NDP statement on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Joel Harden, Ontario NDP critic for Accessibility and Persons with Disabilities, and Lisa Gretzky, Ontario NDP critic for Community and Social Services, released the following statement on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities:

“Today is the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, a time to honour the many contributions people with disabilities, and the disability rights movement, have made to our province.

While today is a day to celebrate these accomplishments, it’s also tinged with sadness. For the first time, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance has acknowledged in a letter to leaders of Ontario’s political parties that the province will fail to achieve full accessibility by 2025 as required by the AODA.

How we’ve ended up here is no secret: despite the AODA unanimously passing in 2005, successive Liberal and Conservative governments have moved agonizingly slowly to eliminate barriers. This is in spite of three legislative reviews, most recently by the Honourable David Onley, that have provided clear and achievable recommendations for how this can be accomplished.

In his report, David Onley writes about “soul-crushing barriers” that are preventing 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities from living their fullest lives. A government that’s truly committed to inclusion would make dismantling these barriers a priority, not an afterthought. It would treat this acknowledgment by the AODA Alliance as a wake-up call to act with much greater urgency.

For the next six months, your NDP caucus will work tirelessly to hold this government to account for its broken promises to people with disabilities. Under an NDP government, we’ll work just as tirelessly to build a barrier-free province, implement the Onley Report’s recommendations, and raise inadequate ODSP rates so people can live with dignity.

People with disabilities deserve so much better. They deserve a government that works for them.”

Ontario NDP