September 5, 2012
SUMMARY - Written by the AODA Alliance.

On August 19, 2011, Premier McGuinty made 12 important election commitments on what his Government would do, if re-elected in the 2011 Ontario election, to ensure that Ontario becomes fully accessible to over 1.7 million Ontarians with disabilities by 2025. Those commitments were set out in a letter to the AODA Alliance.

The non-partisan AODA Alliance here makes public its detailed Report Card on how well Premier McGuinty is doing in the ear that has passed since he wrote us that letter.

The result is a mixed bag. In fully 6 of the 12 promises, we give a grade of "very poor" and "promise not kept." In the others, the Government's performance ranges from promising and helpful action to something less than that. Some of these promises date back to the 2007 election.

The Government has only completed the first year of its current term in office. We believe it should have gotten considerably more done by now.

We conclude by again endorsing the conclusions of the 2010 report of the Government-appointed Charles Beer Independent Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The Government needs to revitalize its implementation of the AODA. It needs to show stronger leadership in this area. It needs to breathe new life into the implementation of this legislation. This requires transformative change within the Government, and not mere tinkering. improvements must be directed from the highest levels of the Government.

The Government's delay in keeping all its 2011 election promises toOntarians with disabilities sets Ontario even further behind schedule inreaching the mandatory goal of full accessibility by 2025 that the AODA requires. In reaching these conclusions, we acknowledge throughout that various parts of the Government have certainly been making efforts at implementing the AODA. The Government has a number of commendable initiatives underway, several of which are identified in this Report Card.

We applaud these and encourage the Government to carry on with them.

Despite this, much more needs to be done. It needs to be done now. Promptly keeping all the Premier's 2011 election promises to Ontarians with disabilities would be a good start.

The Report Card explains below why the fact that the McGuinty Government is only a minority government and faces a major budget deficit, doesn't justify the Government's delays that are documented here. We remain eager to help the McGuinty Government in its efforts to keep all its 2011 election promises to Ontarians with disabilities.

In summary, here is a list of the McGuinty Government's twelve 2011 election promises to us, and our bottom-line conclusions on how it is doing so far at keeping them.

1. PROMISE: To effectively enforce the AODA.

GRADE: Very poor. Promise not kept.

2. PROMISE: To maintain and/or strengthen and not to reduce any protections in the AODA or in regulations enacted under it.

GRADE: Very poor. Promise broken, if the Government proceeds with its plan to amend the Integrated Accessibility Regulation, as it has proposed in its August 15, 2012 web posting.

3. PROMISE: To work together with us and other stakeholders, to identify the next accessibility standards to be developed and enacted, to bring Ontario to the goal of full accessibility by 2025.

GRADE: Promise not kept. Very poor.

4. PROMISE: As a priority, to promptly enact the Built Environment Accessibility Standard.

GRADE: Not yet kept. Poor, despite some progress by recently publicly posting a draft regulation to cover a limited part of the promised Built Environment Accessibility Standard.

5. PROMISE: To extend the Government's 2011 Ten Year Infrastructure Plan, to include a requirement that information technology infrastructure and electronic kiosks, acquired with Ontario public money, are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Grade: Very poor, insofar as the Infrastructure Ministry is concerned. More hopeful insofar as the Ministry of Government Services is concerned.

6. PROMISE: To create a full-time Assistant Deputy Minister position in the Ministry of Government Services responsible for accessibility of the Ontario Public Service and the Ontario Government.

GRADE: Very Poor. Promise not kept.

7. PROMISE: To complete the review of all Ontario laws for accessibility barriers, which the McGuinty Government initially promised in the 2007 election, through the work of a central team, to have ministries report on their progress as part of their annual performance plans, and to pursue strategies to address defined barriers in an efficient and suitable manner.

GRADE: Promise in the process of belatedly being kept. A potentially positive and hopeful situation. Long overdue, but signs of new progress.

8. PROMISE: To integrate accessibility as a fundamental principle when the Government is making vital decisions that affect the daily lives of Ontarians.

GRADE: Promising. Potential for real progress, if the "Accessibility at Source" strategy is actually deployed across Government, is monitored and is effectively enforced.

9. PROMISE: To continue to build on progress on making municipal and provincial elections more accessible to voters with disabilities.

GRADE: Promise not kept. Very poor.

10. PROMISE: To raise with self-governing professional organizations, (e.g. those which govern architects, lawyers, doctors, nurses or social workers) the need to include in their professional training mandatory education on meeting the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities.

GRADE: Promise not kept. Very poor.

11. PROMISE: To ensure that school children in Ontario receive education on disability accessibility, and that this is included in the Ontario Government's "Character Education" curriculum" for Ontario schools.

GRADE: Overdue helpful action has recently been taken on this 2007 election promise, but we do not know to what extent these promised curriculum materials are actually reaching children in classrooms across Ontario.

12. PROMISE: To continue making progress under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

GRADE: Poor, except regarding the anticipated new process for developing accessibility standards, which is promising, as well as efforts under the Enabling Change Program. Those two positive initiatives do not fully address
the needs addressed here.

Below, we list each promise one at a time, show what action the Government has taken on each promise, offer a grade for each promise, and offer our comments. We provide links to key documents to support our conclusions. We set out important thoughts that you should consider when reviewing this Report Card. We offer important conclusions at the end of the Report Card.

Send your feedback to us at