Why Does Committee Vacancy Ad Not Mirror Provincial Legislation?

For decades, since the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005, a majority of the members of the committee shall be persons with disabilities.

The River Town Times ad states, A majority of the members of the committee shall be persons with disabilities or caregivers of persons with disabilities. Caregivers cannot be substituted.

River Town Times ad committee vacancies

Accessibility Advisory Committee Composition

I’ve emailed members of council my concern regarding the call for applications, specifically the composition of the Accessibility Advisory Committee. It may be confusing, as it has been in the past, given the information on the town’s site or received by email.

Town committee members’ Applications will be accepted until January 9, 2023 at 4:30 p.m.

The town’s website states, ‘Application forms are available at Town Hall, 271 Sandwich Street South or on the Town website at www.amherstburg.ca.’

the burg watch note: the link is to the town’s home page, not specifically to the forms.

There are links to:

The completed printable form is to be submitted with a resume and notes ‘Each Committee may have additional criteria for eligibility – Refer to Terms of Reference.’

the burg watch note: the Terms of Reference is not attached to the printable form.

The electronic form allows a resume to be uploaded and notes, ‘Each Committee may have additional criteria for eligibility – Refer to Terms of Reference.’

the burg watch note: there is no link to the Terms of Reference from the Vacancies page or the electronic form.

I searched and located the Local Boards/Committees ~ Terms of Reference and it stipulates:

‘The Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee must be made up of 50% or more of members affected by a disability, as per AODA.’ page 3

‘The AODA requires that not less than 50 percent of this Committee’s members be persons with disabilities or such members as Council deems appropriate.’ page 16

The call for applications section states, A majority of the members of the committee shall be persons with disabilities or caregivers of persons with disabilities. 

The Accessibility Advisory Committee section of the town’s site states, ‘The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires that a majority of the Committee’s members be persons with disabilities.’

A 2020 inquiry about the total number of members of the Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee and the number of members that are people with disabilities ended with a percentage of people.

Answer:  link to the composition and 75% of the committees’ membership are affected by disabilities.

i did not inquire about the number of members affected by disabilities. i requested ‘the number of committee members that are people with disabilities.’

Answer: 63% of the committee are people with disabilities.

i would like the NUMBER of people with disabilities as requested, not the percentage.

The Meaning of Ableism

if you’re a regular reader, you know that I persistently advocate for accessibility at every opportunity, despite the pushback, defiance, ignorance, and attitudinal barriers.

During the 2022 municipal election, some statements were concerning because of misinformation. I wondered, do people realize their positions are based on ableism?

An excellent article by Andrew Pulrang, Contributor, Forbes: Words Matter, And It’s Time To Explore The Meaning Of “Ableism.”

Hidden Mobility Disabilities Free Resource

As you know if you’ve read a few of my posts, I raise awareness at every opportunity about the need to ensure equality for persons with disabilities.

Following my post, Council Candidates: Accessibility Evaluation, and due to some attitudes and misinformation I encountered during this campaign, I emailed this:

“Research has defined hidden mobility disabilities (HMD) as being able to walk – but only for 35-50 feet – and being able to stand unsupported – but only for 1-2 minutes – without significant health consequences.”

I urge you to attend a FREE WEBINAR:  Hidden Mobility Disabilities. Candidate Lori Wightman replied and let me know she registered. 

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‘Fully Accessible’ Richmond Popcorn Company

Candidate Linden Crain tweeted his congrats about The Richmond Popcorn Company’s October 8 grand opening. Even if it is unwelcome, I raise accessibility awareness at every opportunity so I tweeted, I’m not celebrating; it’s another one step barrier to a shop that may exclude some people with disabilities in Amherstburg.

I guess Dan Gemus saw it and replied, ‘Just so happens we have custom ramps on order for our building. They are scheduled to arrive any time now’ to which I responded, ‘Just so you know, Accessibility involves more than ramps.’ Besides, access delayed is access denied.

October 18, The Richmond Popcorn shop’s Facebook page states, “It was super important to us to make sure our non accessible building was fully accessible for the newest shop in town! We had to get a little creative, but we made it happen!”

October 20, I commented, I’d like you to explain how this is ‘fully accessible’ and by what or whose standards? the stop gap ramp company stipulates it is not intended to be a permanent fixture and should only be used when required. the permanent accessibility design should be incorporated at the design stage so it’s never an afterthought and full accessibility would include many more features than a ramp.

October 21 I went to check out the store but the ramp wasn’t out. There still would have been barriers though.

step barrier to Richmond Popcorn store entrance in Amherstburg, Ontario

Council Candidates: Accessibility Evaluation

It seemed like ‘accessibility’ and ‘inclusive’ were new campaign buzz words, but it was very disappointing to discover that 18 of the 25 candidates may have excluded persons with disabilities. The town was to have provided accessibility information ‘to ensure equal opportunity for all electors to access your candidate information and to interact with you.’

A few ‘A’ words come to mind; acceptable applies to a few but then there’s awareness, attitude, and ableism.

One Guide covered print material, websites, physical spaces, audio/video media, one on one communication, accessible parking, barriers, customer service, budgets, service animals and a resource. 

I wonder if the candidates with accessibility barriers read it or read it and ignored it?

JUST THE FACTS

Stats Canada states one in five (22%) of the Canadian population aged 15 years and over had one or more disabilities, or approximately 5000 Amherstburg residents.

The Retail Council of Canada states over half of the Canadian population is affected every day by disabilities, or approximately 11,700 Amherstburg residents.

ACCEPTABLE

John Laframboise’s meet and greet at the K of C hall was accessible and I didn’t encounter any issues with Joe Shaw’s website.

BARRIERS

Not one candidate made the no e-scooters pledge. I expected a simple yes or no answer to a reader’s question: Will you remove barriers during Open Air weekends that block people with disabilities from driving to the bank, local stores, bars, and generally driving through town?

Some candidates were in favour of removing the barriers, some would modify the time frame, some didn’t answer and some have publicly supported it but didn’t answer. For those who are in favour of the barriers, how will they fulfill their obligation to remove barriers, if elected?

Some print materials were unacceptable and for those who want to continue relying on social media, I would encourage them to learn how to remove barriers.

CandidateMeet & GreetWebsiteFacebookTwitter
Cerasa, Frankx
Prue, Michaelxxx
Rozankovic, Bobx
Atkinson, Nancyxx
Gibb, Chrisxxx
Moore, Gregoryx
Sanson, Dennisxx
Allaire, Mollyxxx
Argoselo, Andrewx
Crain, Lindenxxxx
DiPasquale, Frankx
Kearsey, Taraxxx
Kretschmann, Holgerx
McArthur, Donaldxxxx
Renaud, Marcxx
Simone, Patriciaxxxx
Theriault, Gerryxx
Wightman, Lorixxxx

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Amherstburg Candidates And Accessibility: Chamber of Commerce

I appreciated Mayoral Candidate John Laframboise holding his meet and greet at the K of C Hall in Amherstburg, while several other candidates held meet and greets in locations with barriers.

I was just as disappointed that the Chamber of Commerce used the stage, with its stairs, for the Mayoral and Deputy Mayoral Candidates’ Night on October 12, 2022.

stairs leading up to stage in hall for municipal candidate night in Amherstburg, Ontario 2022

Amherstburg Candidates And Accessibility: E scooters

I asked; none of the twenty-five Amherstburg candidates for council would make the “No Escooters Pledge.”

The AODA Alliance wanted electors to ask candidates for City Council or mayor anywhere in Ontario to pledge not to allow e-scooters. They endanger safety and accessibility for people with disabilities, seniors & others!

Amherstburg Candidates And Accessibility: Facebook

The following candidates use Facebook, that I’m aware of, but may have issues that prevent some people with disabilities from accessing their information:

Mayoral candidates:

Michael Prue
Bob Rozankovic

Deputy Mayoral candidate:

Nancy Atkinson
Chris Gibb
Gregory Moore
Dennis Sanson

Councillor candidates:

Molly Allaire
Andrew Argoselo
Linden Crain
Tara Kearsey
Donald McArthur
Marc Renaud
Patricia Simone
Gerry Theriault
Lori Wightman

The town was to provide candidates with accessibility information.

Amherstburg Candidates And Accessibility: Twitter

Some of the candidates use twitter but can everyone access the information?

Deputy Mayoral candidate Chris Gibb’s account is used for Gibb Insurance but some town events are promoted.

The following Councillor candidates may have issues that prevent some people with disabilities from accessing information:

Linden Crain
Tara Kearsey
Holger Kretschman
Donald McArthur
Marc Renaud
Patricia Simone
Lori Wightman