Speaking plainly, we already know the experiences of many people with disabilities are poor. In Ontario and globally. Otherwise, there would not be a need for laws and regulations like the AODA.
The cause of these poor experiences is poor design. In service. In products. In technology. In buildings. In infrastructure. In careers. In process. In human imagination of what people demand in their experiences.
What is needed is a mechanism, or set of mechanisms, to cause our institutions to change their behaviours. To improve design of experiences to capture everyone. To delight people with disabilities in ways that grow Ontario’s economy and global competitiveness. To improve lives and, in some cases, to save lives.
Behaviour change of businesses, not-for-profits and public sector entities must be a key outcome from the Government of Ontario as it evolves the AODA.
There has been value built from these regulatory platforms. For one, we are having these discussions. We are examining future needs. Helping to shift expectations. Progress, for sure. After 17+ years of AODA, you have told me progress is not sufficient. You are demanding results.
In my 17 years as an analyst in disability markets, one thing has remained consistent. The interests of individual businesses and individuals with disabilities are aligned. Businesses want to maximize revenue and hire the best talent. People with disabilities want great experiences and have the best talent to offer. Yet, something causes demand and supply to routinely miss each other.
That “miss” costs our economy tens of billions of dollars annually. The human cost is far greater. The lives of hundreds of thousands of Ontarians, at best unfulfilled and at worst ended, because of poor design.
Sadly, even in 2022, some of those costs are driven by outright discrimination. As a PWD myself, like hundreds of millions of people around the world, I experience discrimination daily based on my disability. It is one of this review’s goals to address this discrimination head on. Not to be so naïve as to think to end it, but to grapple with its existence.
One of my key questions as reviewer is “how can government policy effectively and efficiently cause behaviour change of Ontario’s businesses, not-for-profits, and public sector entities to the benefit of Ontarians with disabilities and all Ontarians?”
You may notice some vague language in this statement – “many”, “some of”, “hundreds of thousands/millions”. Measurement, statistics, and demographics are under-developed in disability markets and policy. The review shall show these areas of weakness while modelling our recommendations throughout our process.
The design of this review has been drafted. The review aims to follow this plan:
Online Survey #1 – September 2022 – A baseline survey of 1,000 Ontarians with disabilities to understand their experiences with disability in Ontario.
- Online Survey #1 – September 2022 – A baseline survey of 1,000 Ontarians with disabilities to understand their experiences with disability in Ontario.
- Consultations Round #1 – September 2022 through November 2022 – we shall host a series of virtual events and interviews to gather feedback from experts, interested parties and the public on the AODA’s progress to date in achieving its objectives and desired future outcomes. The reviewer shall guide towards a focus on the experiences of Ontarians with disabilities.
- Assessments Report – January 2023 – A report outlining a series of assessments made by the reviewer based on Online Survey #1, Consultations Round #1, and research/analysis engaged by the reviewer. These assessments are designed to provoke a second round of consultations.
- Online Survey #2 – February 2023 – A survey of 1,000 Ontarians with disabilities to understand their experiences with disability in Ontario and to test various assessments.
- Consultations Round #2 – February 2023 through April 2023 – we shall host a series of virtual events and interviews to gather feedback from experts, interested parties and the public on AODA’s progress to date achieving its objectives and desired future outcomes. The reviewer shall guide towards a focus on the experiences of Ontarians with disabilities and feedback on the assessments from the January report.
- Final Recommendations to Government – June 2023
I have an ask of you.
I need to understand your experience. I need to hear your ‘wow’ moments and your ‘ow’ moments.
I need to hear your ideas. I need to hear your challenges.
I need you to help me understand the things that you grapple with on a day-to-day basis.
There will be many opportunities to participate in the process of reviewing the ADOA.
I invite you to join me in painting a realistic picture of disability in Ontario (and outside Ontario).
I want to hear from you.
As we launch our website in the coming weeks, there will be continuous opportunities to engage with us.
I look forward to our conversations and to working together to help shape the future of Ontario.