My Delegate Presentation In Opposition Of Open Air Barriers

This is the shortened version of my March 13 presentation to council. And we all know the result – Mayor Prue broke the tie vote in favour of 14 weekends for 2023.

During Amherstburg’s budget deliberations, Councillor Pouget acknowledged the obligation to comply with the AODA and the Human Rights Code.  

But it was disheartening and concerning to hear statements like:

  • that’s not for this group to address, that’s a policy of the town. 
  • it is accessible.
  • it’s more accessible for people, at least in wheelchairs,
  • everybody loves Open Air the way it is,
  • there are no barriers,
  • and we’ve never had one complaint. 

The fact is I have complained, as have others. 

On numerous occasions, I raised the issue in emails, written submissions, blog posts, social media, questions to the candidates, and in letters to the editor.

Former Lieutenant Governor David Onley noted in the third AODA Review Report:

  • Ontario is not a place of opportunity but one of countless, dispiriting, soul-crushing barriers. 
  • We are the only minority group in our society that faces blatant, overt discrimination and whose civil rights are infringed upon every day from multiple directions. 

Rich Donovan just released the fourth AODA Review Interim Report and noted: 

  • Despite 17 years since the AODA has come into force, People with Disabilities (PWD) still consistently face barriers in their everyday experiences.
  • He echoed Onley’s language that no other demographic group faces these kinds of negative experiences, barriers and outright discrimination without public outcry, much less one that represents nearly a quarter of the population.

My human right to equal access is not a want; it is my right and that trumps wants, such as Open Air.

Publicly funded public spaces and rights-of-way are owned by everyone in the community. 

If you approve Open Air as it is, then you’re also approving barriers that exclude people with disabilities.

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