QUEEN’S PARK – NDP Deputy Leader Doly Begum (Scarborough Southwest) introduced a private member’s bill to ensure that the province's accessibility standards for transit services meet the needs of Ontarians with disabilities or using mobility devices.
“Public transit is essential to Ontarians from all walks of life - many youth, seniors and families across the province rely on local and regional public transit services to be able to access education, jobs, healthcare, recreation, groceries, and more,” Begum said. “Yet, transit stations and stops across the province continue to meet necessary accessibility measures. This is why I am bringing forward my bill to make public transit inclusive and accessible to all.”
Begum’s private member’s Bill, the Enhancing Public Transit Accessibility Act, 2023 calls on the Ministries of Transportation and Seniors and Accessibility to jointly review the current state of accessibility standards in transit stations and amend existing legislation to ensure that persons with disabilities can access all:
- Stops, shelters, and stations
- Bus bays, trains, light-rail transit, and streetcars in stations without having to leave the premises
Lauri Sue-Roberts – Advocate for Transit Accessibility
“Accessible transit is a war on poverty and unemployment. People can get to work and their homes and connect with their communities. The lack of these measures in transit keeps people at home who could be contributing to the community. There is a misconception that implementing accessibility measures would drain money from our economy. However, if people with disabilities can leave their homes, they can support the economy and be valuable contributors to society.”
Chris Yaccato - Manager, Fundraising & Corporate Engagement at Variety – the Children’s Charity of Ontario
"Variety Village is one of, if not the busiest wheel-trans drop off points in Toronto. Without accessible transit people are socially excluded. Without the lifeline of clear access to transit, it limits a person’s and children’s ability to meet new friends. What this Bill does is elevates this discussion."
Moyeen Chowdhury - Advocate for Transit Accessibility
Access to equitable transit is primarily a priority for person’s living with disability but also a priority for our aging population, students and parents with small children. It is also related to community safety, and transit accessibility helps address physical, mental and psychological health conditions.
Shelagh Pizey-Allen - Executive Director of TTC Riders
"Just because something is accessible on paper doesn’t mean it's accessible in real life."
Adam Cohoon – Co-Chair of TTCriders Accessibility Committee
"They haven't added better tools.... Even virtual customer service. Yes, you can press a button when there's a genuine emergency. But when there's genuine emergencies it's almost too late. So, there's no customer service that you can actually adopt."
Joel Harden – MPP Ottawa Centre
“Most disability rights organizations in Ontario will say we are nowhere near meeting our AODA targets in pretty much every aspect of public life by 2025 - and among the most shameful for me are transit and housing.”
Lise Vaugeois – MPP Thunder Bay – Superior North
“The most recent AODA report shows that there is no work being done to implement the AODA. What we can see is there are no repercussions to not implementing it. We know the Ford Conservatives have not been willing to meet with the AODA alliance. Part of the function of this Bill is to try and push this issue forward and hold this government accountable.”
MPP Sarah Jama MPP for Hamilton Centre:
"The Ford government has left disabled people behind, and Bill 82 will make sure to push for accessible transit. We need to continue to put pressure on the Government so disabled people can access transit and travel fairly and equally just like everyone else"