Our Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs regarding Bill 148

Fight for $15 and Fairness Logo

More information on the Fight for 15 & Fairness and Bill 148.

July 20, 2017

Attention: Mr. Eric Rennie, Clerk of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs

Re: Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs regarding Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017

Dear Mr. Rennie,

I’m writing to you on behalf of the Toronto Disability Pride March, an organization founded to bring attention to the rights and oppression of people with disabilities. Among Ontarians, people with disabilities are more likely to live below the poverty line, with low wage, precarious work, if we can find it all. We are appalled by opponents of this Bill who have cited people with disabilities as an excuse to keep wages low, or have insinuated that people with disabilities do not want or deserve a living wage.

Workers across Ontario, including those with disabilities, have made it clear that too many of us are working for low wages in part-time, temporary or contract jobs without employment benefits, workplace protection or the right to form, and keep, a union. For too many Ontario workers, full time work does not guarantee a life above the poverty line. Income and job insecurity keep us from making ends meet.

The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (Bill 148) introduces many important changes to address Ontario’s outdated labour laws. The proposed changes in Bill 148 to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and Labour Relations Act (LRA) provide a good start to addressing precarious work to deal with changing workplace practices. However, we are calling for amendments to Bill 148 to ensure it can close the gaps and raise the floor of minimum standards for the highest possible number of workers in Ontario.

Millions of workers (and their families) in this province are waiting to see how your committee will pave the way to strengthen our archaic labour laws. We are calling on you to reject suggestions that will make work more precarious, under the guise of enabling flexibility for the kind of business practices that continue to exert downward pressure on the wages and working conditions of all of us. The bulk of evidence shows that decent work is the foundation of a strong economy, better health outcomes, and reduced inequality. We disagree with those who suggest otherwise.

Our organization fully supports the recommendations and amendments put forward in the submissions by: the Workers’ Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services, Decent Work and Health Network, Migrant Workers’ Alliance for Change, Injured Workers’ Consultants Community Legal Clinic and the Ontario Federation of Labour as part of the Fight for $15 and Fairness.

Sincerely,

Melissa Graham, Founder

Toronto Disability Pride

Freeing our people: Updates from the long road to deinstitutionalization

An important article co-authored by a TDPM supporter

One of our march supporters co-authored this important article for The Monitor, and we think you should check it out.

Here’s a short piece of the article:

Imagine.

You are told when you will go to bed, when you will eat, and what you will eat.

You are denied a key to your own home, or to have visitors.

You are coerced or forced into sexual sterilization, for “your own protection.”

You’re informed the hours you spent shredding paper over 10 years are just a form of “training,” and that you don’t deserve even a minimum wage for this work.

You are told how to vote, or that someone else will vote in your place because you aren’t capable of making rational decisions.

You’re told you have “the mentality of a child.”

You are told you should never have been born.

It’s hard to imagine any adult being treated this way. But these are the insults faced every single day by people with intellectual disabilities. Under the guise of protecting them, many provinces practise intense forms of segregation that expose people with intellectual disabilities to degrading and abusive treatment.

Natalie Spagnuolo Kory Earle
JULY 4, 2017

A plain language version of the article is also available.

 

 

We want to hear from you!

Hello TDPM followers!

We want to hear from you!

The Toronto Disability Pride March organizers are getting ready to march again in September.

We’re always looking for ways to make things better, and we’d like to hear your ideas.

  • What do you like about the march?
  • Do you think the march benefits the community?
  • What could we do better?
  • Do you have any fundraising ideas for us?

Please leave your comments below.

Thank you!

Have your say on the future of the Canadians with Disabilities Act

Sit Down, Fight Back

The Federal Government will be hosting a public forum to get input from the public on what the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act should include.

where and when this takes place:

When: Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Time: 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Where: Chelsea Hotel Toronto – Churchill Ballroom, 33 Gerrard Street West, Toronto, ON

If you would like to attend this event, you will need to contact the Office for Disability Issues in advance so they can send you a short form with your contact information and accessibility needs.

Pro-Tip: Go with a group and plan the questions you want answered.

Would you like some suggestions of what you might say to the Federal Government at these consultations?

Here are a few starting points from the AODA Alliance.

Here are a few points that I’ve made regarding an Accessible Canada for All.

  • The need for accessible, affordable…

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Thank you for a great #TDPM2016!

Thank you to all of the marchers, speakers, and volunteers who supported us this year! We’re taking a break over the winter, but we’ll be right back to organizing for TDPM 2017 this spring.

You can still find us on Facebook and Twitter @DisabilityPM for updates on the Toronto disability community.

The latest: Silent No More: Ottawa consults on national disability act, demonstrations for disability justice remain strong from The Leveller.

Please stay in touch, we’re still here. Stay Loud! Stay Proud!

Come Out for TTC Accessibility for All!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at 4:00pm
Please join us at Yonge and Bloor Station, Toronto, Ontario


D!ONNE Renée is the organizer behind this event. If you have any questions, want to throw your virtual support behind her, or have comments, reach out to her via email or on Twitter at @OnElectionDay.

Click to listen to audio announcement.

The announcement reads:

Accessibility is a Right — Not an Option

On Wednesday, August 31, 2016 – Between 4pm – 8pm, on behalf of community and Public interests, an #AccessibilityNow! TTC campaign/protest will take place starting in the Yonge and Bloor area to raise issues concerning discrimination based on disability, barriers, and ableism in transit and its services.

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act sets out the interpretation for “barriers.” Too many barriers exist within the TTC. It is not acceptable to take a “minimum/at least” approach in improving access for all. The standard should be a model that reflects an equal to or greater than the access that is currently available, model. The equal to or greater than the access that is currently available model is a model of equity and equality.

People have a right to access public systems; in this right, people should feel that they have the option to be free to choose whether they access those systems or not. We are all not free just to be.

Approximately 35 out of 65 subway stations are “partially accessible,” on good days. Functioning equipment = good days. “Partially accessible” means that all patrons don’t have the option to access the system for lack of elevators, Braille information and helps, proper signage (large print, clear, large-enough digital boards), functional escalators, inaccessible entrances/exits (now including Presto Card gates and readers) to subway stations, buses, streetcars, and extraordinary Wheel Trans wait/scheduling. Plus the TTC worsened accessibility when they began replacing the names of Toronto’s subway lines with confusing numbers.

TTC (and transit across Ontario and Canada) must be proactive in its operations and provide equality in its services and not discriminate against anyone, including people with disabilities and/or people requiring accessible access in order to use its systems. TTC was able to find money to implement Presto Card systems into its subway, bus, and streetcar services even though the gate systems being used at subway and bus stations are all not accessible; but TTC seems to be unable to be actively proactive in ensuring that all areas of TTC are fully accessible.

While this event will take place in downtown Toronto, the issues and concerns being raised affect all of Ontario and Canada. We want everyone to have the ability to travel independently, or in group, as we so choose.

We want a barrier-free Canada.

Will you help?

Will you join the protest and invite others to do so too? Will you gather with community in accessibility advocacy? #AccessibilityNow #GetItRight #AODA #AODAFail

Wheelchairs are Not Suitcases: a great opportunity for some #RealChange

Sit Down, Fight Back

Sign the Petition.

Every time I fly I make a silent apology to my wheelchair. I leave the chair at the gate, fingers crossed, as I’m transported to the cushy seat on the plain with a small screen in front to distract me from what’s happening to my wheelchair in the cargo hold.

For my wheelchair this journey will be far more hazardous. Once it leaves my sight, this machine that provides me with daily independence, freedom, and mobility, gets thrown on the carts and on to the loading machines with the similar respect that passengers suitcases would expect.

Imagine watching you 600 pound chair get tossed on its side and just hoping your chair isn’t melted, broken, or taken apart by the time you reach your destination. Yes, these things actually happen to people.

I’ve looked up the standards and regulations, it turns out Transport Canada is really concerned about

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Coming Up:Reclaiming Our Bodies & Minds Conference

Reposted from https://reclaimingourbodiesandminds.wordpress.com/

Reclaiming Our Bodies & Minds: Navigating Our Spaces, Places, and Histories is the second annual inter-university/college disability conference in Toronto.

The Conference:

The Reclaiming Our Bodies & Minds Conference was initially hosted at Ryerson University in 2012. In 2014, student groups and campus/community activists from Ryerson University, York University, University of Toronto and George Brown College came together to imagine an inter-campus conference that brought together disability community activists, service providers, academics, and everybody in between. This is the second year of the Reclaiming Our Bodies & Minds Inter-University Conference.

The Theme:

The 2016 theme for the Reclaiming Our Bodies & Minds Conference is Navigating Our Spaces, Places, and Histories.

Disability is ever-present within our spaces, places, and histories…but is it evident?
This conference will explore the ways that disability exists within discourse, community-building, and lived experience, as well as the many ways disability erasure and resistance have occurred.
Join us for a weekend of empowerment, dialogue, and celebration.

The Details:

The Reclaiming Our Bodies & Minds Conference will be hosted on two-half days and one full-day between Friday, March 11th, 2016 and Sunday, March 13th, 2016.

Friday, March 11th, 2016 – Ryerson Student Centre, Ryerson University
Saturday, March 12th, 2016 – Ryerson Student Centre, Ryerson University
Sunday, March 13th, 2016 – University of Toronto

Accessibility Statement:

The conference will be a safe, consumer/survivor/mad-positive, wheelchair-accessible space. ASL and live-captioning will be present at workshops and panels, ASL will be present for performances. Attendants, childcare and active listeners are available on request at registration. There will be a debriefing space and a quiet space available on Saturday for the entire day. Overhead room lighting will be used in all spaces, but can be dimmed/turned off in the quiet and debriefing spaces. There will be no loud abrupt sounds in panels or workshops, and trigger/content warnings will be announced prior to performances. Should it not interfere with access to the conference, we ask for all attendees’ participation in making the conference fragrance-free.

TDPM supports the Accessible Canada for All Campaign

Thursday December 3rd is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. It is also the day before Prime Minister Trudeau’s Throne Speech.

That is why on December 3rd we’re asking all of you to show our new Prime Minister and his Cabinet what an Accessible Canada for all looks like.

  • The need for accessible, affordable housing.
  • Protection of the rights of parents with disabilities.
  • Accessibility in healthcare, including Indigenous Peoples and refugees.
  • Police training in effectively and sensitively working with disabled people.
  • Distribution of Health and Social transfers to address the inequities in the systemic barriers that exist between provinces and territories.

Using the hashtag #AccessibleCanada4All please take to social media and remind them that real change is not a continuation of the status quo, where only the most advantaged of us move forward.

This is our time. Let’s make it count.

Please share the #AccessibleCanada4All campaign with your networks.

For more information check out https://exposingableism.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/accessible-canada-for-all/

Thank you for an amazing march!

Thank you for joining us for the 5th annual Toronto Disability Pride March on October 3, 2015.  There are so many thanks to give and so much to share. Roughly 100 people braved the cold to march this year!

We have so much to share about this and our upcoming projects, but until then you can check out the speeches from this year’s speakers, this interview, and photo essay.

Keep in touch there’s more to come!

Marchers from the 2015 march