Groundbreaking Fully Accessible All-Candidates Meeting in the Riding of Ottawa South



    OTTAWA, Sept. 18 /CNW/ - For the first time in a provincial election, a
series of All-Candidates meetings accessible to people with disabilities is
being held in three Ontario ridings. The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) in
partnership with CNIB, The Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario (CPA
Ontario) and the Ontario March of Dimes (OMOD) is hosting the second in the
series in the riding of Ottawa South on Tuesday, September 25.
    Following the success of the first meeting in the riding of Don Valley
West (Toronto) on September 17, candidates in Ottawa South have been invited
to address their constituents with the provision of sign language interpreting
in American Sign Language and Langue des signes québécoise, real-time
captioning/computerized notetaking in French and English, assistive listening
devices, deaf-blind intervening services, and attendant services.
    Nearly 1.5 million voters in Ontario have a disability. Although there
have been many positive changes to the election process, barriers remain that
prevent the full and equal political participation of all people before they
go to the polls.
    "People with hearing loss - indeed people with any disability - are often
excluded from the democratic process as there are so many barriers in directly
accessing their candidates," said Gary Malkowski, CHS's Special Advisor to the
President, Public Affairs. "Many candidates' offices don't have TTYs (text
telephones) and interpreters and captioners are rarely, if ever, provided for
direct interaction."
    In addition to the All-Candidates Meeting, CHS has partnered with The
Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario (CPA Ontario), CNIB, and the Ontario
March of Dimes along with the Government of Ontario to prepare Count Us In:
Removing Barriers to Political Participation, a series of three reference
guides developed to increase accessibility in the 2007 provincial election
campaign.
    The guides provide information about how candidates, campaign organizers
and those who support them can increase the engagement and participation of
Ontarians with disabilities by removing barriers to political participation.
The first two Guides can be accessed at the Ministry of Community and Social
Services website at
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/english/pillars/accessibilityOntario/planning/e
lection.html. The last guide will be available soon after.

    
    Details of historic All Candidates meetings:

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Date/Time/
    Riding   Contact                    Location        Candidates
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Don      Karen Madho                Sept. 17        Christine Elliot (PC)
    Valley   Karen.madho@cnib.ca     7-9 PM          Adrian Walker (Green)
    West     Tel: (416) 486-2500        CNIB Centre     Kathleen Wynne
             x.7685                     1929 Bayview    (Liberal)
             TTY: (416) 928-2545        Avenue          Mike Kenny (NDP)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ottawa   Philippe Ramsay            Sept. 25        TBA (PC)
    South    pramsay@ottawa.chs.ca   7-9 PM          John Ford (Green)
             Tel: (613) 521-0509        R.A. Centre     Madeleine Meilleur
             TTY: (613) 521-0634        2451            (Liberal)
                                        Riverside Dr.   Edelweiss D'Andree
                                        Outaouais       (NDP)
                                        Room B
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Welland  Warren Rupnarain           Oct. 4          Rod Bodner (PC)
             wrupnarain@dimes.on.ca  6-8 PM          Mark Grenier (Green)
             Tel: (416) 425-3463        Brock           John Mastroianni
                                        University      (Liberal)
                                        MacKenzie       Peter Kormos (NDP)
                                        Chown Complex
                                        Rm. Pond Inlet
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    About CNIB - www.cnib.ca

    CNIB is a nationwide, community-based, registered charity committed to
public education, research and the vision health of all Canadians. CNIB
provides the services and support necessary to enjoy a good quality of life
while living with vision loss.

    About the Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario (CPA Ontario) -
    www.cpaont.org

    CPA Ontario is a provincial organization dedicated to assisting people
with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities to achieve
independence, self reliance and full community participation.

    About the Ontario March of Dimes (OMOD) - www.marchofdimescanada.ca

    Ontario March of Dimes is the largest community-based rehabilitation and
advocacy organization for people with physical disabilities in the province.
Our goal is to enchance the independence and community participation of people
with physical disabilities every day through a wide range of programs and
services across the province.

    About The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) - www.chs.ca:

    The Canadian Hearing Society is the leading provider of services,
products, and information that remove barriers to communication; advance
hearing health; and promote equity for people who are culturally Deaf, oral
deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing.




For further information:

For further information: Philippe Ramsay, Regional Director, CHS,
pramsay@ottawa.chs.ca, Tel: (613) 521-0509, TTY: (613) 521-0634


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