Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

December 01, 2006 13:21 ET

International Day for Disabled Persons Dec 3 OFL statement

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO, STATEMENT--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 1, 2006) - The International Day for Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations to commemorate the anniversary of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons. The Programme of Action was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1982. The aim of this observance is to "promote an understanding" of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

This December 3 in Ontario we are facing a government that is not promoting an understanding of disability issues and support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. In fact, it is a government that has betrayed the trust of Ontarians with disabilities and is trying to repeal rights that are important to this community. This is evidenced in the McGuinty government's indifference to the concerns of Ontarians with disabilities as the government seeks to impose their Human Rights Code Amendment, 2006 (Bill 107) on our province.

Rather than properly funding the Ontario Human Rights Commission, this proposed legislation seeks to strip away most of the Commission's power to investigate and prosecute discrimination cases. Ontarians with disabilities fought long and hard to ensure that the Commission could investigate and prosecute disability discrimination. This right won in 1982 will be gone if Bill 107 becomes law.

Ontarians with disabilities assumed that this right was now enshrined in law. They assumed that subsequent legislation such as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 although flawed, would be useful in addressing such important and critical issues as bringing about real accessibility for all Ontarians. This challenge will be met if it is made a priority with leadership and sufficient resources allocated for this purpose. Such new legislation would supplement the rights and protections Ontarians with disabilities already had under the Ontario Human Rights Code and Commission. This assumption has been proven wrong by the actions of the McGuinty government.

Even before Bill 107 was introduced for first reading on April 26, 2006 the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) was working closely with Ontarians with disabilities and other concerned groups to oppose the McGuinty government's approach.

In the words of OFL Executive Vice-President Terry Downey, "The Ontario Federation of Labour is committed to working with Ontarians with disabilities and their organizations to ensure that the spirit of the United Nations proclamation for December 3 is implemented and enforced in Ontario law so that all Ontarians may play a full role in their province. A province that is accessible, supportive and welcoming to them."

/For further information: Dana Boettger/ IN: JUSTICE, LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Dana Boettger, Communications Director, Ontario Federation of Labour
    Primary Phone: 416-443-7665
    Toll-Free: 800-668-9138
    E-mail: dboettger@ofl.ca