Author Archive - Christopher Lytle MA CDS
Looking at an Ontario Human Rights Commission discussion paper released in 2001, the aspects that make what is called intersectionality so appealing to a modern view of identity is that it does not pigeon hole a person as being represented by a sole code ground, or identity that is legally protected against discrimination.
We need to take a step back and reassess our assumptions that preclude those who are marginalized. We need to get a sense of how we can think inclusively while building roads to view human diversity as more than a product of a singular association or identity. The concepts of accommodation, accessibility and inclusion that an organization uses have to be robust enough to pay respect to the fact that people are a system of identities that continuously flow and change.
When creating policies that make statements about accessibility, attempts should be made to view disability as a social system instead of a schedule of impairments in order to align an organization’s forward movement with principles of Human Rights. Also, the time is long past due for an evaluation of how intersecting identities can create unique accessibility and accommodation needs.
Dispensaries are currently undergoing a series of raids as TPF personnel are cracking down on store fronts and businesses that are working outside the law. The surge in organizations selling cannabis and cannabis products might well be egged on by the looming eventuality that cannabis will either become decriminalized or legalized in the near future.
Accessibility is a human rights issue. When we look at how it is enacted through the Ontario Human Rights Commission, their online trainings, and their policy papers, we can plainly see that this is the case.
Hegemony in the context of disability works on a level where systems are negotiated by society’s institutions. The ability of an institution to accommodate new demands in terms of accessibility is an example of the institution’s flexibility. However, there are institutions that are so ingrained in history and social context that they prove to be almost unmovable (Omi & Winant, 1980). This is how disability and hegemony interact at the simplest level, but on another level there is a grid of interlocking systems that cater to the category of disability, as well as perpetuate discrimination in its current form. These systems of societal input inform and naturalize dialogues of discrimination.
Even before the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, there was real thought being put into the potential development of a Canadians with Disabilities Act. It began with the structuring of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and has found its permanence with other large scale developments such as the development of UN policy and focus on the inclusion of people with disabilities.
I am guessing that there are a few business owners who are scratching their heads with regards to new information concerning an AODA “Audit Blitz” for retail organizations. In a field pot marked with consulting companies one would figure that the use of terminology that strikes fear into the hearts of businesses is a little unnecessary. Granted, accessibility is a crucial part of the business landscape in Ontario, but scaring the bejesus out of business owners is counterproductive.
Consultation and feedback processes should not be underestimated. Doing away with the old systems of decision making provides for a more thorough engagement with those groups that would represent gaps in policy and operations.
There is an accessibility consideration that I have been thinking about for quite some time which isn’t covered under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is the accessibility of transition. It was a thought that started around the same time as when the new subways started to show up in Toronto, and the height and width became a new barrier for some people who rely on transit to get to and from work.
It would seem that there is some movement towards a more motivated government with regards to leadership and the AODA…
At this point in time, after having seen the release of the Mayo Moran review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act(AODA), it is important to center our focus on how accessibility is created within a market place. From the outset there have been organizations and businesses that had a tepid response to the AODA because it automatically brings to mind the mythical beast that is the concept of undue hardship.
Looking at American policy for dealing with veterans and employment can raise questions about how we treat Canadian veterans with disabilities in the context of modern policy. There are still large gaps between what the intended goal of the New Veterans Charter is, and what is occurring to young veterans who are given lump sum payouts. Although this dynamic exists, the goal of this article is to take a different approach and, at the very least, start some discussion about the junction of veterans with disabilities.