For immediate publication
Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today filed applications at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario against Hamilton, Sudbury and Thunder Bay transit providers, on behalf of transit riders with a vision disability. The OHRC took the action after these Ontario public transit providers failed to implement plans to call out all stops for bus passengers.
In 2002, the OHRC first told the transit sector, through its Consultation Report, Human Rights and Public Transit Services in Ontario, that lack of stop announcements on transit routes was a barrier for persons with a vision disability. In July 2007, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario released its decision in Lepofsky v. Toronto Transit Commission ordering the TTC to begin announcing all stops on buses and streetcars that summer. Soon afterwards the OHRC contacted public transit authorities across the province, to ensure transit operators were aware of their obligations under Ontario’s Human Rights Code, OHRC policy and recent human rights case law.
In 2008, all 38 public transit providers in Ontario assured the OHRC that plans to call all stops on all routes were underway, and that the service would be in place by the end of the year. However, this year, the Commission learned that several transit providers are not meeting their commitments.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission is asking the Human Rights Tribunal to order Hamilton, Sudbury and Thunder Bay transit providers to begin calling all stops on all routes within 30 days. In addition, the OHRC wants those transit providers to train their staff on the importance of making transit accessible, monitor progress and report publicly on measures they’ve taken.
“We have worked with transit providers for many months on this issue,” said OHRC Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall. “Unfortunately, a handful of operators are not accommodating the needs of persons with a vision disability. We hope all of Ontario’s transit providers will quickly meet their commitments so that all transit riders can equally access public transportation in their communities.”
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Senior Communications Officer
Communications and Issues Management