The LCO believes that public participation is central to the law reform process and is committed to involving interested groups and individuals, both legal and non-legal, and the public generally in its projects. The LCO aims to engage interested persons and organizations to participate and provide input into the projects at various stages of each project.
The LCO is committed to consulting with the people whose lives are the most affected by the law reform recommendations that will be included within the Final Report. The LCO is aware of the importance of considering not only how law reform might work in theory but also how recommendations for reform will affect the lives of those most affected – in this case, the lives of persons with disabilities. As a result, the LCO wants to hear stories and experiences of the law from the point of view of persons with disabilities in a forum that encourages and is respectful of the participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities.
The LCO recognizes that persons with disabilities are experts on their own lives and on the barriers they encounter in seeking equality, dignity, autonomy and inclusion. The LCO is committed to facilitating the participation of persons with disabilities in the law reform process by initiating discussion on the law in this area. The LCO also recognizes the considerable diversity within the disability community, and aware of the importance of seeking out and hearing a variety of voices and perspectives.
The LCO conducted preliminary in-person consultations with 15 key stakeholder organizations during the summer of 2009 in order to identify key issues and concerns in relation to this Project.
As well, in the summer of 2009, the LCO released a Preliminary Consultation Paper aimed at considering initial issues arising from the various approaches to, and definitions of, disability. The responses to this Consultation Paper have helped to shape the LCO’s approach to the next stages of the Project.
In the spring of 2010, the LCO held 17 focus group discussions in London, Ottawa, Toronto, Owen Sound and Thunder Bay. The consultations helped the LCO better understand how the law works or does not work for persons with disabilities, as well as identifying key themes and issues that arise in the relationship of persons with disabilities with the law.
The LCO met with 102 persons who live with various disabilities and 60 representatives from organizations working with or on behalf of persons with disabilities.
The LCO would like to extend a special thanks to the following organizations and people for helping to put the focus group consultations together and ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment for persons with disabilities:
• ARCH Disability Law Centre – Theresa Sciberras
• Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario – Lenny Abramowicz
• ATN Access – Vicki Mayer
• Autism Society of Ontario, Adults with ASD – Patricia Gallin
• Canadian Hearing Society – Gary Malkowski
• Canadian Injured Workers Support Group – Steve Mantis
• Canadian Mental Health Association, London & Middlesex – Mike Godin
• Canadian Mental Health Association (Ont. Division) – Michelle Gold
• Canadian Mental Health Association, Grey-Bruce – Claude Anderson & Brenda Hodgson
• Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH), Empowerment Council – Lucy Costa
• Citizens with Disabilities, Ontario – Pat Seed
• Clinique juridique francophone de l’Est d’Ottawa (Vanier Community Centre) – Eric Cabana
• Community Activist – Sam Savona
• Community Legal Services (Ottawa-Centre) – Daniel Gagnon
• Council of Blind Canadians – John Rae
• Confederation College, Disability Services – Jeff Howie & Jennifer Peltonen
• Ethno-Racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario (ERDCO) – Sehr Athar & Rihanna Kirji-Khalfan
• Grey Bruce Community Legal Clinic – Glenda Devlin
• Income Security Advocacy Centre – Naomi Ives
• Independent Living Centre, London & Area – Pamela Quesnel
• Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic – Beth Ponka
• Learning Disabilities Association of Canada – Tracy Fawdry
• Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario, London – Diane Wagner
• N’Amerind Friendship Centre – Laurel Day
• Northwestern Independent Living Services (NILS) – Renee Brady
• OPTIONS – Ana Vicente
• Persons United for Self-Help in Northwestern Ontario – Ron Ross
• Queen Street Community Health Centre, Peer researcher and Outreach worker – Jim Meeks
• REACH Canada – Paula Agulnik
• South Ottawa Community Legal Services – Gary Stein
• Table provinciale francophone pour la personne handicapée – Denise Leroux
• Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Centre – Kathy Spence & Ernie May
• TTC Accessibility Committee – Sam Savona
• University of Ottawa, Community Legal Clinic – Louise Toone
• Vanier Community Service Centre – Michel Gervais
• WOTCH Community Mental Health Services – Katheleen Ellis
Based on the results of the consultations, the Funded Research Papers and the LCO’s internal research, the LCO released and broadly distributed a Consultation Paper on September 7, 2011. Consultations closed at the end of November 2011. On March 21, 2012, the LCO released an Interim Report with Draft Framework for comment. The feedback period closed on May 3, 2012.