FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORONTO, March 21, 2012 — The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) today released for public feedback a Draft Framework for the Law as it Affects Persons with Disabilities. When completed, the Framework will assist in evaluating new or existing laws, policies and practices to ensure that they take into account the circumstances and experiences of persons with disabilities, and that they promote positive outcomes for these members of society within the context of society as a whole. The LCO anticipates that the final Framework will be of benefit to legislators, policy-makers, courts, advocacy organizations, community groups and service providers that deal with issues affecting persons with disabilities.
Feedback on the Draft Framework will be accepted until Wednesday, May 2, 2012. Based on the results of those consultations, the LCO anticipates releasing a Final Framework and Report in mid 2012.
The Draft Framework is accompanied by a Background Paper which sets out the principles on which the Draft Framework is based, and provides analysis of how these principles might be interpreted.
Persons with disabilities make up a significant proportion of Ontario’s population – over 15 per cent, according to 2006 figures – and the number and percentage of Canadians with disabilities has been steadily increasing in recent years. While in recent years there has been significant movement towards acknowledging the experiences of persons with disabilities and recognizing their rights, persons with disabilities nevertheless remain disadvantaged compared to their non-disabled peers. “A comprehensive legal framework to guide laws, policies and practices affecting persons with disabilities in all spheres of life is both essential and timely,” said Dr. Patricia Hughes, Executive Director of the LCO.
The LCO released a Preliminary Consultation Paper for this project in 2009, and has conducted extensive research, including funding six research papers by noted academics and experts. In the spring and summer of 2010, the LCO conducted extensive consultations with persons with disabilities and with organizations that serve, represent or advocate for persons with disabilities, in order to better understand the experiences of persons with disabilities with the law. In the late summer of 2011, the LCO released a Consultation Paper requesting feedback on key issues in the development of the Framework.
Launched in September 2007, the LCO, funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario, the Ministry of the Attorney General, Osgoode Hall Law School and the Law Society of Upper Canada, and housed in the Ignat Kaneff Building, York University, operates independently of government to recommend law reforms to enhance access to justice.
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Law Commission of Ontario