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December 4, 2001
Province's new Ontarians with Disabilities Act: a bitter disappointment
People with disabilities have waited six years for the Province of Ontario to
enact a law that provides for full participation in all aspects of Ontario
life. Once again they have been disappointed, says the City of Toronto's
Community Advisory Committee on Disability Issues.

"The Government of Ontario campaigned in the 1995 election on the promise to
pass an Ontarians with Disabilities Act that removes existing barriers and
prohibits the creation of new ones," said the Committee Chair, Councillor Joe
Mihevc. "But the proposed new act fails to address the day-to-day hardships
faced by people with disabilities. This failure is even more disturbing during
Human Rights Week and a week when we are recognizing the United Nations'
International Day for Disabled Persons."

The new act purports to address 11 basic principles of freedom for people with
disabilities, such as ensuring equal opportunity, removal of barriers,
legislative enforcement, and barrier-free access to employment, education,
communications and housing. However, the City's Community Advisory Committee on
Disability Issues describes the proposed legislation as little more than

"People with disabilities have the right to be full participants in an
inclusive, accessible and equitable society," said Councillor Mihevc. "Toronto
City Council and its advisory committee on disability issues are calling on the
Province to enshrine these rights in the Ontarians with Disabilities Act so
that they are mandatory and apply to all sectors - public, private and

Councillor Mihevc will be making the Toronto Community Advisory Committee on
Disability Issues submission on the proposed act to the Province's Financial
and Economic Affairs Committee on December 4, 2001.

It is estimated that 45 percent of the 1.6 million Ontario residents with
disabilities live in Toronto. Toronto City Council has committed to making the
City barrier-free by 2008.

Download the Cit y's submission to the Legislative Committee on Financial and Economic
Affairs respecting the Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

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