April 15, 1998
To: Premier Mike Harris
Mr. Dalton McGuinty
Mr. Howard Hampton
Re: Ontarians with Disabilities Act
I am writing on behalf of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee, a broad-based coalition of individuals and community groups which has united to secure the prompt enactment of a strong and effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act to achieve a barrier-free Ontario for persons with disabilities. During the 1995 election, Premier Harris promised to work together with our coalition to develop the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, which he committed to enact in his first term. Both opposition parties have also committed themselves to support the Ontarians with Disabilities Act. On May 16, 1996, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Government to keep its election promise to pass the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and calling on Premier Harris to keep his promise to work together with our coalition to develop this new law.
Over the past three years, our coalition has reached out to people with disabilities across this province, to identify the barriers which now impede them from fully participating in Ontario society, and to get their views on what the Ontarians with Disabilities Act must contain in order to be strong and effective. We conducted public forums in ten communities across Ontario, and undertook a comprehensive survey of our members and others interested in this issue.
As a result of this extensive, vigorous grass-roots effort, we have now developed a detailed brief which we wish to formally present to each of you. Our brief explains the reasons why we need a strong and effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act. It provides a blueprint of the core ingredients which this legislation should include in order to be strong and effective. It also presents in detail the results of our outreach to identify barriers which Ontarians with disabilities now face, and the effect that these barriers have on their daily lives. Finally, it documents the extent of the strong public support for new legislation in Ontario which would secure for us a barrier- free province.
We are writing to invite you to a formal presentation of this brief from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22, 1998 in the Media Studio at Queen's Park. It is very important to us that all three Ontario parties be represented at this event, as we are calling on the Ontario Legislature to work together to pass a strong and effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act as soon as possible - a law for which all three parties have expressed their support. We hope that this brief will assist all parties in working on this project.
If you are unable to attend personally, we would very much appreciate it if you could send in your stead a member of the Legislature from your caucus. Could you please let us know whether you will be able to attend by Monday, April 20, 1998 by notifying Ms. Marg Thomas at the following address and phone number:
We look forward to working together with the Legislature to make the Ontarians with Disabilities Act a reality.
M. David Lepofsky, co-Chair
cc: Dominic Agostino