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Friday, August 7, 2009

Friendly, agreeing comment to Estée

Estée Klar wrote a piece on her blog about the Ontario Accessibility Act. I quote her on the specifics:
By 2012, accommodating disabled persons in Ontario will become mandatory for all non profit organizations. Accommodating people with disabilities will be enforced, and this will make it necessary for all not for profit agencies — which includes hospitals, schools, religious organizations, transportation services and the like — to be able to utilize and/or make available Assistive Devices for non verbal individuals as well as other equipment, environmental provisions and the deliverance of the “products and services” (which entails what we commonly refer to as accommodation) for a diverse population of individuals with various needs.

Under the Ontarian Accessibiltiy Act which became law in 2005, non profits will all have to comply by 2012 and other businesses by 2025.

Her entry can be found here as "Ontario’s Accessibility Act"

Being in agreement, I felt little need to comment, but then decided that putting in my two cents is part of what I do. :D

Hi. I’m looking forward to this. I am one of those that had a hard time accepting accommodations in school settings. I saw it as singling me out for bullying, as well as “cheating”, since I didn’t understand that accommodations are to help “level the playing field” so that it’s fair and so that I have the tools to be able to show that I did learn what was being taught in class.

Accommodations outside of the classroom allow people to communicate in a manner that better suits them, be able to access the same services as others, and be able to interact in society. That’s what accommodations are.

For a more visible disability, it is widely accepted to accommodate for them. I’m talking about ramps and lowered sinks for wheelchair users, allowing blind dogs into restaurants, malls and other settings, hearing aids and communication devices for people with impaired hearing (please note, I do not know the preferred terms that these people would rather I use, so please excuse my ignorance and maybe, could you educate me?).
For less obvious disabilities, such as Learning Disabilities, parts of autism and others, accommodations should be just as acceptable. However, we have a habit of being made invisible because we don’t look very disabled. But we are. For example, it is a lot easier for me to type this than it is for me to say it, even though I am considered a verbal autistic. So this computer and keyboard that I’m using is an accommodation. Accommodations aren’t to be used as excuses to not try, but rather, to build on strengths to overcome weaknesses that otherwise impair ability.

So. I am looking forward to this, and hope that this will help to make changes in society to be more accepting and understanding for people with disabilities.

Now that I think about it, I should probably have included hearing impaired and maybe blind in the invisible disability category. Without their devices and, in the case of the blind, walking stick-thing-I-don't-know-the-name-of and/or seeing dog, these people look "normal".

And I should know better too. One of my roommates was legally blind, meaning her sight was so bad that even corrective lenses could not fully help. If I remember correctly, it was one eye, so she also had very very little, if any, depth perception. To those who didn't know, she looked "normal". Well, normal in that she didn't look disabled or blind; we're all geeks in that apartment.

Anyways. But the point of my comment remains.


  1. I'll be interested to see how the various religious organizations will be able to comply. While the Catholic Church has, as always, deep pockets to pay for these services, others, from various other, more loosey organized religious groups may struggle. Hopefully some government assistance will be in place.

  2. Is this Ontario's version of the ADA? Or does it go further? I hadn't realized Canada didn't have a disability accommodation/discrimination law before this.

    A great deal of the time, there isn't enough consideration given to the needs of Autistic people in these types of accessibility discussions. I think we need to try and raise our voices in support of consideration of non-traditional forms of accessibility. Due to that, we've been talking with the EEOC and we want to talk to other US enforcement and regulatory agencies relating to this - like the Department of Justice and the Access Board. Whose responsible for technical assistance and enforcement of this law?

  3. @Ari

    I'm not entirely sure. I'm not on top of the political sphere like Estée is. But I looked at the website that she linked to, part of the Access On program: http://www.accesson.ca/ado/english/business
    Which seems to be a part of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, which also does the Ontario Disability Support Program (or ODSP, which I'm on). So I'm betting that it's them.

    There's been a huge surge of reviewing accessibility laws and whatnot here, that I've noticed.

    @Noyer2 yeah, I'm worried cause I know that the church I go to doesn't really have the means or room to put in wheelchair access ramps and the like.


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