The Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières October 2015 newsletter

Table of contents

  1. Special request to our readers
  2. Summary for the month of October
  3. Next steps
  4. How you can support us
  5. Contact info

Happy November everyone and we begin by once again thanking all of our supporters for having helped to galvanize our initiative towards convincing our new government to enact a Canadians with Disabilities Act.

Every voice counts and your voice is as important as everyone else’s. So please continue to support us! Help us to spread the word in any way that you can! By word of mouth, via email, and through social media.


Special request to our readers

Dear readers: Now that our 2015 Federal Election is finally in the books it is time for us to turn our attention to the next phase of our great initiative. This being to convince our new Canadian Parliament to enact legislation for a Canadians with Disabilities Act.

On November 04 Carla Qualtrough was announced as the minister responsible for disability issues and we are extremely delighted to have her in our corner. MS Qualtrough has already stated her intentions to enact Canadians with disabilities legislation. We congratulate MS Qualtrough on her appointment and look forward to working with her.

Transcripts of 2 of her interviews can be found in the next section.

We are encouraging you to do the following.

  1. Send a tweet to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to include a Canadians with Disabilities Act in his throne speech. Tweet him @justintrudeau and ask him to enact said legislation in time for Canada’s 150th birthday on July 01 2017.
  2. Write to your new MP asking them to do everything in their power to push for legislation in the House of Commons to be enacted no later than July 01 2017; our 150th birthday.
  3. Write to the new minister responsible for disabilities issues Carla Qualtrough asking her to do the same. Her email is carla@carlaq.ca and her tweet handle is @CQualtro

We believe that a Canadians with Disabilities Act would be one of the best birthday presents that the Government could ever give to Canadians with disabilities but most of all to Canada!

If you need any further guidance then write to us at info@barrierfreecanada.org and we would be delighted to be of assistance.


Summary for October

Welcome to the Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières October newsletter and we’ll start with our summary for October.

As you can well imagine October was a barn burner month for Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières as we continued to work feverishly to garner as much support as we could before October 19.

Our activities included a huge push on Social media through Twitter and Facebook where we sent out thousands of tweets to candidates of all parties and encouraged those on Facebook to do the same and we are delighted to report that we received hundreds of retweets and thousands of shares on both Twitter and Facebook on our home page at www.barrierfreecanada.org.

Several MPs from all parties retweeted and shared our tweets and even our letter writing tool was used by hundreds who wrote to candidates in their ridings asking them to support the enactment of a Canadians with disabilities Act.

Our list of yes supporters continued to increase markedly. The list of those requesting updates also increased noticeably and our campaign kit was used by many to help them push for more support for our initiative.

The September 29, 2015 All Candidates Forum on Disability Issues in Toronto during the recent federal election is now available online with captioning, as an archived part of Canadians with Disabilities Act history. Earlier that day, the NDP made public its promise to pass a Canadians with Disabilities Act. It was not until the next week that the Liberals made the same promise. As things stand today the majority of MPs in our new Parliament now support the call for a Canadians with Disabilities Act.

Thanks to Councillors Jim Karygiannis and Kristyn Wong-Tam the Toronto Council also endorsed our initiative and it is hoped that other cities across Canada will follow in the footsteps of Toronto Council and do the same.

During the last week of October one of our committee members David Lepofsky traveled to British Columbia to lend support to that province’s advocates to help lobby for provincial legislation for a BC disabilities Act and while there he made huge strides on behalf of BFC-CSB.

Presto! David managed to establish a BC Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières affiliate while on his trip out West and the AODA of which he is founder and chair is now an affiliate of our organization.

We are anxiously looking forward to working with the new Trudeau government and we are extremely hopeful that a Canadians with disabilities Act will be a part of our legal system in time for our 150th anniversary in 2017.

Carla Qualtrough was appointed Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities in the new Trudeau Cabinet.

Transcript of Hon. Carla Qualtrough’s first scrum after her appointment to Cabinet: “I just want to say that the two responsibilities that I have been given—both sports and people with disabilities—this is a clear message on behalf of the government that we are committed to the biggest voluntary sector which would be sport in our country, and of course, people with disabilities. Both these files are obviously dear to my own heart and for the government to make a positive statement and commitment to people with disabilities—including our commitment in the platform to establishing A Canadian with Disabilities Act—I can’t be more grateful and on behalf of every Canadian with a disability I intend to work very hard on their behalf. Thank you very much.”

We are pasting below extracts from the interview with Carla Qualtrough on CBC Radio: Transcribed Extracts from the November 5 Interview with Hon. Carla Qualtrough on CBC Radio. The extracted portions of the interview focus specifically on her comments regarding disability:

Interviewer: “When did you first hear from Justin Trudeau about being included in his cabinet?”

Hon. Qualtrough: “I came to Ottawa late last week—last Thursday/Friday. I met with the Prime Minister Designate and he indicated that a desire for me to be a part of the cabinet—and some specific areas of interest of mine that he thought might be elevated to full ministry status were sports and people with disabilities. And, of course, I was thrilled!….”

Interviewer: “And the fact that disabilities got included with sport—what did that mean to you?”

Hon Qualtrough: “They are still two separate ministries in the sense of how the machinery of government will work. So, I’ll still have two different groups of public servants reporting to me. What it means in terms of the priorities that the government is putting on disabilities is quite significant. As part of our platform the Liberal Party committed to creating A Canadian with Disabilities Act which would be a ground breaking piece of legislation around standards of service and employment and accommodation for persons with disabilities that will be life changing for many, many Canadians.”

Hon. Qualtrough went on to say: “I am a strong and vocal advocate for persons with disabilities. I recently chaired The Minister’s Council on Employment for Persons with Disabilities in British Columbia for the BC Liberal Government and for me my perspective is inclusion. So, helping groups that would have been traditionally been disadvantaged or not included in decision making, have a voice at tables, being included from the beginning and making sure that everyone has equal opportunity for success.”

Interviewer: “So tell me what your priorities are as you take on this portfolio?”

Hon Qualtrough: “They would have to be twofold… On the disability file, as I mentioned, we have this commitment to A Canadians with Disabilities Act, which will involve a strong consultation process— talking with people. Several provinces have already done such an act at the provincial level. We have a precedent in the Americans with Disabilities Act down in the States. We’ll have a chance to address some strong and huge legislative gaps in disability law and policy in Canada and we’ve got a real chance here with this voice at the table to make a significant difference for Canadians.”

Letters from all of the supporting organizations are now posted to our website. Our five founding organizations are:
CNIB, March of Dimes, the MS Society of Canada, the Canadian Hearing Society, and Accessible Media Inc. A list of our supporting organizations is listed below along with the date on which they signed on.

April 02
Irene Lambert
(Past president, program director)
The Low Vision Self-Help Association
West Island, Montreal Quebec

June 01
Kim White, Manager of Strategic Initiatives
On behalf of Kelly White, Executive Director
The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities – NL

June 12
Louise Gillis
National President, Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

June 15
Dar Wournell
National President, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC)

June 16
Shane Holten
President, SPH Planning & Consulting Limited

June 21
The Rick Hansen Foundation

June 22
Lucio D’Intino
President, Quebec Federation of the blind

June 26
Barbara Collier Reg. CASLPO. F. ISAAC
Executive Director, Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)

July 14
Karen Bell
Manager Policy & Stakeholder Relations
Community Living Toronto

July 21
Roxanna Spruyt Rocks
Chief Executive Officer
Deaf Blind Ontario Services

July 31
Jerry Dias
Unifor National President

September 11
Teren Clarke, BN, MM (Mgmt)
Chief Executive Officer
Spinal Cord Injury Alberta

September 13
Luke Anderson
StopGap Foundation

September 15
Pat Seed
Chair Person
Citizens with Disabilities Ontario

Sep 22
Teren Clarke CEO
Spinal Cord Injury Alberta

October 1
Dave Starrett, President and CEO
Easter Seals Canada

October 25
R. E. (Rob) Sleath
Chair, ASIC


Next steps

We know what we need to do and we are ready! Our committee will remain the same but for one change. We now have two co-chairs; David Lepofsky who is the founder and chair of the AODA and Donna Jodhan who is the founder of Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières. We believe that this change will enable us to be better able to position ourselves and interact more closely with external organizations as well as with the Government, MPs, and most of all our supporters.

We will be lobbying for Prime Minister Trudeau to include a Canadians with Disabilities Act in his throne speech and to commit to making it a reality in time for our 150th birthday on July 01 2017. We will also be advocating to work more closely with the minister in charge of issues pertaining to Canadians with disabilities and we will be doubling our efforts to reach out to more organizations both provincially as well as nationally in order to gain their support.

We have already started to receive offers of collaboration from several organization one of them being the Rick Hansen Foundation and we will be working very closely with them to spread our initiative.

Additionally, we will be striving to establish affiliates from coast to coast and we have already started with British Columbia and Ontario.

If you would like to join our growing band of volunteers who have taken to social media to tweet and post to Facebook on our behalf, then please send us an email to info@barrierfreecanada.org and we will provide you with samples of tweets and twitter handles that you can include in your posts and tweets. You can also use our own Twitter handle as part of your tweet; @barrierfreeca

If you would like to become a part of our dynamic swat team where you will have a great chance to interact more closely with your fellow supporters than by all means! Send us an email to info@barrierfreecanada.org and we will respond letting you know how you can help.


How you can support us

You can support us in several ways. First visit us at www.barrierfreecanada.org and read our founding principles. Next visit our support us page and sign up as a supporter. You can also choose to have your name published on our website, receive updates such as these, or simply register your support by completing our online form.

If you represent an organization and you wish to register your organization’s support, you can send an email to us at info@barrierfreecanada.org and we will be delighted to acknowledge your support on our website.

We will even post your letter of support to our website if you give us permission and you will be able to see your letter of support by visiting http://barrierfreecanada.org/support/from-other-supporting-organizations/

You can also spread the message by word of mouth, write to or visit your MP, your MPP, and even write to your provincial Premier or provincial party leaders.


Contact info

To contact us, please send an email to info@barrierfreecanada.org.

To keep abreast of our updates visit http://www.barrierfreecanada.org/category/general

Visit us at www.barrierfreecanada.org
Follow us on Twitter @barrierfreeca
And like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/barrierfreeca

Yours sincerely
Donna J. Jodhan
Founder and co-chair; Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières

On behalf of
David Lepofsky co-chair, Robert Pearson, Steven Christianson, Marc Workman, Jutta Treviranus (Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières steering committee)
Leo Bissonnette; admin support

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