Breaking News from Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance (AODA) regarding a new education accessibility standard

From the AODA Website, http://www.aoda.ca/breaking-news-premier-wynne-has-just-announced-in-the-legislature-that-the-ontario-government-agrees-to-develop-an-education-accessibility-standard-under-the-accessibility-for-ontarians-with-d/

(article copied below)

Breaking News : Premier Wynne has Just Announced in the Legislature that the Ontario Government Agrees to Develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities http://www.aodaalliance.org aodafeedback@gmail.com Twitter: @aodaalliance

December 5, 2016

SUMMARY

This news is hot off the presses! In Question Period today, Progressive Conservative MPP Bill Walker asked Premier Wynne to agree to develop an Education Accessibility Standard to tear down the accessibility barriers impeding hundreds of thousands of students with disabilities in Ontario schools, colleges and universities. Premier Wynne said yes. In fact, she said it twice, after MPP Walker asked her twice. Her final words were:

“We recognize that there’s more to be done, and there will be an education standard developed.”

Below we set out the exchange in Hansard, the official record of the Ontario Legislature’s proceedings. This is the preliminary version of Hansard. It is subject to finalization.

In this exchange, both MPP Walker and Premier Wynne refer to the article in today’s Toronto Star, shared in an AODA Alliance Update earlier today. That article reported on the open letter which we sent to Premier Wynne this morning. In it, 22 major disability organizations urged Premier Wynne to agree to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA.

“This is an important step forward for students with disabilities and their families”, said David Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance which has led the campaign to get the Ontario Government to agree to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA. “This is only the first step. We want to begin the hard work right away, working together with school boards, colleges and universities and those who directly teach our students, to recommend what the Education Accessibility Standard needs to include, so that it ensures that Ontario’s education system becomes fully disability-accessible by 2025, the Disabilities Act’s deadline.”

We commend Premier Wynne for agreeing to develop an Education Accessibility Standard. This is a very important first step along the road to a fully inclusive and accessible education system for students with disabilities. We also thank PC MPP Bill Walker for raising this issue now and back on October 31, 2016 in Question Period.

We thank all the individuals and organizations who have pressed their MPPs and the Government to agree to develop an Education Accessibility Standard, by phone, via our open letter, on Twitter or Facebook or in person. We thank all those in the Legislature who echoed our message.

We ask the Government to move quickly to appoint an Education Standards Development Committee to consult the community and bring forward recommendations on what the Education Accessibility Standard should include. No pre-conditions should be imposed on the Standards Development Committee regarding which disability accessibility barriers in Ontario’s education system it can consider.

To read the open letter from 22 disability organizations to Premier Wynne, visit http://www.aoda.ca/22-major-disability-organizations-send-premier-wynne-an-open-letter-calling-for-the-wynne-government-to-agree-to-develop-an-education-accessibility-standard-under-ontarios-disabilities-act/

* To see the AODA Alliance’s Discussion Paper on what an Education Accessibility Standard could include, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/11212016.asp

For background on the campaign for an Education Accessibility Standard, visit www.aodaalliance.org/education

You can always send your feedback to us on any AODA and accessibility issue at aodafeedback@gmail.com

Have you taken part in our “Picture Our Barriers campaign? If not, please join in! You can get all the information you need about our “Picture Our Barriers” campaign by visiting www.aodaalliance.org/2016

To sign up for, or unsubscribe from AODA Alliance e-mail updates, write to: aodafeedback@gmail.com

We encourage you to use the Government’s toll-free number for reporting AODA violations. We fought long and hard to get the Government to promise this, and later to deliver on that promise. If you encounter any accessibility problems at any large retail establishments, it will be especially important to report them to the Government via that toll-free number. Call 1-866-515-2025.

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