Report from the AODA Alliance
Even though the new Integrated Accessibility Regulation has finally been enacted under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, will Toronto transit passengers face new barriers in the future when paying fares to ride the TTC?
On June 6, 2011, the media reported that the City of Toronto was working out, or had worked out, an agreement for the Toronto Transit Commission to adopt the Ontario Government’s Presto Smart Card for paying TTC transit fares. Yet we have no word that the Ontario Government has removed the serious accessibility barriers in the Presto Smart Card that can impede transit patrons with disabilities from fully using it on a footing of equality.
We have waged an ongoing campaign to ensure that public money is never used to create new barriers against persons with disabilities. As part of this, last year, the AODA Alliance made public serious concerns about barriers against persons with disabilities in the Presto Smart Card technology, which was custom-designed with public money. We caused the Transportation Minister to revisit this technology, because of these concerns. However, the McGuinty Government did not commit to our request that it halt the roll-out of the Presto Smart Card until the barriers were removed.
Now, on learning of the recent developments in Toronto, the AODA Alliance wrote to the Toronto Mayor, the TTC Chair, and Ontario’s Transportation Minister. We asked them to commit that the Presto Smart Card will not be rolled out in the TTC until those barriers are removed and the Presto Smart Card is fully accessible to transit passengers with disabilities. We reminded them of the requirements for ensuring accessibility under the Human Rights Code, the Canadian Charter of Rights, and the new Integrated Accessibility Regulation enacted last Friday under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. We set out that letter below.
Write your Member of the Legislature about this, to support our position. If you are in Toronto, write the TTC Chair, the mayor and your councillor to raise this issue. Let the media know about it. Everything you need to know is set out in this letter, and the web pages to which its links point.