The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) and the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario (CMHA Ontario) are calling on mental health stakeholders to participate in the public review of the proposed Integrated Accessibility Regulation (IAR) under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) to ensure that the accessibility needs of mental health consumer/survivors are addressed. The deadline for submissions is March 18, 2011.
The Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) has released a draft of the proposed regulation. The goal of the IAR is to remove and prevent accessibility barriers faced by people with disabilities in the areas of transportation, employment, information and communication. The IAR harmonizes the AODA standards in these three areas. Based on feedback received during this final consultation, MCSS will finalize and enact the regulation.
SSO and CMHA Ontario are concerned that:
- Organizations with one to 49 employees are exempt from many of the IAR’s obligations;
- The proposed Employment Standards do not apply to volunteers and unpaid workers, which is inconsistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code;
- Existing training provisions could be strengthened to better address systemic and attitudinal barriers through provincial standards, including content specific to mental health disabilities and concerning the Ontario Human Rights Code; and
- The proposed compliance framework is weak.
Mental health stakeholders can respond to the proposed IAR by providing feedback to MCSS on the draft regulation. To view the proposed IAR and participate in the public review, visit www.mcss.gov.on.ca.
For more information about the SSO and CMHA Ontario concerns, contact Irina Sytcheva, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, SSO, by phone at 1-800-449-6378, ext. 255, or e-mail at email@example.com, or Sheela Subramanian, Planning and Policy Analyst, CMHA Ontario, by phone at 1-800-875-6213, ext. 4157, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
See “Response to the Proposed Integrated Accessibility Regulation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act,” October 2010, available at www.ontario.cmha.ca/submissions.