December 3, marks the 25th International Day of People with Disability. This day provides an opportunity to not only reflect on the discrimination faced by people with disabilities but also to renew our commitment to fight for full accessibility, inclusion and equity.
Today in Ontario, 1.85 million people live with some form of disability – this is one in seven Ontarians.
People with disabilities face discrimination, high unemployment and underemployment, high rates of poverty, and barriers to accessing many services. Workers with disabilities often have trouble receiving proper accommodation and face barriers to hiring and promotion. This has to change.
People with disabilities should be able to fully participate in all aspects of society.
We want to take a moment to recognize all the CUPE Ontario members who work tirelessly to support people with disabilities. Your work means the difference between social isolation and the possibility of living a life to it’s full potential.
We also need to recognize that although the provincial government passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in 2005, which requires Ontario to become barrier free for people with disabilities by 2025 – with only seven years to go – Ontario is far behind where it needs to be.
An independent legislative review of the law has found that the government has fallen far behind in its implementation. That is why CUPE Ontario’s Worker’s with Disabilities committee is about to launch a new social media campaign to highlight all the various barriers people face in their day-to-day lives.
The committee will be asking volunteers to photograph all the barriers they come across and then post them to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #AODAfail. A photo is worth 1000 words. Thousands of photos will create the pressure needed to ensure the provincial government fulfills its own law and makes Ontario barrier free by 2025.
On this International Day of People with Disability we strongly encourage all our members to join the campaign.