QUEEN’S PARK – This week, Ford’s Conservatives voted against NDP Deputy Leader MPP Doly Begum's (Scarborough Southwest) bill calling for better accessibility on public transit across the province.
Bill 82: Enhancing Public Transit Accessibility Act, 2023 aimed to create a more accessible public transit system for all Ontarians, including those with disabilities. Begum called for concrete actions and timelines to ensure that transit systems meet accessibility standards, but the government's rejection of the bill highlights their unwillingness to take real action on this issue with a timeline.
Ford Conservatives’ failure to make transit accessible creates significant barriers for people with disabilities, limiting their ability to access work, school, and other activities and isolates them from their communities.
"The rejection of this bill is a clear indication that the Ford Government is not committed to making public transit accessible for all Ontarians, including those with disabilities,” said Begum. “It is unacceptable that people with disabilities continue to face barriers in accessing public transit and the Conservative government is failing to take immediate action to address it. It is time for the government to prioritize the needs of people with disabilities and work towards creating a more inclusive Province for all.”
ARCH Disability Law Centre:
“ARCH Disability Law Centre supports the passage of Bill 82, Enhancing Public Transit Accessibility Act. Persons with disabilities have the right to enjoy seamless, secure, and dignified access to public transportation services to enable their full participation in society. For far too many of our clients and members of our communities, transportation remains inaccessible. For example, accessibility standards that relate to transportation, the design of public spaces and customer service do not currently address accessibility barriers in transit stations and stops. While a person with a disability may board an accessible bus, with accessible services (such as stop announcements) and be greeted by drivers who are trained on how to support persons with disabilities, the first point of access to the service, the station itself, remains inaccessible. Inaccessible transportation continues to be a significant barrier to inclusion, and Bill 82 offers an opportunity to hold meaningful discussions and directly address some of those barriers. “
Lauri Sue-Robertson, Advocate for Transit Accessibility:
"Public transit is not a war on cars. It is a war on all the ills of society that are caused or aggravated by isolation and loneliness. It's a war on poverty and a war on unemployment. Public transit is the glue that holds our widely-spaced province and country together, and it must be available, fully accessible, and barrier-free to people from coast to coast."
Adam Cohoon, Co-Chair TTC Riders Accessibility Committee:
"Working on accessible transit means everybody can get around easier, and with our aging population working on fixing these accessibility problems sooner than later helps everyone involved."