STANDING COMMITTEE ON OCIAL POLICY
COMITÉ PERMANENT DE LA POLITIQUE SOCIALE
Thursday 3 February 2005 Jeudi 3 février 2005
ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 2005
LOI DE 2005 SUR L'ACCESSIBILITÉ POUR LES PERSONNES HANDICAPÉES
KATHY LEWIS BRUCE RITCHIE
committee met at 0905 in the Four Points by Sheraton, London.
FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 2005
LOI DE 2005 SUR L'ACCESSIBILITÉ POUR LES PERSONNES HANDICAPÉES DE
of Bill 118, An Act respecting the development, implementation and
enforcement of standards relating to accessibility with respect
to goods, services, facilities, employment, accommodation, buildings
and all other things specified in the Act for persons with disabilities
/ Projet de loi 118, Loi traitant de l'élaboration, de la mise en
oeuvre et de l'application de normes concernant l'accessibilité
pour les personnes handicapées en ce qui concerne les biens, les
services, les installations, l'emploi, le logement, les bâtiments
et toutes les autres choses qu'elle précise.
Chair (Mr. Mario G. Racco): Good morning. All the members
are around here, but they haven't reached this room yet.
Note: A number of submissions have been deleted for brevity leaving
only the joint submission by Kathy Lewis and Bruce Ritchie.)
Chair: Both points are out of order. But I do appreciate
that you want to clarify or clear the record, and that's fine. We
did it. Can we move on to the next presentation, please?
LEWIS BRUCE RITCHIE
Chair: The next one will be Kathy Lewis and Bruce Ritchie,
I believe. Welcome. You can start your presentation any time. Please
proceed, Ms. Lewis.
Kathy Lewis: Good afternoon. You have two handouts from
us. We'll be starting with this one.
Chair: Yes. They are being given to us right now.
Lewis: My name is Kathy Lewis. I'm a member of the London
accessibility advisory committee and of the Ontarians with Disabilities
Act Committee. But I'm here today as an individual and as a parent
to speak to you about how Bill 118 can address the very serious
issue of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. I'm just going to very
quickly go through my recommendations that address the bill and
then I'm going to turn it over to Bruce Ritchie, who's really the
expert on FASD here. I've just highlighted my recommendations to
you for the bill.
of all, under "Interpretation" in the bill, your definitions of
disabilities are kind of mixed. Some of them are specific and some
are very general. We recommend that fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
be named specifically under the definition of "disabilities."
second thing I'd like to look at is under "Accessibility Standards"
in part III of the bill, under "Classes." We recommend that fetal
alcohol spectrum disorder be assigned a specific class designation.
Under contents of standards, because of the vast and unique numbers
of barriers that face individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder,
we contend that specific measures, policies and practices for the
removal of this cross-section of barriers must be set down to remove
and prevent barriers to those with FASD. Therefore, our recommendation
is that specific measures, policies and practices be set down to
remove and prevent barriers to those with fetal alcohol spectrum
"Standards Development Process," the heading "Consultation with
ministries": All areas such as health care, education, income supports,
youth, community and social services, housing and justice must work
co-operatively to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder from developing
initially, as well as identifying, removing and preventing barriers
to those already affected. Therefore, we recommend that all relevant
ministries pledge to work co-operatively toward the goals as outlined
by ourselves and the Canadian Paediatric Society.
subsection 8(4), "Composition of standards development committee,"
an expert in the field of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder be invited
by the minister to participate as a member of a standards development
special consideration be given to an invitation to an additional
fetal alcohol spectrum disorder expert from the aboriginal community.
turn our discussion over to Bruce Ritchie.
Bruce Ritchie: Actually, I have the task of condensing
103,000 documents and letters in the FASlink archives and the issues
of more than 400,000 people who use our services annually into a
10-minute presentation. I don't know if we can do that, but we're
going to try.
Chair: OK. Thank you.
Ritchie: I would like to congratulate Mr. Parsons on Sandy's
Law being implemented. Thank God it's there. Your work has been
fantastic. I'm delighted to see that.
individual's place and success in society is almost entirely determined
by neurological functioning. A neurologically injured child is unable
to meet the expectations of parents, family, peers, school and career,
and can endure a lifetime of failures. The largest cause of neurological
damage in children is prenatal exposure to alcohol. These children
grow up to become adults. Often the neurological damage goes undiagnosed
but not unpunished.
alcohol spectrum disorders are caused when a pregnant woman consumes
alcohol. It is 100% preventable. The Statistics Canada Canadian
community health survey in 2000-01 found that roughly 20% -- over
19% -- of girls ages 12 to 34 consumed five or more drinks on each
occasion, 12 or more times a year. In addition, another 32% of girls
ages 15 to 34 consumed five or more drinks on each occasion, one
to 11 times per year. Five drinks for a 100-pound girl causes a
0.25 blood-alcohol level. That's three times the legal limit; 0.30
usually gets somebody into the intensive care unit. Most girls are
two to three months pregnant before they find out, and it is likely
that at least 20% of the children in this province are exposed prenatally
to multiple binges of alcohol. Even low levels of consumption, as
low as one drink per week, have been shown to be adversely related
to child behaviour. There is no known safe level of alcohol consumption
you will turn to page 3 of the presentation, I'm not going to go
over that in any kind of detail, but I would like you to refer to
it after, when you have a few minutes. There are 66 items there
that are the results of prenatal alcohol exposure, that they can
include. They vary depending on the birth mother's age, health,
somewhat on genetics, nutritional standards, the amount she was
drinking, what the peak blood-alcohols were at what time when what
part of the baby was developing.
you turn over to page 4, you'll find a chart showing the effects
of alcohol as a teratogen on the baby. Those are the various aspects
of the child that are developing throughout pregnancy. The very
dark line in your copy shows where the most danger occurs to the
various things such as the brain, etc. Really, the brain is developing
from the third week, from just after the second week right through
to birth. Alcohol can affect a child even when it's being nursed,
after it's been born.
lower picture on that page, of course, is of two brains, one from
a normal six-week-old baby and the other from an FAS child, who
obviously passed away.
is grossly under-reported. The Canadian Paediatric Society states,
"Fetal alcohol syndrome is a common yet under-recognized condition
resulting from maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy."
only problem in this province is that Ontario medical schools do
not provide FASD diagnostic training to undergraduate physicians
in this province. This results in the denial of screening and diagnostic
services to thousands of children with FAS-related disabilities.
It's grossly under-recognized because the doctors don't know how
to diagnose it and they're not being taught by medical schools --
unless they specialize in addictions, and then the diagnoses can
girls get knocked up and the boys get locked up. They are followers,
easily misled, with little or no appreciation of consequences. Without
intervention, many ride the justice system merry-go-round or become
homeless street people. A great many of our street people are FASD.
They are required to compete in society but have been denied the
tools to do so.
FAE individuals, 95% will have mental health problems; 60% will
have disrupted school experience; 60% will experience trouble with
the law; 55% will be confined in prison, a drug or alcohol treatment
centre or a mental institution; 52% will exhibit inappropriate sexual
behaviour; more than 50% of males and 70% of females will have alcohol
and drug problems themselves; 82% will not be able to live independently;
and 70% will have problems with employment.
we have 20% of our children being exposed to high levels of alcohol.
When I look at the statistics for a major board of education, the
Lambton-Kent District School Board, which is pretty typical, 21%
of our students are identified and receiving services from the special-needs
Canadian centre on children's research says that 20% of Canadian
children have a serious mental health problem. This 20% number keeps
on coming up magically, and it seems to correspond with the volume
of alcohol that's being consumed during pregnancy.
to youth in care: Today, a very large percentage of the children
in CASs have been prenatally exposed to alcohol and it is a problem
to try and get them adopted. We do need a system of open adoption
in this province instead of closed adoptions. I have mentioned to
others that some agencies have been known to threaten termination
of a foster contract if the foster parents go to a non-agency doctor
and obtain a diagnosis of FASD. You see, without a diagnosis, they
don't have to disclose that the child has FASD. That's criminal,
in my opinion.
children have disabilities, but their biggest handicaps are the
battles we have to continue to fight to get the services they need.
would like to see the grade 10 literacy test scrapped completely,
or at least our FASD children given an exemption, because our FASD
children very often have difficulty passing it. Essentially what
happens then is that you are setting up a 25% failure rate and a
25% dropout rate after grade 10, fodder for the justice system,
a new slave class and increased stress on the social support systems
in this country. It is access denial of the worst type, denial of
access to a decent future, because these kids can't even get into
apprenticeship programs later on to learn to be mechanics. They
may not be able to write a great essay, but they may be able to
strip an engine and put it back together better than you or I can.
Why would you require that they do this? It makes as much sense
as asking somebody who's a quadriplegic to do the pole vault to
pass high school. It's just plain stupid.
Poor impulse control, failure to predict consequences and inability
to plan or manage money means they don't pay the rent or utilities
and they get turfed out on to the street and are homeless. It leads
costs $120,000 a year to house a young offender and $82,000 for
an adult offender. Some 60% to 80% of our prisoners are FASD and
going to jump over to one little comment I make a little further
on -- I'm not sure it's in your copies -- but a single adult, disabled,
in Ontario gets $11,160 a year maximum. If they are living with
their parents, it's cut by 24%. That's criminal. But let's really
get something straight here: If they live in poverty-stricken isolation
on ODSP, the government will give them between $8,500 and $11,000
a year. If they throw a brick through a store window, the government
will spend $82,000 a year to jail them and provide shelter, food,
clothing, recreation, education, medical services, companionship,
and the certainty that they will be taken care of. Frankly, as a
parent and taxpayer, I find that logic appalling, degrading and
disgusting, and I hope you do too.
final comment is that where services are lacking, omitted or not
available, our children, whatever their ages, die: frozen in a snowbank,
through suicide, through drug overdosing and complications, by being
on the street.
Chair: Thank you. One minute each, please.
Parsons: It's a difficult topic. Our son died a year ago
Saturday from FAS. As the brain is malformed intellectually, the
blood vessels within it are malformed. He left us.
individuals die young, whether it be from defects or suicide, or
we lock them up. We struggle to find a cure for cancer, for heart
disease, and we have the cure for FAS: Don't drink while you're
pregnant. It's as simple as that.
don't have a question. I want to applaud you. I absolutely applaud
you for what you're doing. Twenty years ago, FAS wasn't known. These
were "bad" kids. Now we know that we have to change, to accept the
way they are and to work with them. The more publicity, the better.
I just thank you. If there's anything I can ever do to help, I would
Ritchie: Thank you so much.
Chair: Mr. Jackson, any comments?
Jackson: Mr. Chairman, I have known Bruce for a while,
and I would like to yield my minute for him to add some more for
Chair: OK. Let me allow Mr. Marchese; then he can finish
Jackson: No, I'm giving him my minute.
Chair: I realize that. That's fine. I thought maybe he
would want to summarize after the questions, in case there is some
Jackson: No, I'm pleased to give Bruce another minute.
Ritchie: Thank you. I appreciate that.
the justice system, we spend $12 billion annually. The alcohol industry
contributes $3.2 billion annually. Half of the justice budget is
related to alcohol issues, whether it's FAS or car accidents or
whatever. But it's more than half of the justice budget alone. That's
$6 billion, and the alcohol industry is only contributing $3.2 billion.
you know, if you want to play, you gotta pay, so maybe they should
be paying the full shot and that money should be coming back to
the people they are affecting, quite frankly, because none of the
money is coming to the grassroots, none of the money is actually
getting to the people who are dealing with this face to face on
a day-to-day basis. We need your help.
Marchese: I just want to congratulate the both of you for
giving us this information. I learned it while we were dealing with
Ernie's bill. It's incredible how much of this behaviour we do not
understand in the educational system. I learned through that committee
process that doctors don't know how to identify it, generally speaking.
Special-education teachers certainly don't know how to identify
it, and regular teachers don't. I learned that those kids who have
fetal alcohol spectrum disorder can't explain why they do what they
do. So if that's the case, what do we do?
I want to say is that this issue doesn't fall into this bill, but
it could if we found a way to build it in, and I hope we find a
way to do that.
Ritchie: It honestly does fall into the bill, because you
can make FASD a listed disability in there, along with diabetes
Marchese: It's the same with autism; it doesn't fit. I
hope it does. But it can; I agree with you.
Ritchie: Well, then let's hope in heaven's name you will
actually do it.
Chair: We thank you very much for your presentation. We'll
move on to the next one, but thanks again.
Jackson: Just a point of information. Yesterday, when this
committee was in Niagara Falls, the distressing and disturbing news
was brought to our attention that Justice Donald Wallace had taken
a $300 minimum highway traffic fine for the abuse of a handicapped
parking space and discounted it and indicated some disturbing items.
I just wanted to circulate to the committee members a letter that
I have written to the Honourable Michael Bryant, asking him to appeal
this decision and to pursue it. In fact, it came to our attention
collectively through the processes of these hearings. I wanted to
publicly acknowledge, if I may, Mr. Chairman, both the deputants
who brought this to our attention, John Kis and Gordon Shapley.
I hope we'll get a swift response from the Attorney General that
we're going to talk to judges about not discounting the rights of
the disabled in this province.
Chair: The point has been made and we'll wait for a reply.
Any other comments before we adjourn the meeting? We will adjourn
this meeting until Monday next week in Thunder Bay.
committee adjourned at 1835.
Property Management Association SP-696
Ms. Kim Walker
Mr. Paul Cappa
with Disabilities Act Committee, London SP-699
Mr. Andrew Tankus
Society Ontario SP-701
Ms. Patricia Gallin
Kathy Lewis; Mr. Bruce Ritchie SP-703
and Professional Women's Clubs of Ontario SP-706
Ms. Sheila Crook
Ms. Doris Hall
Hearing Society, London SP-708
Ms. Marilyn Reid
Ms. Sandra Adams
James Hunsberger; Mr. Brad Ullner SP-710
Thomas Noble SP-711
J.J. Avery SP-712
David Murray SP-714
Lisa Klinger SP-715
COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL POLICY
Mario G. Racco (Thornhill L)
Khalil Ramal (London-Fanshawe L)
Ted Arnott (Waterloo-Wellington PC)
Ted Chudleigh (Halton PC)
Kim Craitor (Niagara Falls L)
Peter Fonseca (Mississauga East / Mississauga-Est L)
Jeff Leal (Peterborough L)
Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina ND)
Mario G. Racco (Thornhill L)
Khalil Ramal (London-Fanshawe L)
Kathleen O. Wynne (Don Valley West / Don Valley-Ouest L)
/ Membres remplaçants
Cameron Jackson (Burlington PC)
Ernie Parsons (Prince Edward-Hastings L)
Elaine Campbell, research officer,
and Information Services
3 February 2005
for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, Bill 118,
Mrs Bountrogianni /
Loi de 2005 sur l'accessibilité pour les personnes handicapées de
projet de loi 118, Mme Bountrogianni
Ms. Tracy Roetman
Catherine Linderoos SP-651
of London SP-653
Ms. Susan Eagle
Mr. Kash Husain
Mr. Grant Hopcroft
Sault Ste. Marie Accessibility Advisory Committee SP-657
Mr. Gerard Taylor
Ste. Marie and District Barrier Busters SP-658
Ms. Dorothy Macnaughton
Living Essex County SP-661
Ms. Dodie Wilson
Mr. Ray Jerome
John Travers Coleman SP-663
Guide Canada SP-666
Ms. Anne Robertson
David Dimitrie SP-667
of Kitchener SP-670
Ms. Margaret Sanderson
Marianne Park SP-671
Thomas Access and Awareness Committee SP-673
Mr. Stan Taylor
Sclerosis Society of Canada, London-Middlesex chapter SP-675
Ms. Bonnie Maas
Lorin MacDonald SP-678
Living Essex County SP-680
Ms. Lisa Raffoul
Bonnie Quesnel; Mr. Steve Balcom SP-682
Mr. Paul Reeve
Living London SP-686
Mr. Jim Hewett
Mr. Barry Bates
Patrick Murphy SP-687
and District Labour Council SP-690
Mr. Joe Wilson
Avril Rinn SP-692
Duncan Bruce Sinclair SP-694