Transcript: Fighting For A Barrier-Free Ontario | Nov 28, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and gray plaid tie.

A caption on screen reads "Fighting for a barrier-free Ontario. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says 25 YEARS AGO TOMORROW,
A GROUP OF ABOUT 20 ONTARIANS
WITH VARIOUS DISABILITIES
GATHERED AT QUEEN'S PARK WITH A
MISSION.
THEY WANTED THIS PROVINCE TO
PASS A LAW COMMITTING FUTURE
GOVERNMENTS TO MAKING ONTARIO AS
BARRIER-FREE AS POSSIBLE, SO
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES COULD
ACHIEVE THEIR FULL POTENTIAL.
25 YEARS LATER, HOW'S THAT
MISSION GOING?
LET'S FIND OUT FROM:
DAVID LEPOFSKY, THE CHAIR OF THE
ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH
DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE AND A
VISITING PROFESSOR AT THE
OSGOODE HALL LAW SCHOOL...

David is in his sixties, clean-shaven and balding. He's wearing a gray pinstripe suit, white shirt and patterned gray tie.

Steve continues AND THEA KURDI IS HERE, SHE IS
VICE PRESIDENT AT DesignABLE
ENVIRONMENTS.

Thea is in her forties, with shoulder-length blond hair and side-swept bangs. She's wearing glasses, a purple blazer and a white blouse.
As Steve speaks, she signs using both hands.

Steve continues WHAT DID YOU JUST... WHAT ARE
YOU SIGNING NOW, THEA.

Thea says MY NAME.

Steve says THAT'S YOUR NAME IN
SIGN LANGUAGE.
TERRIFIC.
YOUR FIRST TIME ON TV.

Thea says VERY FIRST TIME.

Steve says DAVID, GREAT TO SEE
YOU AGAIN.

David says ALWAYS GREAT TO BE HERE.

Steve says I WANT YOU TO START,
DAVID, BECAUSE WE NEED TO LAY IN
PLACE SOME OF THE HISTORY OF
WHERE DID THE MOVEMENT FOR
CREATING A BARRIER-FREE ONTARIO,
WHERE DID THAT START FROM
ANYWAY?

The caption changes to "David Lepofsky. AODA Alliance."
Then, it changes again to "A quarter-century of struggle."

David says IT STARTED
FROM TWO POINTS.
BACK IN 1982, OUR CHARTER OF
RIGHTS WAS ENACTED AND OUR HUMAN
RIGHTS CODE IN ONTARIO WERE
AMENDED TO GUARANTEE EQUALITY
FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES,
BUT A DECADE LATER, A NUMBER OF
US WERE COMING TO SEE THAT THOSE
RIGHTS WERE NOT BECOMING A
REALITY IN OUR LIVES, AND THE
SECOND THING WAS THAT IN 1990,
THE U.S. CONGRESS UNITED,
DEMOCRAT AND REPUBLICAN ALIKE,
TO PASS THE GROUND BREAKING
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT,
AND THAT MOVEMENT, COMBINED WITH
THE LACK OF SUCCESS UNDER THE
CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND THE HUMAN
RIGHTS CODE, LED A NUMBER OF US
TO SAY, WE NEED SOMETHING NEW IN
ONTARIO TO MAKE... TO CREATE
PROGRESS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

Steve says ONE OF THE NEW
THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN ONTARIO,
DAVID, IN 1990 WAS THE ELECTION
OF THE FIRST-EVER DEAF MPP NAMED
GARY MILKOWSKI.
HOW IMPORTANT WAS HIS ELECTION
TO THE OVERALL CAUSE?

A picture shows Gary sitting in an office, signing a document. He's in his fifties, balding, with a full white beard and glasses.

The caption changes to "David Lepofsky, @aodaalliance."

David says IT WAS REALLY IMPORTANT IN
THE DYING DAYS OF THE NDP
GOVERNMENT UNDER THEN PREMIER
BOB RAE, IT WAS GARY WHO AS A
BACKBENCHER AT OUR REQUEST
INTRODUCED THE FIRST PRIVATE
MEMBER'S BILL THAT WOULD LATER
BE CONVERTED INTO THE
LEGISLATION WE GOT A DECADE
LATER.

Steve says SO HE WAS IMPORTANT.
HE WAS IMPORTANT TO THE WHOLE...

David says ABSOLUTELY.

Steve says THEA, LET ME BRING
YOU IN HERE.
25 YEARS LATER, WHEN WE DESIGN
CITIES, WHEN WE MAKE GOVERNMENT
POLICY, HOW MUCH MORE ATTUNED TO
DISABILITY ISSUES DO YOU THINK
WE ARE NOW RELATIVE TO 25 YEARS
AGO?

The caption changes to "Thea Kurdi. Designable environments."
Then, it changes again to "Tuning into accessibility."

Thea says WE HAVE CERTAINLY MADE PROGRESS FROM 25
YEARS AGO BUT WE'RE NOWHERE
CLOSE TO WHERE WE WANT TO BE OR
NEED TO BE.

Steve says WHY DO YOU SAY THAT?

The caption changes to "Thea Kurdi, @tkurdi."

Thea says ARCHITECTS, INTERIOR
DESIGNERS, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS,
NONE OF THESE PEOPLE ARE TRAINED
IN ACCESSIBILITY.
OUR BUILDING CODE DOESN'T DO
WHAT WE KNOW NEEDS TO BE DONE,
THE AODA DOESN'T DO WHAT WE KNOW
NEEDS TO BE DONE.
WE DON'T GET THE BUDGET OR SPACE
TO DO IT IN THE BUILDINGS THAT
WE'RE WORKING ON, AND
UNFORTUNATELY, THERE'S REALLY NO
RISK OR PENALTY FOR NOT MAKING
IT REALLY ACCESSIBLE.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says IT'S INTERESTING.
YOU SAY THE PEOPLE WHO ARE
TRAINED, PRESUMABLY IN THE POST
SECONDARY SECTOR, TO DESIGN THE
CITIES AND THE BUILDINGS OF THE
FUTURE, ACCESSIBILITY ISSUES ARE
NOWHERE IN THEIR TRAINING?

Thea says WELL, IF IT IS IN THEIR
TRAINING... BECAUSE I DO AN
ACCESSIBILITY BOOT CAMP, WHICH
IS REALLY FUN.
WHAT I DO IN THAT BOOT CAMP IS I
TEACH PEOPLE TO SEE THE BARRIERS
THAT WE'RE SURROUNDED WITH
BECAUSE THEY'VE BEEN
INDOCTRINATED THROUGH THEIR
EDUCATION THAT THEY ONLY HAVE TO
FOLLOW THE O...

Steve says WE HATE ACRONYMS
HERE, THEA.

Thea says SORRY.
THE ONTARIO BUILDING CODE AND
THE ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS
DISABILITY ACT.
THOSE ARE THE ONLY TWO PIECES OF
LEGISLATION THEY'RE AWARE OF,
NOT UNDERSTANDING THE ONTARIO
HUMAN RIGHTS CODE WHICH SAYS THE
BUILT ENVIRONMENT IN SPACES
SHALL NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST
PEOPLE.
THEY ARE THE SORT OF GAPS THAT
WE HAVE BETWEEN THE MINIMUMS
DEFINED IN OUR BUILT ENVIRONMENT
LEGISLATION AND WHAT THE HUMAN
RIGHTS CODE IS ASKING FOR.
SO PEOPLE KIND OF HAVE TO GUESS
IN BETWEEN, AND THEN THEIR
EDUCATION, THEY'RE ONLY BEING
TAUGHT THE BARE MINIMUM.

Steve says DAVID, LET ME GET
YOUR VIEW ON THAT AS WELL.
HOW MUCH MORE DO YOU THINK CITY
PLANNERS, ARCHITECTS, DESIGNERS
ARE TAKING ACCESSIBILITY ISSUES
INTO ACCOUNT TODAY COMPARED TO
WHEN YOU STARTED OUT?

David says I CAN'T
MEASURE HOW MUCH PROGRESS
THERE'S BEEN BUT THERE'S BEEN
WAY TOO LITTLE PROGRESS.
OUR PUBLIC FUNDS THEY'RE
TRAINING AND WHAT OUR ARCHITECTS
SCHOOLS AND SIMILAR
POSTSECONDARY PROGRAMS FOR
DESIGN PROFESSIONALS ARE DOING
IS TURNING OUT NEW GENERATIONS
OF UNWITTING BARRIER CREATORS,
BECAUSE THEY KEEP DESIGNING NEW
ENVIRONMENTS THAT ARE REPLETE
WITH ACCESSIBILITY PROBLEMS.
NOT BECAUSE THEY WANT TO, BUT
BECAUSE WHATEVER TRAINING
THEY'RE GETTING, IT'S NOWHERE
NEAR WHAT THEY NEED NOR ARE THEY
AWARE OF THE RISKS THAT THEY'RE
TAKING IN TERMS OF THEIR OWN
LIABILITY OR FOR THEIR CLIENTS
WHEN THEY FAIL TO INCLUDE
ACCESSIBILITY IN THE DESIGN OF
THE ENVIRONMENTS THEY DESIGN.

Steve says WE WANT TO ACTUALLY
SHOW AN EXAMPLE RIGHT NOW THAT
IS NOT 15 MINUTES FROM THIS
STUDIO.
THEA, THIS IS THE INTERSECTION
OF JARVIS AND CHARLES IN
DOWNTOWN TORONTO.
FOR THOSE LISTENING ON PODCAST
AND CAN'T SEE IT AND FOR OUR
FRIEND DAVID WHO IS VISUALLY
IMPAIRED AND CANNOT SEE THE
IMAGE WE HAVE ON THE SCREEN
RIGHT NOW, DO YOU WANT TO TELL
US WHAT'S GOING ON IN THAT PICTURE?

In a picture, almost a dozen long blue metal poles spike out at an angle from the sidewalk near Jarvis and Charles.

Thea says SO THIS IS AN
ART INSTALLATION ON THE
SOUTHWEST CORNER OF THE
INTERSECTION THAT'S IN FRONT OF
A CONVENIENCE STORE.
THERE ARE LONG BLUE METAL BARS
THAT SORT OF RESEMBLE STRAWS
THAT LOOK LIKE THEY'VE ALL BEEN
SORT OF BLOWN OVER TOWARDS THE
NORTH, PUTTING MANY OF THEM AT
DIFFERENT ANGLES AND MANY AT
HEAD HEIGHT.
SO IF YOU WERE WALKING ALONG,
MAYBE USING YOUR CELL PHONE, NOT
PAYING ATTENTION, OR IF YOU ARE
BLIND, THERE IS NO WAY FOR YOU
TO HAVE ANY WARNING BEFORE YOU
SMACK YOUR HEAD ON SOMETHING
LIKE THIS.
SO THIS IS VERY DANGEROUS.

Steve says DAVID, THIS IS
OBVIOUSLY AN ATTEMPT TO BEAUTIFY
THE CITY.
SOMEBODY HAD THE IDEA THAT THIS
WOULD BE AN ATTRACTIVE ART
INSTALLATION TO SPRUCE UP A
DOWNTOWN NEIGHBOURHOOD, BUT
PRESUMABLY THEY DIDN'T TAKE
PEOPLE LIKE YOU INTO ACCOUNT
WHEN THEY DID IT.

The caption changes to "David Lepofsky. Osgoode Hall Law School."

David says THIS
HAPPENS TO US, UNFORTUNATELY,
TIME AND AGAIN.
AND YOUR VIEWERS ARE PROBABLY
SCRATCHING THEIR HEAD
GOING, "HOW COULD SOMEBODY DO
THAT?"
THAT'S THE RISK THAT WE FOLKS,
PARTICULARLY THOSE OF US WITH
VISION DISABILITIES, FACE EVERY
TIME WE GO OUT IN OUR BUILT
ENVIRONMENT, THAT THERE COULD BE
SOMETHING STICKING OUT AT HEAD
LEVEL.
AT THE LAW SCHOOL WHERE I TEACH,
THEY DID A MAJOR RENOVATION OF
THE OSGOODE HALL LAW SCHOOL, AND
IN THAT MAJOR RENOVATION THEY
INSTALLED ANGLED PILLARS THAT
SIMILARLY I WAS WHACKING MY HEAD ON.
FORTUNATELY I RAISED THE ISSUES
WITH THIS AND TO THEIR CREDIT
THE LAW SCHOOL HAD THIS FIXED.
BUT THE DESIGN PROFESSIONALS
THEY ENGAGE SHOULD NEVER HAVE
LET THEM DO THIS IN THE FIRST
PLACE, MUCH LESS HAVE DESIGNED
IT FOR THEM TO DO THIS IN THE
FIRST PLACE.

Steve says THIS IS PRESUMABLY,
THOUGH, DAVID, AN ATTEMPT TO
MAKE SOMETHING MORE VISUALLY
PLEASING OR AESTHETICALLY
PLEASING TO THE EYE, AND THEY
JUST DON'T TAKE INTO ACCOUNT
VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE.
HOW DO YOU GET THAT TO CHANGE?

David says YOU GET
THAT TO CHANGE THROUGH TWO
IMPORTANT MEASURES THAT WE'VE
BEEN CALLING FOR THAT PREMIER
FORD REFERENCED IN A LETTER TO
US DURING THE LAST ELECTION, AND
DAVID ONLY, OUR FORMER
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, ALSO
POINTED TO IN AN INDEPENDENT
REVIEW OF OUR DISABILITY ACT
THAT WAS RELEASED EARLIER THIS
YEAR.
WHAT IS THAT?
NUMBER ONE, CHANGE THE LAW.
PASS REGULATIONS THAT SPECIFY
WHAT OUR BUILT ENVIRONMENT MUST
INCLUDE TO BE ACCESSIBLE AND
THAT WHERE A DESIGNER USES THOSE
REGULATIONS AND OBEYS THEM, THE
END RESULT IS TRULY ACCESSIBLE.
BECAUSE OUR LAW FALLS FLAT ON
THAT AND HAS FOR YEARS.
AND THE SECOND THING IS, WE NEED
TO REQUIRE THAT BEFORE YOU GET A
LICENCE, OR KEEP A LICENCE, TO
DESIGN OUR BUILT ENVIRONMENT,
WHETHER ARCHITECTS, LANDSCAPE
DESIGNERS, WHOEVER, THAT YOU
NEED TO HAVE PROPER TRAINING IN
HOW TO DO ACCESSIBLE DESIGN.
YOU CAN DO ACCESSIBLE DESIGN
THAT'S ALSO AESTHETICALLY
WONDERFUL DESIGN, BUT IF YOU
DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO ACCESSIBLE
DESIGN, YOU INADVERTENTLY
STUMBLE INTO CREATING THESE
BARRIERS, AND WE GET WHACKED IN
THE HEAD.

Steve says UNDERSTOOD.

Thea says SORRY, JUST TO
ADD TO THAT.
I DON'T THINK PEOPLE UNDERSTAND
THAT IT REALLY IS
DISCRIMINATION.
THEY DON'T THINK ABOUT IT IN
THOSE TERMS.
THEY DON'T THINK ABOUT THE BIAS
THEY HAVE ABOUT PEOPLE WITH
DISABILITIES CAN AND SHOULD DO.
MANY PEOPLE THAT BLIND PEOPLE
SHOULDN'T BE GOING OUT BY
THEMSELVES OR WOULDN'T BE GOING
OUT BY THEMSELVES.
SO THEY DON'T SEE IT WITH THAT
SORT OF LEVEL OF GRAVITY.
I THINK THAT WAS ONE OF THE
IMPORTANT THINGS THAT ONLEY SAID
IN HIS REPORT THAT THIS REALLY
IS DISCRIMINATION.
UNTIL WE FACE UP TO GOOD DESIGN
IS FOR EVERYBODY AND THE ONLY
OTHER CHOICE IS TO BE
DISCRIMINATORY.

David says THE COMMON
BELIEF OUT THERE, AND IT'S
PERVASIVE, I'VE RUN INTO THIS
MANY TIMES, IS THAT, WELL, OUR
OLDER BUILDINGS LACKED
ACCESSIBILITY BECAUSE, YOU KNOW,
WE DIDN'T KNOW BETTER.
I GUESS WE HADN'T INVENTED
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES 30
YEARS AGO.
BUT NOW... NOW WE KNOW BETTER
AND OUR LAWS ARE BETTER, AND
EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE.
BUT THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE.
I'VE BEEN IN A CONSULTATION
MEETING ON THIS WHEN THEA
BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE
GOVERNMENT THE FACT THAT WE'VE
EXPERIENCED THAT SOMETIMES NEWER
BUILDINGS ARE WORSE THAN OLDER
BUILDINGS FOR ACCESSIBILITY.

Steve says EVERYBODY IS TRYING
TO BE FANCIER IN THEIR DESIGN.

David says YES.
THE OTHER THING THAT WE FOUND IS
THE BARRIERS THAT HURT US HURT
EVERYBODY.
SO THE EXAMPLE OF THAT
PHOTOGRAPH YOU SHOWED, THE SAME
PIECE OF ARTWORK THAT'S STICKING
OUT THAT I WHACKED MY HEAD ON
WILL WHACK ANYBODY IN THE HEAD
IF THEY'RE LOOKING AT THEIR
PHONE TEXTING.
THAT'S NOT TO SAY THAT THEY
CAN'T EXHIBIT THAT ART IN
PUBLIC.
BUT IT WOULD BE SO EASY TO
CREATE A PERIMETER BARRIER
AROUND THAT SO YOU SIMPLY CAN'T
WALK CLOSE ENOUGH TO HIT YOUR
HEAD.
WE'RE NOT SAYING YOU CAN'T HAVE
THAT ART OUT IN PUBLIC.
YOU CAN ALWAYS RECONCILE
AESTHETICS AND ACHIEVE
ACCESSIBILITY IF YOU PLAN FOR IT
FROM THE START.

Steve says THEA, LET'S DO
ANOTHER EXAMPLE HERE.
YOU BROUGHT THIS TO MY ATTENTION
THE OTHER DAY.
THIS IS A SMALL SNIPPET OF VIDEO
THAT'S BEEN RUNNING ON TWITTER
FOR A WHILE.
HERE IS SOMEBODY PUSHING THE
HANDICAP SYMBOL.
WHY DON'T YOU PICK IT UP FROM
HERE, THEA.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "November 19, 2019."
In the clip, a hand pushes a button with an accessibility logo and a door opens leading to a stairwell.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."
Then, it changes again to "Thea Kurdi, @tkurdi."

Thea says THERE'S THE
INTERNATIONAL SYMBOL OF
DISABILITY ABOVE IT.
WHEN THE PERSON REACHES OUT AND
PUSHES THE BUTTON, IT OPENS THE
DOOR.
BUT THE DOOR THAT OPENS OPENS
AND SHOWS US THAT IT'S LEADING
TO A SET OF STAIRS.
WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU PUT A
POWER DOOR OPERATOR WITH A
SYMBOL THAT SHOWS A PERSON IN A
WHEELCHAIR ALONG A PATH OF
TRAVEL THAT'S CLEARLY LEADING TO
A SET OF STAIRS THAT'S NOT
ACCESSIBLE.
SO THIS IS ONE OF THE PROBLEMS
WITH THE INTERNATIONAL SYMBOL OF
DISABILITY, IS THAT YOU HAVE TO
PUT IT ON TO RECOGNIZE THE DOOR
AS A POWER DOOR OPERATOR, BUT
DISABILITY IS A WHOLE LOT MORE
THAN WHEELCHAIRS.
I THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE
PRINCIPAL THINGS THAT'S FAILING
US IS THAT MOST OF OUR
REGULATION IS ONLY LOOKING AT
WHEELCHAIRS, THEY'RE NOT
THINKING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE
BLIND OR DEAF, OS OFT
PARTICULAR, WHO HAVE DEMENTIA,
ARTHRITIS, THE LIST GOES ON.
BECAUSE OF THAT HERE IS AN
ACCOMMODATION THAT WAS PROBABLY
PUT IN THERE... MY BEST GUESS IS
THAT DOOR IS HEAVY.
THEY'RE ASSISTING WITH OPENING
THE DOOR THAT'S HEAVY, BUT THE
CONFLICT IS THAT BECAUSE THE
SYMBOL IS A PERSON IN A
WHEELCHAIR, IT DOESN'T HELP
PEOPLE IN WHEELCHAIRS.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says DAVID, LET ME GET
YOUR TAKE ON... THERE ARE
LITERALLY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS'
WORTH OF PUBLIC TRANSIT UPGRADES
HAPPENING IN THE CAPITAL CITY OF
THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO RIGHT
NOW, STARTING WITH AN LRT GOING
IN 100 METRES NORTH OF THIS
STATION, THE EGLINTON CROSS
TOWN.
THERE ARE NEW SUBWAY STATIONS
COMING.
IT'S REALLY GOING TO BE QUITE
MAGNIFICENT.
DO YOU HAVE ANY UNDERTAKING OR
UNDERSTANDING FROM AUTHORITIES
THAT THEY ARE AWARE THAT WHEN
THEY BUILD ALL THESE NEW SUBWAY
LINES AND LRT LINES AND SO ON,
THAT THEY HAVE TO BE TAKING
DISABILITY ISSUES INTO ACCOUNT?

The caption changes to "Rendering the possibilities."

David says OH, THEY
ALL SAY THE RIGHT THING, AND
THEN THEY BUILD NEW
INFRASTRUCTURE, NEW SUBWAY
STATIONS, OR NO OTHER PUBLIC
TRANSIT, THAT ARE REPLETE WITH
ACCESSIBILITY BARRIERS.
LAST YEAR WE RELEASED A VIDEO...
YOU CAN LOOK UP AODA ALLIANCE
AND PUBLIC TRANSIT ON YouTube,
AND YOU'LL SEE THAT THOUSANDS OF
PEOPLE HAVE SEEN A VIDEO THAT WE
RELEASED THAT DOCUMENTS THAT THE
NEW SUBWAY STATIONS GOING UP TO
YORK UNIVERSITY AND BEYOND,
BUILT WITH OUR MONEY, WITH
FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL
TAXPAYERS' MONEY, ARE REPLETE
WITH ACCESSIBILITY BUNGLES.

Steve says GIVE US AN EXAMPLE.

David says WELL, I'LL GIVE YOU AN
EXAMPLE.
YOU GO TO YORK UNIVERSITY WHERE
I TEACH PART TIME.
THERE'S A NICE TACTILE PATH TO
HELP SAFELY GUIDE ME ALONG THE
SUBWAY PLATFORM.
IT WALKS ME RIGHT INTO A PILLAR.
LIKE, IT GUIDES ME INTO A
PILLAR.
I'LL GIVE YOU ANOTHER EXAMPLE.
THAT SUBWAY STATION HAS TWO EXITS.
ONLY ONE OF THEM HAS AN ELEVATOR.
THE OTHER ONE HAS AN ELEVATOR
SHAFT ROUGHED IN, BUT THEY NEVER
PUT IN AN ELEVATOR.
IF THE ONE ELEVATOR THAT'S THERE
FAILS, AND THAT CAN
UNPREDICTABLY HAPPEN ON TTC,
THAT MEANS IT BECOMES A
COMPLETELY INACCESSIBLE SUBWAY
STATION.
THESE ARE JUST, SADLY, TYPICAL
THINGS THAT GO ON.
WE'VE ASKED GOVERNMENT AFTER
GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING THE
CURRENT GOVERNMENT OF DOUG FORD,
INCLUDING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
OF JUSTIN TRUDEAU, TO REQUIRE
THAT NO ONE MAY USE OUR PUBLIC
MONEY TO BUILD ANY
INFRASTRUCTURE UNLESS THEY
ENSURE THAT IT IS ACCESSIBLE,
THAT YOU SHOULD NEVER USE PUBLIC
MONEY TO CREATE NEW BARRIERS
AGAINST PEOPLE WITH
DISABILITIES.
AND SADLY NEITHER LEVEL OF
GOVERNMENT HAS AGREED.

Steve says I WONDER IF PART OF
THIS IS THAT THEY THINK THAT
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE A
RELATIVELY SMALL AND
INSIGNIFICANT PART OF THE
POPULATION AND THEREFORE WHY BOTHER?
DO YOU WANT TO PUT THAT TO REST, DAVID?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

David says WELL, IF YOU LISTEN TO THE
RHETORIC FROM BOTH LEVELS OF
GOVERNMENT, FROM THE MINISTER
FOR ACCESSIBILITY FEDERALLY,
CARLA QUALTROUGH, AND FOR THE
MINISTER PROVINCIALLY, RAYMOND
CHO, BOTH OF THEM RECOGNIZE THE
OPPOSITE.
THERE'S MORE THAN TWO MILLION
ONTARIANS THAT NOW HAVE A
DISABILITY, OVER 6 MILLION
CANADIANS NOW HAVE A DISABILITY,
BUT EVERYBODY WATCHING THIS SHOW
EITHER HAS A DISABILITY NOW OR
SOMETIME BETWEEN NOW AND THE END
OF YOUR LIFE WILL GET A
DISABILITY.
WE'RE ALL BOUND TO IF YOU DON'T
HAVE ONE NOW.
I USED TO BE A SIGHTED PERSON.
I'M NOW TOTALLY BLIND.
IT HAPPENS OVER TIME.
I HAD PARTIAL VISION BEFORE.
AS YOU GET OLDER, YOU ACQUIRE
DISABILITIES.
IT'S ONLY NATURAL.
SO THOSE BARRIERS ARE NOT
HURTING A MINORITY OR A TINY
MINORITY, THEY'RE ACTUALLY
HURTING THE MINORITY OF
EVERYBODY.
AND I CAN'T IMAGINE HOW A
POLITICIAN IN THE YEAR 2019 CAN
SUCCEED IF THEY SYSTEMATICALLY
IGNORE THE NEEDS OF THE MINORITY
OF EVERYBODY.

Steve says THEA, YOU ARE DOING
SOMETHING WITH THE ROYAL
ARCHITECTURAL INSTITUTE OF CANADA.
WHAT IS IT?

Thea says YEAH.
THIS IS A REALLY COOL OPPORTUNITY.
I WENT AND DID THE BOOT CAMP FOR
THEIR CONFERENCE, AND SO MANY OF
THE PARTICIPANTS, THE
ARCHITECTS, WERE JUST SO
OUTRAGED TO DISCOVER, WE DIDN'T
LEARN ANY OF THIS, THAT THIS
SUMMER, WE WERE CONTACTED AGAIN
AND ASKED, WOULD YOU LIKE TO
HELP US PUT TOGETHER THE FIRST
POSTSECONDARY CREDIT COURSE FOR
ARCHITECTS AROUND ACCESSIBILITY.
NOW, A FEW WEEKS AGO, I JUST DID
A PRESENTATION AT THE IN REAL
LIFE CONFERENCE, IT STANDS FOR
ACCESSIBILITY, AND I WAS TALKING
ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF
TRANSFORMING EDUCATION.
BECAUSE WHAT HASN'T CHANGED?
WE'VE CHANGED OUR LAWS.
EVERY TIME WE'VE CHANGED OUR
LAWS, OUR EDUCATION HASN'T
CHANGED.
SO AT THE CONFERENCE I WAS
TALKING ABOUT ACCESSIBILITY, TO
REALLY BE HOLISTIC AND
UNDERSTAND THAT PEOPLE FACE A
LIFETIME OF CHANGING NEEDS AND
ABILITY, THAT WE REALLY HAVE TO
INTEGRATE ACCESSIBILITY INTO
EVERY ASPECT OF OUR COURSE.
WHO ARE WE DESIGNING FOR, TO
DAVID'S POINT ABOUT THIS IDEA
THAT WE'RE ALL AN ILLNESS OR AN
ACCIDENT OR AGING AWAY FROM
GETTING A DISABILITY, MEANS THAT
OUR COURSES HAVE TO BE
FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED FROM THE
GROUND UP.
I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THAT KIND OF
INVESTMENT, RETRAIN THE
TRAINERS, REWORK THE COURSES SO
THAT OUR GRADUATES DON'T KEEP
MAKING THESE SAME MISTAKES.
BUT THIS COURSE IS THE FIRST
COURSE THAT WE'RE GETTING A
CHANCE TO DO AND THEY'RE LETTING
ME DO WHATEVER I WANT WITH IT.

Steve says YOU'RE HAVING AT THEM.

The caption changes to "Thea Kurdi, @tweetdesignable."

Thea says I'M HAVING AT THEM.
WE'RE COVERING ABLEISM, WE'RE
COVERING BIAS, WE'RE TEACHING
THEM TO SEE BARRIERS AND DOING
BOTH THE PRACTICAL AND
THEORETICALLY CAL.

Steve says WITH ANY LUCK THE
PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE A LOT
SMARTER IN THE WAY THEY DESIGN
OUR CITIES IN THE FUTURE.

Thea says IT'S A STEP ONE.
IT'S GOING TO OPEN THEM UP TO
REALIZE THERE'S A LOT MORE FOR
THEM TO LEARN.

David says STEVE,
WE'RE ASKING THE PROVINCIAL
GOVERNMENT TO TAKE TWO STEPS,
AND THEY'RE BOTH STEPS WHICH
DOUG FORD IDENTIFIED WHEN HE
WROTE US WHAT HE WAS PREPARED TO
DO DURING THE LAST PROVINCIAL
ELECTION.
THEY'RE BOTH STEPS WITH THE
DAVID ONLEY INDEPENDENT REVIEW
HAS RECOMMENDED AND PREMIER
FORD'S OWN ACCESSIBILITY
MINISTER RAYMOND CHO SAID DAVID
ONLEY DID A GREAT JOB IN THE
REPORT.
THE TWO STEPS ARE TO UPGRADE THE
LEGISLATION SO THAT IT DOES
REQUIRE ACCESSIBILITY IN
BUILDINGS... AND BUILDINGS ARE
NOT THE ONLY ACCESSIBILITY
ISSUE.
I WANT TO MAKE THAT CLEAR.
THERE ARE A LOT OF OTHER
DISABILITIES WE FACE, BUT THAT'S
THE ONE WE'RE CHATTING ABOUT
NOW.
BUT IT ALSO REQUIRES DESIGN
PROFESSIONALS TO BE TRAINED IN
THIS AREA.
NOW, SADLY, LAST MAY, AN
OPPOSITION MOTION CALLING FOR
THE GOVERNMENT TO DO JUST THAT
WAS DEFEATED BY THE GOVERNMENT
AND WAS CONDEMNED BY THE
GOVERNMENT AS JUST RED TAPE, AND
OUR RIGHTS ARE NOT RED TAPE.
SO WHAT WE'RE DOING IS WE'RE
REACHING OUT TO PREMIER FORD.
WE'D LIKE TO MEET WITH HIM, WE'D
LIKE TO SIT DOWN WITH HIM, AND
TO TALK ABOUT THE LEADERSHIP WE
NEED HIM TO SHOW TO GET HIS
GOVERNMENT TO START TAKING
POSITIVE ACTION ON THIS ISSUE
BECAUSE FOR THE FIRST YEAR AND A
HALF IN OFFICE, WE'VE SADLY HAD
TO GIVE THEM A FAILING "F" GRADE
ON ACCESSIBILITY.
THEY'RE GOING EVEN SLOWER THAN
THE PREVIOUS KATHLEEN WYNNE
GOVERNMENT AND THAT'S NOT EASY
TO DO, I REGRET.

Steve says I HAVE 15 SECONDS
LEFT TO DO TWO THINGS: ONE IS TO
THANK YOU BOTH FOR COMING IN
TONIGHT.
THE SECOND IS TO MARVEL AT THE
PINS THAT YOU ARE WEARING HERE.
DAVID LEPOFSKY'S HAS A ORDER OF
CANADA, ORDER OF ONTARIO, AND
THEA, YOU GOT A PIN ON THAT I
DON'T THINK I'VE SEEN IN THE
STUDIO BEFORE.
DO YOU WANT TO SHARE IT WITH US?

Thea says SURE.

Steve says LOOK AT THAT, YOU'RE A
BIG STAR TREK FAN AREN'T YA.

Thea says I AM.

Steve says DOES THAT COMMUNICATOR WORK?

Thea says NO IT DOESN'T.

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Steve says I WAS GONNA SAY, YOU
CAN BEAM US OUTTA HERE RIGHT NOW
IF YOU WANT TO.

Thea says I'D LOVE TO.

The caption changes to "Producer: Steve Paikin, @spaikin."

Steve says DAVID LEPOFSKY AND THEA KURDI,
THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING IN
TO TVO TONIGHT.

Thea says THANK YOU SO
MUCH FOR HAVING US.

David says THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Watch: Fighting For A Barrier-Free Ontario