CNE reverses decision – will grant free access to people with disabilities

In response to yesterday’s announcement that people with disabilities would no longer be receiving free access to the Canadian National Exhibition, I wrote a letter to the General Manager of the CNE to request that the Canadian National Exhibition rethink this policy and consider the City of Toronto Disability, Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee, whose mandate is:

“… provides advice to City Council on the elimination of barriers faced by people with disabilities and acts as a liaison with external bodies on barriers to participation in public life and to the achievement of social, cultural and economic well-being of people with disabilities. The committee also provides advice to City Council about the requirements and implementation of accessibility standards and the preparation, implementation and effectiveness of accessibility reports as required by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).”

Families and individuals on limited incomes save up all summer to attend the CNE; this policy change would exclude them from the end of the season fun.

I am thrilled to hear that the CNE has decided to reverse their decision, and to grant free entry to people with disabilities for the 2016 season.  You can read the CNE’s letter here.

I will be asking the CNE to request the advice of the Disability, Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee, and Uzma Shakir, Director of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Human Rights at the City of Toronto during their public consultations this fall.

You can read my letter written yesterday to the CNE General Manager below.

 

July 6th 2016

Virginia Ludy
Canadian National Exhibition
210 Princes’ Blvd Press Building,
Exhibition Place Toronto, ON M6K 3C3

Dear Virginia,

Re: Change in Gate Procedure for Guests with Disabilities

I have only become aware of the recent change of Canadian National Exhibition Association (CNEA) policy regarding the change in admissions policy for persons with disabilities.

I understand that the CNEA board had hired a consultant who had provided advice to the Province of Ontario on the AODA. I would like to make the Board aware of the City of Toronto Disability, Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee, whose mandate is:

“… provides advice to City Council on the elimination of barriers faced by people with disabilities and acts as a liaison with external bodies on barriers to participation in public life and to the achievement of social, cultural and economic well-being of people with disabilities. The committee also provides advice to City Council about the requirements and implementation of accessibility standards and the preparation, implementation and effectiveness of accessibility reports as required by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).”

While CNEA is not a direct City of Toronto agency, it operates on land owned by the city and in positive partnership relationship with the city.

I would like to request that at the meeting scheduled for Thursday July 21, that the CNEA Board consider requesting the advice of the Disability, Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee, and Uzma Shakir, Director of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Human Rights at the City of Toronto regarding the previous and current policy.

Sincerely,

Paula Fletcher
City Councillor
Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth

cc Mike Layton – Councillor Ward 19
Kristyn Wong-Tam – Chair of the City of Toronto Disability, Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee
Uzma Shakir – Director of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Human Rights at the City of Toronto

 

Download this letter as a PDF