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ODA Committee Chronology

September 2, 2003


* May 24, 1995 - Conservatives' written election promise to enact the ODA in their first term. Mike Harris promises to work personally with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee to develop it. In his seven years as Premier, Mike harris consistently refused to ever meet with the ODA Committee. Premier Eves similarly refused to meet.

* May 16, 1996 - Ontario Legislature unanimously passes first of three resolutions. Sponsored by NDP MPP Marion Boyd, resolution calls on Harris government to keep its ODA election promise.

* October 29, 1998 - Ontario Legislature unanimously passes second of three ODA resolutions. Sponsored by Liberal MPP Dwight
Duncan, resolution calls for passing of ODA which embodies 11
principles to make it mandatory, strong and effective.

* November 23, 1998 - Citizenship Minister Bassett introduces Bill 83, a three-page bill which was completely voluntary, applicable only to the Ontario government and did not require any barriers ever to be removed.

* December 17, 1998 - Bill 83 dies on the order paper after first reading, after being widely condemned across Ontario.

* April 22, 1999 - Pre-election Throne Speech announces Bill 83 will not be reintroduced due to criticisms of it. New consultation promised before new bill to be introduced.

* May - June 3, 1999 - Ontario election Campaign - Conservative government promises strengthened ODA after more consultations. Liberals and NDP promise strong and effective ODA complying with Legislature's October 29, 1998 resolution.

* September 11, 1999 - London Free Press quotes Citizenship Minister Johns stating that a new strong disabilities act is a "huge priority for me."

* October 21, 1999 - Throne Speech says government's "goal" is to introduce a "new action plan" on the ODA this session.

* November 23, 1999 - On first anniversary of Bill 83's introduction, Legislature unanimously passes third of three resolutions. Sponsored by Liberal Steve Peters, resolution calls for a "strong and effective" ODA to be passed no later than November 23, 2001.

* January 31, 2000 - Liberal Disability Critic Steve Peters announces that because the government will not hold open hearings on what to include in the ODA, the Liberal Party will hold a province-wide ODA public consultation tour. Liberals hold public, accessible hearings in 15 cities in March 2000.

* March 25, 2000 - Minister Johns states on London TV that her government had agreed to bring forward ODA action plan by June. No action plan is announced in June.

* October 4, 2000 - Liberal leader McGuinty reveals in Legislature a leaked draft Cabinet document detailing government plans to introduce weak, toothless ODA this fall, and government strategy to avoid adverse media coverage.

* November 23, 2000 - Liberal Party releases report on ODA. Lists barriers facing persons with disabilities that need to be removed. Proposes passing ODA that fulfills 11 principles that the Legislature had approved, to make the legislation strong and effective.

* December 31, 2000 - Year ends with no ODA bill introduced. ODA Committee succeeded in getting Ontario government to back off its leaked timetable to introduce another weak, toothless bill by December 2000.

* January 5, 2001 - Toronto Star reveals Ontario government's June 2000 public opinion poll, showing strong public support for mandatory ODA covering public and private sectors.

* February 8, 2001 - Premier Harris shuffles Cabinet, removing Helen Johns from Citizenship Minister post, and appointing Cam Jackson as the fourth Citizenship Minister in 5.5 years.

* March 2, 2001 - Premier Harris prorogues Ontario Legislature, bringing legislative session to an end, without releasing promised action plan on the ODA. This breaks the government's October 22, 1999 Throne Speech commitment to release an action plan on the ODA in that session of the Legislature.

* April 19, 2001 -Throne Speech commits to introducing disability legislation in this session to address barriers facing persons with disabilities.

* November 1, 2001 - Conservatives release "Vision Statement" promising Ontario will become barrier-free for Ontarians with disabilities.

* November 5, 2001 - Conservatives introduce Bill 125 into Legislature, proposed Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Conservative Government promises to launch a provincial program of incentives for removal and prevention of barriers.

* November 30 to December 7, 2001 - Public hearings on ODA bill. Disability organizations given as little as 24 hours notice of invitations to make presentations. Government had been warned that this was barrier to persons with disabilities being able to arrange accessible transportation. Disability organizations call for amendments to Bill 125 to make it enforceable, to make barrier-removal and prevention mandatory not voluntary, to require barriers to be removed and prevented, and to extend it to barriers in the private sector.

December 11, 2001 - Clause-by-clause debate on Bill 125. Conservatives defeat most proposed amendments to Bill 125. These amendments were requested by the disability community and put forward by the Liberals and NDP in order to make the legislation strong and effective.

* December 13, 2001 - Legislature passes Bill 125, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001. This legislation only fulfills 1 of the 11 principles for the ODA which the Legislature had approved by resolution on October 29, 1998.

* December 14, 2001 - Bill 125 receives Royal Assent.

* September 30, 2002 - Conservative Government proclaims in force most of ODA 2001. Some parts had been proclaimed in force in February 2002. One provision scheduled to be proclaimed in force December 31, 2002. No date set for proclaiming in force section 21, the only provision providing limited enforcement for part of the legislation.

* November 18, 2002 - Conservative Government announces it has finished appointing 12 members to its provincial Accessibility Advisory Council almost 1 year after the legislation was passed.

The Conservative Government has announced no regulations under the ODA 2001 to implement any of its provisions since the legislation was passed back in 2001. Neither the Conservative Government nor the Accessibility Advisory Council that it appointed has announced any public consultations on the development of promised standards for accessibility. The Conservative Government has continued to refuse to proclaim in force the only limited enforcement provision in the ODA 2001, section 21, and would not set a date for its being proclaimed in force.


Download the ODA Committee Election 2003 Leaflet - 1.5 pages

Election 2003 Political Parties Voting Record Factsheet


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Last updated September 2, 2003