September 16, 1998
The Honourable Isabel Bassett
Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation
6th Floor, 77 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2R9
Re: Ontarians with Disabilities Act
Thank you for your letter of Sept. 10, 1998.
We are anxious to receive copies of the information that you received during the consultation sessions as soon as possible. We appreciate the need to protect personal privacy in the disclosure of that information. However, where the written submissions to you are from organizations, or the meetings with you were by organizations' representatives, there should be no difficulty in immediately sending us the information that you received. Certainly, you should be in a position to immediately send us the information that you received at the beginning of the consultation which was more than one month ago. Given that you were aware of our request for this information at the beginning of the consultation, it is reasonable for us to expect that we will receive the information in a timely manner so that we will not be faced with the short turn around time that we experienced with the consultation session itself.
For our meeting with you to be meaningful to us and helpful to you, and for us to be able to prepare our written submission to you, we must have an adequate opportunity to review this material. We must have a chance to complete all of this work and to meet with you before you have made any of the key decisions on what to recommend to the Government for inclusion in the Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
We appreciate the fact that your staff have sent to us the overall annual estimates for the Ontario Human Rights Commission since 1995. While these bottom line figures are interesting, we require a far better understanding of what funds were actually spent on. The estimates only indicate what you propose to spend in a year, not what you ultimately ended up spending. As well, we are concerned about the allocation of those resources and whether the funding for key staff and related resources has been preserved. From the proposed expenditures that you sent us it appears as though there is a significant drop in recent years in spending on staff. It is important for us to have a better understanding as to how much of a decrease actually occurred, why it happened, and what staff positions were eliminated. We would ask that you provide us with more detailed estimates and with the actual expenditures for that period of time as soon as possible so that we may include our comments on that information in our final submission to you.
We are looking forward to meeting with you and moving on to the next stage in this process. We await eagerly the disclosure of the results of the consultation. We also await word from your staff on possible dates for our upcoming meeting with you on this important matter.
M. David Lepofsky C.M.,
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee