release documents as a result
of requests or orders under Freedom of Information legislation.

This Report's findings and conclusions provide an excellent basis
for anyone wishing to design and implement an Ontarians with
Disabilities Act which is strong and effective. It is of great
symbolic importance that this Report is provided to us on
November 23. Two years ago, on November 23, 1998, the Ontario
Government introduced its 3-page, voluntary and toothless Bill 83.

That bill did not require any barriers to be removed, and died on
the order paper a mere 17 days later. One year ago, on November 23,
1999, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed a resolution
presented by Liberal Disability Critic Steve Peters
calling for an
Ontarians with Disabilities Act which is "strong and effective" to
be enacted no later than two years from that date. Next year,
November 23, 2001, is the deadline which the Ontario Legislature
has fixed for that law to be passed.

As a non-partisan volunteer coalition, the ODA Committee is eager
to work with any political party and any MPP of any political
stripe who wishes to work towards the enactment of a strong
Ontarians with Disabilities Act. In this spirit, we congratulate
and thank all those who participated in the consultation tour
forums and this report, as well as Steve Peters MPP, his staff, and
the Liberal Party for preparing and adopting this Report. We extend
our hand to any and all to join us in pursuing our goal of full
inclusion of persons with disabilities in a barrier-free Ontario
through the enactment of a strong, effective and mandatory
Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Here are the following documents:

1. The Liberal Party's news release accompanying the release of
this report.

2. The text of the Report in English.

3. The text of the Report in French.

We encourage you to:

* Circulate this Report to as many friends, family members and co-
workers as possible, so they can learn about the need for a strong

* Send this new Report to your local media. Urge them to do
coverage on this new Report, and to link this to barriers in your

* Bring this Report to your nearest Conservative MPP and their
staff. Discuss its contents with them, and urge them to adopt its
findings and conclusions.

* Send your feedback on the Report to the Liberal Party and to the
New Democratic Party as well.




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