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This Paper will discuss transit services in Ontario in the context of human rights responsibilities and duties, and in the light of a survey on the accessibility of public transit conducted by the Ontario Human Rights Commission in 1999.

Access to public transportation services is a human rights issue. Significant barriers continue to exist to the use of transit services by certain persons who are protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code[1] (the “Code”). Section 1 of the Code guarantees the right to equal treatment in services, and this includes transit services. Where transit services are inaccessible, the result may be exclusion from participation in the community. The issue of accessibility of public transit is most often discussed in the context of persons with disabilities, but it also has an impact on others such as older persons, and families with young children.

With the restructuring across Ontario of the way in which public transit services are managed, there is a fresh opportunity to consider the human rights responsibilities of transit providers, and the possibilities for increasing the accessibility of transit services. This Paper is intended as a first step in encouraging such a discussion. The Commission welcomes written submissions on the issues raised in this Discussion Paper, from either individuals or organizations, with a deadline of June 30, 2001. 

[1] R.S.0. 1990 c. H.19 as am.


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