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Ontario Human Rights Commission releases Consultation Report on human rights and public transit service in Ontario

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April 22, 2002

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For immediate publication

Toronto - There is a legal obligation under the Ontario Human Rights Code for equal access to public transit services without discrimination based on prohibited grounds, yet persons with disabilities, older persons and families with young children face difficulties in accessing transit on a daily basis. Human Rights and Public Transit Services in Ontario summarizes the input received from transit providers, seniors' organizations, disability consumers groups, advocacy groups and individuals during the Ontario Human Rights Commission's consultation on public transit. The report was released today at the Ontario Transportation Expo Conference and Trade Show in Toronto.

"Today, there are 1.6 million disabled persons and 1.5 million people over the age of 65 living in Ontario," stated Chief Commissioner Keith Norton. "In 20 years, those statistics are expected to increase to one in five Ontarians with a disability and an estimated 3 million over the age of 65 who will need access to public transit services. Improvements must be made."

"Lack of accessible transit service places barriers to education, work, and health services - preventing many people full and equal participation in their community. This, clearly, is an infringement on human rights," said Mr. Norton. "The report indicates that our public transit services need vast improvements and the collaboration of all parties to meet the needs of people with disabilities

The report contains recommendations aimed at achieving full integration and accessibility of services, developing inclusive policy, procedures and programs and taking all steps short of undue hardship to achieve these goals. The Commission encourages the provincial government to set standards and timelines across the province and to consider the urgency and impact of accessibility issues in public transit services.

For electronic copies of the complete Report or the Discussion Paper on public transit please click here to e-mail your request to the Commission.

Backgrounder on Human Rights and Public transit


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François Larsen