Wednesday, September 16, 2020

In an op-ed published in the Toronto Star, September 15, David Onley, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, former Faculty of Law Dean Mayo Moran, currently provost and vice chancellor of Trinity College and a law professor at U of T, and Charles Beer, former Minister of Community and Social Services, address the need to strengthen Canada's support for the disability community in a post-pandemic world.

As the authors of three successive government-appointed independent reviews, they write: 

"The past six months have been among the most challenging in our history. All Canadians have seen their lives altered on a daily basis. Fortunately, our governments at every level have worked together and have responded positively and effectively to mitigate many of the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. But we face some fundamental challenges if we are to emerge as a stronger and more compassionate society.

Over the past decade each of us was asked to carry out the first legislated reviews of Ontario’s groundbreaking Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). During the course of our work, we had the opportunity to meet with a number of extraordinary people, all living with disability. Their insights, personal stories, and ideas for a more inclusive future remained with us long after our work was done.

The pandemic has brought us back together with a new sense of purpose. COVID-19 is having a disproportionate and devastating impact on Canadians with disabilities. This crisis deserves the attention of all Canadians and urgent action is required.

The disability community is often invisible or ignored. But in fact almost 25 per cent of Canadians live with some kind of disability. According to Statistics Canada, that population is more likely to be single, female, un-or-underemployed, and living in poverty with more than one type of disability. As our population ages, that percentage will continue to go up."

Read the full op-ed in the Toronto Star