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Text of the
Secret Cabinet Document
on the ODA

October 5, 2000

Here is the text of the Harris Government's Cabinet document
regarding its plans for the Ontarians with Disabilities Act,
which the Ontario Liberal Party has provided to the ODA Committee
and to the public.

From this text, it appears that a further page or pages may have been
missing from the end of this document when this document was received
by the Liberal Party.

This document describes the Government's plans for the contents
of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, other measures on this topic,
and for their communication's strategy for dealing with the media and
the public on this issue. The term "MCZCR" is a short-form for the
Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation.



Tuesday, August 29, 2000

DRAFT 2 - AUGUST 28, 2000 1


* MCZCR seeking direction on how to meet the Government
Commitment to an Disability Action Plan including an ODA

* Specifically MCZCR seeking direction on:

- Positioning
- Scope
- Timing


DRAFT2 - AUGUST 28 2000 2


Government Commitments

* 1995 - Election commitment to enact an ODA within "economic
goal posts of CSR"

* May 16/96, October 29/98, November 23/99 - Three unanimous all
party resolutions

* November 23,1998 - Bill 83 introduced

* 1999 - Throne Speech commitments to further consultation and a
Disability Action Plan


DRAFT2 - AUGUST 28 2000 3

CONTEXT (Cont'd)

Public Environment

* ODAC calling for legislation based on all-party resolutions and

- mandatory requirements/sanctions for public/broader
public and private sectors

- effective enforcement mechanisms, regulated standards and

* June 2000 Public Opinion research showed general public:

- has little awareness and interest in an ODA

- defines disability as physical/mental limitations (e.g. use of
a wheelchair)

- believes Government should show leadership by:

* focusing on programs/services, not rights and entitlements

* improving programs related to job-training employment,
health, education

* promoting use of new technology

* undertaking specific initiatives to improve access

DRAFT2 AUGUST 28 2000 4

CONTEXT (Cont'd)

Existing Programs Services and Legal Protections

* OHRC prohibits discrimination on the basis of "disability" in
employment, housing and access to goods, services and facilities

* Building Code sets out accessibility requirements for new
building construction and renovations

* In 99/00 the Government spent close to $6B on programs and
services to support persons with disabilities. Examples include:

- Health & Social Services: long-term care, attendant care,
homecare, assistive devices, Trillium Drug Program, acquired
brain injury services, Children's Treatment Centres, mental health
services, community living supports, respite care

- Special Education: personalized special instructional equipment;
education assistants; health supports; building access and special
transportation; Leading Opportunities Task Force

-Income and Employment: ODSP, ODSP Employment Supports Program,
Job Connect; Literacy and Basic Skills Program


DRAFT2 AUGUST 28 2000 5



* A comprehensive, Disability Action Plan that will:

- document current programs and services

- profile new initiatives that improve opportunities for persons
with disabilities, including:

* Committee on Employment for Persons with Disabilities to advise
government and recognize and encourage model employers
("Seals of Approval" )

* Research fund for adaptive technologies

* Consultation on Ontario Building Code

* Infoline and My Ontario Web as one-window information on
government disability programs

* Accessibility standards for government information
services(e.g. common counters, e-government)

- be updated every 5 years

- include a new Ontarians with Disabilities Act


DRAFT2- AUGUST 28 2000 6


Scope (Cont'd)

* For general public, ODA would:

- use existing mandatory requirements and enforcement (OHRC)

-use OHRC definition of disability

- reference other statutes that help persons with disabilities

- strengthen penalties for unlawful use disabled parking permits/spaces

* For government, ODA would:

- codify existing OPS directives and policies with respect to:
employment accommodation; building/leasing government premises;
information technology; and public information

- require ministries to prepare annual public accessibility plans

- require government-funded capital projects to have disability

- require government-funded agencies to have policies to
help disabled clients


DRAFT 2 - AUGUST 28 2000 7


Scope cont'd

* Other legislative options considered but rejected, include:

- extending legislative requirements to BPS

- requiring ministries to encourage private sector to improve access

- amending other statutes (e.g. Elections Act)

- requiring private sector compliance

- creating a separate enforcement agency

* Factors considered were:

- fiscal impact to public, BPS and private sectors

- possible confusion/duplication with other legislation
(e.g.,HRC )



DRAFT2 AUGUST 28 2000 8



* Action Plan will demonstrate Government is:

- continuing to lead by example

- meeting its commitment for ODA legislation

- currently providing significant resources to help persons with

- introducing some new innovative cost-effective initiatives

- encouraging private sector


* Introduce Disability Action Plan and ODA October-December 2000.

* November 23, 2000 -2nd anniversary of Bill 83


DRAFT2- AUGUST 28 2000 9


* Anticipated Stakeholder Reaction

* ODAC will not support Action Plan or proposed ODA legislation

* Opposition members and some media will support ODAC position

* June 2000 polling indicates that the general public may not
have much interest and may support government's approach

Fiscal and Legal implications

* Most of the proposed initiatives will be cost neutral

* Some fiscal implications related to funding for adaptive

* Implications related to the codifying of OPS directives and
policies to be reviewed by MBS and MCZCR

DRAFT2 AUGUST 28 2000 10


Strategic Goals

* Stakeholder management/issue containment

* Minimize attacks against the government's action on this issue

* Communicate the measures government has already taken to
expand opportunities for people with disabilities and improve

Key Messages

* We want Ontario to be the best place in the world for people
with disabilities to live, work and raise families

* That's why we are proud to introduce our Action Plan, which
includes new legislation to make life easier for disabled people
in our province


DRAFT2 AUGUST 28 2000 11


* We will continue to lead by example, and to remind everyone in
Ontario that providing easier access and supports for people with
disabilities isn't just good business, it's the right thing to do

Rollout Strategy

* Maintain low-profile in advance of introduction of action plan
and legislation to avoid readying opponents

* Medium-profile concurrent introduction of Action Plan and
legislation in fall 2000 with controlled opportunities to frame
discussion and get government messages to the media

* Legislation is one component of a larger Action Plan


DRAFT2 AUGUST 28 2000 12

* Series of low-key announcements following introduction to
sustain message that the action plan is resulting in action

- providing balance to any negative media coverage

Proposed Timing

Rollout Action Plan and introduce legislation October-December


DRAFT2 AUGUST 28 2000 l3




1. MCZCR, in consultation with Management Board Secretariat and other
affected Ministries prepare a disability action plan and an Ontarians With
Disabilities Act ("ODA') for introduction and release in fall, 2000.

2. The objective of the action plan and ODA is to:

- Improve opportunities for persons with disabilities in Ontario,
demonstrate continued public sector leadership;

- Lead by example as a model employer and service provider;

- Promote and recognize successes in the private sector;

- Foster action without being prescriptive in the broader public
and private sectors; and

- Achieve the above with minimal new investment.


3. The disability action plan comprehensively document all
existing government programs and services for persons with
disabilities to inform


DRAFT2 AUGUST 28 2000 14

The public of the multitude of programs already available
through government leadership.

4. The disability action plan also contain new initiatives that
demonstrate continued leadership with legislation being one
component. New initiatives include the following:


- Create committee on employment for persons with disabilities to
advise government and recognize and encourage model employers.

- Promote research for adaptive technologies.

- Consult on barrier-free features of the Ontario Building Code.


- Market Infoline and the disability section of My Ontario Web as one-stop
Information and Referral on government disability programs.

- Include accessibility features in standards of major government services
such as Common Counters, Ontario Business Connects and E-Government.

- A full review of the disabled person parking permit program.


- Introduce an Ontarians with Disabilities Act setting out government practices
to improve opportunities for employees and customers with disabilities (details
below under 'Content of ODA"


DRAFT2 AUGUST 28 2000 15

[missing page as evidenced by above reference]

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