McGuinty Government Launches New Accessibility Council
Champions From Community And Business Will Guide Ontario To New Era Of
TORONTO, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government's commitment to accessibility is getting a big boost today with the appointment of CITY-TV veteran David Onley and community leader Tracy MacCharles to lead the province's new Accessibility Standards Advisory Council, Minister of Community and Social Services Sandra Pupatello announced today.
"Our new Accessibility Standards Advisory Council will be a guiding force as we work to make Ontario accessible," said Pupatello. "People with disabilities should be able to fully participate in the social and economic life of our province, and our Accessibility Standards Advisory Council will help make sure we do it right."
Onley, a veteran journalist with CITY-TV, advocate and educator on disability issues, will chair the council. MacCharles, a human resources specialist and disability advocate, will be the vice-chair.
The Accessibility Standards Advisory Council will provide advice to help achieve an accessible society over the next 20 years. The council will advise the government on accessibility standards and on sector-specific and general public education programs to support and educate individuals, businesses and other organizations about accessibility and accessibility standards.
"Accessibility is not just about equipment or architecture. It is fundamentally about attitude as well. We know that if a facility or business is made accessible it becomes easier to use for all people, young and old and whatever their physical status. I welcome this opportunity to help change Ontario for the better," said Onley.
"It will take everyone's commitment -- people with disabilities, businesses and government -- to build a truly accessible province. And we're going to do it because accessibility is good for our society, our economy and our future prosperity," said Pupatello. "This is part of our plan to strengthen our province by making sure Ontario benefits from the contribution of all its citizens."
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ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS ADVISORY COUNCIL
The Accessibility Standards Advisory Council was established by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). The council is a key body that will provide advice to help guide Ontario as the province moves to achieve the government's vision of an accessible society over the next 20 years.
The council will advise the Minister of Community and Social Services on the development of accessibility standards. The council will also provide advice on sector-specific and general public education programs to support the effective implementation of the AODA.
The provincial council includes a cross-section of leaders from the disability community and the private sector, with the majority of members being people with disabilities. Council members are appointed by the minister for a term of up to three years.
David Onley, Chair
David Onley is a veteran journalist with CITY-TV in Toronto and has been a long-time advocate for people with disabilities. He was inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame in 1997 for his contributions to advance the causes of people with physical disabilities. In 1996, Toronto's Clarke Institute presented him with the Courage to Come Back award from the effects of polio. And in 2003, he received an honourary doctorate of law degree from Canadian Christian College.
Tracy MacCharles, Vice-Chair
Tracy MacCharles of Pickering is a human resources professional and an active volunteer and board member for various charities including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Big Sisters Association of Ajax-Pickering and the United Way. She is also active in the Conference Board of Canada, the Women's Executive Network and was a member of the former Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario.
Robert Bailey of Amherstburg was a former manager of purchasing and supply for the Greater Essex County District School Board, and has an extensive background in community service. He has spent eight years in local government and is currently a councillor for the Town of Amherstburg.
David Borthwick of Oakville is president of Accessible Solutions Inc. Through the assessment, design and construction of accessible accommodations, he has extensive experience in helping people with disabilities to maximize their independence by creating safe, accessible and functional housing environments.
Tyler Campbell of Sudbury has first-hand experience with disabilities issues as a senior manager with ICAN - Independence Centre and Network, a community agency that supports people with physical disabilities to live independently. Tyler is also a school board trustee and chair of the Northern Credit Union's delegates committee.
Uzma Khan of Mississauga is working within Technology & Operations at CIBC and was the vice-chair of the former Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario. As a founder and president of Canada-Wide Accessibility for Post- Secondary Students, she is a key organizer of the annual Breaking Down Barriers Conference and the annual Simply People disability celebration held in Toronto.
Dean P. La Bute
Dean P. La Bute of Windsor has a strong history of advocacy work in primary health care and disability issues. He was a member of the former Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario and the founding chair (Windsor- Essex Chapter) and regional representative on the Ontarians with Disabilities Action Committee. He also served on the Windsor Advisory Committee on Disability Issues and was the founding chair of the Health Services sub- committee.
Mike Murphy of Kingston has been the executive director of the Independent Living Centre Kingston for the past 17 years. He is a member of the board of directors of the Canadian Association for Independent Living and chair of the Ontario Network of Independent Living Centres.
Richard (Ric) E. McGee
Richard E. McGee of Kawartha Lakes is Ward 2 councilor for the City of Kawartha Lakes. As Facilities Director with the Millbrook-Cavan-South Monaghan Community Centre Board of Management, Ric transformed a dilapidated ice skating/community centre facility into a thriving, customer service-driven municipal service while maintaining a positive cash flow. In addition, he devotes a great deal of time to other community oriented organizations throughout the province.
Judith Parisien of Alfred has worked for 18 years with Le Phénix, a community development agency for people with disabilities. She is a member of the Francophone Association for Women with Disabilities, the Francophone provincial Association for Community Organizations, the Ontario Council Against Women Violence, the Canadian Network for Community Economic Development and the Francophone Rural Association for Eastern Ontario.
Jutta Treviranus of Toronto is director of the Adaptive Technology Research Centre with the University of Toronto, an internationally-recognized centre of expertise on barrier-free access. Jutta is an international expert on standards and specifications for accessible information technology. She has consulted in many countries on equal access to information technology.
Jeffrey Willbond of Ottawa has 15 years experience in accessibility and disability services, community building, social development and project management. He has been a media advisor to CTV News on accessibility issues, and has served on the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, the International Day of Disabled steering committee, Line 1000 Employment Services and Law Commission of Canada's advisory committee. As a new employee with the Office for Disability Issues, Social Development Canada, Jeff will provide expertise in accessibility and inclusion.
Dr. Kathryn Woodcock
Dr. Kathryn Woodcock is an associate professor at Toronto's Ryerson University where she teaches, researches and consults in ergonomics related to safety and disabilities. She is a member of Deaf Women United and Deaf Women in Science and Engineering and was the first deaf president of The Canadian Hearing Society.
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For further information: Contacts: Sara Best, Minister's Office, (416) 325-5219; Paul Doig, Communications Branch, (416) 314-5187