March of Dimes Canada responds to the Government of Ontario Budget 2008

    - Budget provides some movement for disability sector - $16 million to
    ensure accessibility

    TORONTO, March 27 /CNW/ - The disability sector saw modest spending
commitments in the 2008 budget.
    "Overall, we see a positive direction in this budget, with the retention
and, in some cases, the extension of funding for critical programs for
Ontarians with disabilities and those with lower-income," says Andria Spindel,
President and CEO of March of Dimes Canada. "Yet two critical points were
missed in the media coverage."
    One highlight not picked up by the media was the allocation of
$16 million (or $4 million per year for four years) as part of the
government's commitment to the enforcement and compliance of the Accessibility
of Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) standards. In fulfilling its
commitment to the new accessibility laws, the Ontario government will be
spending $16 million to ensure that Ontario's businesses will comply with the
new regulations to become accessible for Ontarians with disabilities.
    As Finance Ministry officials explained, the new Customer Service
Standard, for example, requires the compliance of upwards of 360,000
businesses. Registering, monitoring and ensuring that businesses are complying
with the regulations set out in the Customer Service Standard will require
additional administration and information management.
    "While some have argued that this law contains no teeth for enforcement,
I would say that this represents a tangible and measurable action," explains
    Spindel also expressed concern about funding levels meeting actual
delivery costs.
    "We were hoping that the provincial funding for homecare and Independent
Living workers throughout Ontario would reflect the actual costs of delivering
such services. Currently, the 1.5% funding by the Province does not meet the
annual cost-of-living increase for such critical social services," Spindel
points out.

    March of Dimes Canada is a nationally registered charitable organization
providing support services to people with disabilities, their families and
caregivers across Canada.
    For more information about March of Dimes Canada and to learn more about
its Government Relations and Advocacy work please call 1-800-263-3463 or visit

For further information:

For further information: Ruth Kapelus, Public Relations Coordinator,
March of Dimes Canada, 10 Overlea Blvd., Toronto, ON, M4H 1A4, Phone: (416)
425-3463 ext. 7254, Toll Free: 1-800-263-3463 ext. 7254, Fax: (416) 425-1920,,; or Steven Christianson,
Manager, Government Relations, March of Dimes Canada, Phone: (416) 425-3463 x
7326, Toll Free: 1-800-263-3463 x 7326, Fax: (416) 425-1920, E-mail:

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