Accessibility Directorate of Ontario Abandons People with Disabilities in the County of Brant
By Karen McCall, M.Ed.
After updating the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario with the latest transportation scheme proposed by the County of Brant that denies people with disabilities basic and protected human rights and violates the Integrated Accessibility Standards, Part IV – Transportation, imagine my astonishment, shock and frustration when I found out that the ADO “had” answered my questions.
The following is the latest letter I received from the ADO, November 23, 2012:
Dear Ms. McCall:
I am acknowledging receipt of the multiple emails and letters you have sent to our office between the months of May and November 2012.
The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO) provided you with responses to the questions and concerns that you have raised (twice in June, twice in August and once in September). Given that there is no additional information to offer you at this time, the ADO will not be providing you with further responses.
Director, Outreach and Compliance
Accessibility Directorate of Ontario
The responses I’ve received from EVERY letter and update on the denial of our basic and protected human rights and statements from the County of Brant that the AODA and specifically the transportation standards are “not law” has been to tell me that the “AODA and its standards are not complaint based” and that my “feedback will be kept for statistical purposes only.”
This in no stretch of my imagination answers the questions I had asking for education and enforcement of the AODA and the Integrated Accessibility Standards. I have consistently asked for help and assistance for my municipality but it appears no one at the ADO is listening.
My municipality is not the only one taking advantage of the fact that there is no enforcement of the AODA or its standards. Many municipalities and organizations are just going to wait out the time until 2025 when this “will all go away.” Based on the lack of enforcement, it will be the municipalities and organizations that do recognize we have protected human rights that will follow the law and its standards.
Those of us on the resurrected ad hoc specialized transportation service committee for the County of Brant have been told that if we don’t approve the proposed transportation scheme that violates our basic and protected human rights and the Integrated Accessibility Standards we will lose Para transit immediately. Throughout this process the threat of eliminating Para transit in the County has been used in answer to affordability and sustainability questions the community members have asked the County. This time the intimidation is more urgent: immediate elimination of all Para transit services if you don’t give up your basic and protected human rights.
Thank you Accessibility Directorate of Ontario for helping my municipality deny those of us with disabilities our basic and protected human rights and giving the municipality permission to imprison those of us with disabilities in our homes! Great step forward in human rights and inclusion for people with disabilities!