ODA Committee Update
dated May 24, 2003
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE UPDATE
ANOTHER IMPORTANT ANNIVERSARY ON THE ROAD TO A STRONG, EFFECTIVE ODA AS WE AWAIT AN ONTARIO ELECTION CALL
May 24, 2003
Eight years ago today, on May 24, 1995, the Ontario Conservatives made their famous election pledge to enact the Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Written in the midst of the 1995 provincial election campaign, then Conservative leader Mike Harris wrote the ODA Committee that he would pass this legislation in his first term.
Eight years later, we are on the verge of another provincial election campaign in which people with disabilities are planning to make the ODA an election issue. We spent most of the past 8 years fighting to get the Conservative Government to finally pass the Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Although they passed a law bearing this name in late 2001 (during their second term), the law they passed was not strong and effective. Rather than a law with teeth, it had only one tooth -- one limited enforcement provision. Seventeen months after this law was passed, the Conservatives have not proclaimed in force that one tooth- the one limited enforcement provision. They have not committed to a date when they will proclaim that limited enforcement provision in force. Moreover, their legislation does not remove the barriers that persons with disabilities face in the private sector.
After 17 months of persons with disabilities doing their best around Ontario to get the most they can out of the Conservatives' ODA, we now know more than ever that this legislation needs to be strengthened to make it strong and effective.
As we mark this important anniversary, we turn our attention to immediately gearing up for the upcoming election campaign. We successfully raised the ODA in the last two provincial election campaigns, in 1995 and 1999. We also effectively raised it in by-elections over the past four years.
Our message during the upcoming election campaign will be a clear and simple one. We need the Ontarians with Disabilities Act to be strengthened to make it strong and effective. Stay tuned for action tips on how to raise it again in this upcoming provincial election, possibly to be called in the next week.
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Last updated May 24, 2003