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Accessibility Now Rally: October 11th

Join us Wednesday, October 11, 2017 starting at 4pm at Yonge & Bloor (north east corner) as Community takes to the streets to advocate for #accessibilityNOW

 

The list is extensive concerning barriers that TTC maintain/create thus breaching the AODA, Human Rights Code, Charter of Rights & Freedoms.  Here are 8 that reflect an overall concern:

 

  • Structural/Discriminatory Barriers – Presto Gates – the 1 or 2 installed in a station are significantly less than the inaccessible gates that are installed in the same station (think 1960s drinking fountains: ‘whites only vs colored’)

 

  • Psychological Barriers – doing the very least so it can be said it was done – installing the least number of elevators (usually 1) in subway stations in order to claim/identify that that station is accessible. When that 1 elevator is no longer working, that station is no longer accessible.

 

  • Attitudinal Barriers – failing to be proactive about ensuring that bus drivers follow policies about deploying ramps, allowing passengers using wheelchairs on first, stop between stops, etc…

 

  • Policy & Practices Barriers – failing to recognize the dignity, independence and rights of all patrons including people identified as having ‘disabilities’. IMO, “disability” is really created by the systems/systemic barriers that perpetuate the construction of barriers that disregard the fundamental humane rules of recognizing the humanity of individuals in society and their right to freely participate in all aspects of life.

 

  • Communication Barriers: – failing to provide inclusive signage

 

  • Technology Barriers – failing in providing clear inclusive announcements, information and messaging

 

  • Organizational Barriers -failure to ensure access to accessible transportation when rerouting takes place

 

  • Architectural Barriers – not demonstrating that accessibility is a priority and more importantly, that it is a right- not an option!

 

Join us starting at 4pm at Yonge & Bloor (north east corner) on Wednesday, October 11, 2017.  Bring some friends too.  We had a crowd come out last year.  We expect a bigger crowd this year as more people recognize the need to organize and come together collectively to advocate for and protect our rights!

 

Together we succeed!

 

The #accessibilityNOW rally starts at 4pm and ends at 7pm but afterwards, in solidarity, we plan to head up to Yonge and St. Clair (by subway) to 25 St. Clair Ave. East to show some support to our Community members who have been holding a vigil for over two months to bring attention to the suicide crisis of Indigenous youth.  We want to lend our support reminding them that we are in solidarity with them; we acknowledge what they are doing and what is being done to Indigenous communities across Canada.

 

If you are to be picked up by Wheel Trans, we suggest a pick up time around 8:45pm or later depending on how much time you plan to spend at the vigil in front of 25 St. Clair Ave. East.

 

Together we succeed!

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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.

 

 

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

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/

Social Assistance Reforms will Divide the Disability Movement in Ontario

On February 19, 2013, in its first Throne Speech, the Ontario Liberal Government announced is shifting lead responsibility for implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act from the Community and Social Services Ministry (where it has resided since 2005) to the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment. 
The speech included this statement: “Your government will ensure that all individuals can find their role in this economy. And so it calls on the private sector to increase the number of people with disabilities in the Ontario workforce. As a demonstration of its commitment to this goal, your government will shift the Accessibility Directorate from the Ministry of Community and Social Services to the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment. Because men and women with disabilities deserve a level playing field.”

At first glance, this might sound like great news, as is often the case with speeches like this. Most people with disabilities in Ontario live in poverty, and this change will certainly benefit some people, but some important questions we need to be asking is who will benefit and how.

Socialist assistance cuts
It is interesting timing that this announcement was made right around the same time that recommendations to overhaul social assistance in Ontario were released. These recommendations will have serious impacts on people with disabilities who depend on social assistance for their survival. The mandate of the Commission that made these recommendations was to move people into work, decrease caseloads, and simplify the system for the people who run it. It is also based on the disgusting and ridiculous assumption that the less money a person receives, the harder they will look for work. These cuts follow the elimination a few months ago of theCommunity Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit.

Some of these recommendations could become regulation at any time, such as the recommendation that the rates must always be lower than minimum wage, even for people with disabilities who are working but not paid enough to survive without social assistance. Another recommendation states that parents with disabilities would receive the same rate as parents without disabilities; there is no regard in any of these recommendations for the extra costs that capitalism imposes on people with disabilities.

One of the major recommendations is to combine Ontario’s two social assistance programs, Ontario Works and ODSP, into one program. Right now ODSP is specific for people with disabilities, and Ontario Works is the social assistance program for anyone not recognized as having a disability. The combination of these two programs would require significant legislative change, and would take much longer to impact people’s lives, but the Ontario Conservatives have already put forward a private members bill totry and push this ahead.

Corporate-driven
The implications of this recommended legislation are disturbing. People with and without disabilities on social assistance would be required to sign Pathway to Employment Plans—similar to the Participation Agreement that people on Ontario Works now sign—in order to receive assistance. Participation Agreements require people to attend employment programs and actively seek employment in order to receive assistance; these programs have historically been underfunded. People are forced to take multiple unnecessary resumé writing workshops to receive their income.

It is not clear how they will determine who is employment ready under this new program, or whether they will have to take the first job available.  It was also recommended that there be corporate “champions,” making it likely that some companies will be subsidized or prioritized for taking on employees with disabilities. There are already problems with programs like this, people with disabilities go into job support programs with a business degree and wind up with a job at a big box retail store, if anything. The Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, that was just charged with the task of overseeing the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act works extensively with Ontario’s private sector.

Solidarity against austerity
There are some who say that our government would not make changes that would impact people with disabilities in such a negative way. People with disabilities in the UK would disagree with that. As of April 2013 people with disabilities in the UK are faced with substantial cuts to their income, including loss of transportation and equipment benefits, tougher assessments to determine “who is disabled enough” to receive assistance, and even a tax for having an extra bedroom. Some people with disabilities in that country doubt they will survive the year.

Before we commend Premier Wynne for her announcement, we need to keep in mind what other people with disabilities are facing. While the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act will benefit people with physical and sensory disabilities, people with mental health issues are likely to be hurt the most by social assistance recommendations. We cannot let the ruling class continue to divide us; it’s time to fight for the rights of us all.

Reproduced from: http://www.socialist.ca/node/1684

“Brighter Prospects” for Austerity: What the Social Assistance Reform Recommendations Really Mean for People with Disabilities

“Brighter Prospects” for Austerity: Understanding the Latest Recommended Reforms to OW and ODSP

A Toronto Disability Pride March Report

The mandate of the Commission that made these recommendations was to move people into work, decrease caseloads, and simplify the system for the people that run it. It is also based on the incorrect assumption that the less money a person receives, the harder they will look for work. Here are some of their recommendations.

  • The rates for social assistance must always be lower than minimum wage, even for people with disabilities who are working.
  • Use a lower measure of poverty to determine how much money a person receives, including lowering the maximum housing amount, and no recognition of additional costs of disability
  • Loss of needs based funding (like CSUMB), mandatory benefits, and appeal rights.
  • It would effectively cap the rate for a single person on ODSP.
  • Parents with disabilities would receive the same rate as parents without disabilities with no difference for the child’s age.

The Key Recommendation is to combine OW and ODSP into one program run by municipalities and First Nations

  • It is not clear how they will determine who is “employment ready”, or whether they will have to take the first job available.
  • People with and without disabilities on social assistance would be required to sign Pathway to Employment Plans – Similar to the Participation Agreement that people on OW now must sign, in order to receive assistance.
  • The Ontario Conservatives have put forward a private members bill to try and push this ahead.
  • No clear plans or outcomes were recommended in any of the “benefits” to people on ODSP that were given in the recommendation to combine these programs.

They also recommend increased access to employment supports, but these have historically not worked well

  • One of the recommendations is to have corporate “champions”, making it likely that some companies will be subsidized or prioritized for hiring employees with disabilities.
  • People with disabilities are currently going into job support programs with a business degree and winding up with a job at a big box retail store, if anything.
  • In these recommendations the key priority for getting people with mental health and addictions off ODSP is employment.  We believe health should be the key priority over employment.

Fight Back – For Everyone on Social Assistance!

  • Contact your MPP
  • Join us, find us on Facebook, on Twitter @DisabilityPM, or come to a meeting at …

For more information about these facts see this flyer or the ODSP Action Coalition website: http://sareview.ca