FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 28, 2013
Queen’s Park – Opposition Social Services Critic Toby Barrett called out government on its underwhelming implementation, and enforcement, of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) today.
Barrett questioned Eric Hoskins, Minister of Economic Development, in the Legislature this afternoon.
“…it’s now been eight years since the Ontario government followed the lead of the PC government’s Ontarians with Disabilities Act, with the passage of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act,” Barrett began. “And while in some ways we have moved forward, many disabled advocates are wondering if lately we’re not just spinning our wheels?”
Barrett went on to report two recent stories of disabled patrons prevented access in the last month alone, before noting the disconnect that exists between the AODA and its implementation.
“Government has talked a good game when it comes to accessibility, but the early returns have been far from convincing,” Barrett noted. “The customer service accessibility standard required organizations and businesses to file reports on their plans for compliance with the standard, as well as a written accessibility policy – all private sector organizations with 20 or more employees were to submit by December 31st.
“Many questions remain – how many have filed – how many have not…and bottom line, will there be any enforcement or is the act destined to become a toothless tiger?”
Barrett also referenced an upcoming deadline for the act’s review.
“When will the appointment be announced for the next independent review of the AODA? Again government is required to make the appointment by May 31st – it’s now the 28th, time is running out,” warned Barrett. “And the concern remains that while the days pass by, government’s commitment to accessibility and enforcement to ensure accessibility grows weaker.”
“We ask government to get on with the one standard that is in place, back up words with action and get on with the job of creating accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities.”
For more information contact: Toby Barrett 519-428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629