June 1st, 2020

NDP statement on National AccessAbility Week

OTTAWA — Joel Harden, NDP critic for Accessibility and Persons with Disabilities, issued this statement to mark National AccessAbility Week:

"As we mark National AccessAbility Week across Canada, we must recognize and celebrate the myriad contributions of Canadians living with disabilities to our society.

This includes the many individuals, activists, communities and organizations who have worked, and continue to work, to dismantle our society's many barriers to accessibility and full social inclusion in areas including employment, education, health care and recreation.

In Ontario, people living with disabilities are still waiting for the Ford government to implement key recommendations from David Onley's third legislative review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

COVID-19 has thrown into further relief the added barriers people with disabilities face, and our governments' failures to properly support people with disabilities.

In Ontario, the Ford government has taken no concrete steps to give extra support to Ontarians with disabilities, many of who face added barriers to accessing testing and treatment for COVID-19, and added risks due to exposure to care workers, often in their homes.

The NDP has been calling for a plan for Ontarians with disabilities to include, but not be limited to:

  • Adopting a clinical triage protocol that respects the human rights of people with disabilities
  • Ensuring that attendant care workers who help people with disabilities in their own homes have access to personal protective equipment
  • Resources and clear guidelines to support 330,000 special education students with e-learning
  • Provide remote and distance supports to assist the families of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities living with them, to provide respite for family members during mandatory periods of isolation at home
  • Declaring the Assistive Devices Program an essential service so that no one is deprived of critical mobility or medical aides.

People with disabilities need government support now. Whether it's folks who are stuck because they can't get the wheelchair they need, or people with mobility disabilities that require in-home COVID-19 testing to ensure they're protected."