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1. Welcome, and thanks for joining us for our final #CripTheVote chat. Please introduce yourself!

Hi my name is Carlos Gomes and I'm hoping to be Hamilton's new mayor this coming elections day.

2. What does it mean to say that something is “accessible”?

Availability to all PERIOD

3. What is the importance of making Hamilton more accessible?

No one knows what the future holds for us, one day we can be the person complaining about senior & disabled people. The next day we could be one of those elderly or disabled people ourselves. Who has the right to know what someone else need? No one has that right because we can only know what we need. So if we were in their shoe, had lived through their experiences, what would we want? To be treated with the same dignity and respect they treat is with. But that's only in my opinion. If we have people who are not living up to their job requirements I will find suitable employment for them or I will find someone else to do their job.

4. In your opinion, what are the most urgent changes Hamilton needs to undertake, in order to meet AODA requirements for accessibility?

I'd simply make a mandate stating new operating policy, where all bus will have a toll free number where people can address their concerns. I will be invoking a 2 strikes rule, if drives get a second strike after being inform of the first strike, they WILL be replaced.

5. Plans to make city facilities barrier-free have been an important topic of discussion in this election.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

How do you plan to finance the retrofits that are needed?

I already previously stated that all government services all be available on Saturdays and holidays.

6. What steps need to be taken in order to improve the accessibility of Hamilton's infrastructure?

Do you consider these changes to be an urgent priority?

I plan to order a mandate to all existing organizations to make all their facilities accessibility to by summer 2019 and all new construction to include mandatory accessibility to all. If any organization fails to comply, the city will take upon themselves to carry out order with all costs made payable but failed organization. A pentialty a minimal set amount will be attached to their invoice.

7. Public events can significantly impact the accessibility of an urban environment.

What are some measures that can be implemented both to protect access to public spaces during city events, and to ensure the events themselves are accessible?

Just answer this question

8. Accessibility isn't just about built environments. If elected, how would you work to make Hamilton's public services more accessible?

We need to educate our youth while their still in school, knowledge is power. The more knowledge we have the more that can achieved.

9. If elected, how would you work to ensure that Hamilton's private businesses meet AODA accessibility requirements?

[No response provided]

10. Accessibility is often talked about as a 'seniors' issue'.

How might this limit the way we approach its implementation?

Can you think of any areas where considering the needs and lifestyles of younger disabled people might be especially relevant?

[No response provided]

11. Disabled people are, by nature of our lived experiences, experts in planning for accessibility – and yet accessibility initiatives are often led by non-disabled people, firms and organizations.

What role do you see disabled residents playing in the process of designing a more accessible future for Hamilton?

I plan to listen to the people of hamilton, I encourage anyone and everyone to come to city hall and tell me want you want to changed in Hamilton.  Let me know what your concerns are, I will explain to why or not I can implement those needs.

12. What does the phrase “conflicting access needs” mean to you? What approaches can be used to address this planning challenge?

All people are born equals with the same rights obligations. There no such thing as "conflicting access needs" we all need and deserve the same thing!


Image Description: Disability Justice Network of Ontario's Logo is on the bottom left. On the right there is a heading that reads "Online Town Hall". Under this there is more text that reads, "Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Friday, October 19th @ 6:00pm EST. Follow the discussion @djnontario. Join in using the #CripTheVote and #HamOnt tags."

Good evening everyone, and welcome to our third and final #CripTheVote chat in the lead-up to the Hamilton municipal election.

The #AODA is a law that was passed by the Ontario government in 2005, "to develop, implement and enforce standards for accessibility related to goods, services, facilities, employment, accommodation and buildings" by 2025.

Accessibility is usually understood to mean the design of products, spaces and services so that disabled people can use them.

Designing for accessibility is crucial to the protection of disabled human rights - without access, disabled people cannot participate in society.

Access barriers can prevent disabled people from receiving healthcare, equal education, equal housing, and due process in court.

There are a number of different approaches to designing accessibility. #UniversalDesign suggests that a design should "meet the needs of all people who wish to use it".

This approach also focuses on the #CurbCutEffect: the notion that designing for a marginalised population benefits everyone. "Universal design is good design."

Transcript: "Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. An environment (or any building, product, or service in that environment) should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. This is not a special requirement, for the benefit of only a minority of the population. It is a fundamental condition of good design. If an environment is accessible, usable, convenient and a pleasure to use, everyone benefits. By considering the diverse needs and abilities of all throughout the design process, universal design creates products, services and environments that meet peoples' needs. Simply put, universal design is good design." National Disability Authority, 2014.

A limitation of this approach is that it tends to seek a single, best design solution, to accommodate all users.

When universal design projects are led by non-disabled people, this often means that in fact, only a narrow range of access needs are considered and addressed.

It also neglects the fact that conflicting access needs exist.

Another approach to designing accessibility is inclusive design, which seeks to address diverse access needs, and to create flexible, customisable design solutions.

This approach also has its limitations: like universal design, inclusive design is often framing as designing for disability, and is often led by non-disabled people, implicitly frames access needs and disabled bodies and minds as "other", and displaces disabled people from society and economic prosperity.

Alternatively, as proposed by The Disabled List, designing with disability acknowledges the creative expertise afforded by lived experiences of disability and seeks to centre disabled expertise within design processes.

From a disability justice perspective, #accessibility must be broader than the design of specific, individual objects, spaces or services. It must become a framework for building a society within which disabled people are free to be.

This evening's chat will be focusing on how cities can become more accessible for the people who live in them.

We have prepared one set of questions for the mayoral candidates for #HamOnt, and another set of questions that apply broadly to disabled people, regardless of where they are currently living.

To make it easier for people to follow the discussion, the @djnontario account will only be tweeting out the chat questions, and retweeting the responses from the candidates, while the town hall is taking place.

To see the full discussion, including other people's responses, you can follow the #CripTheVote hashtag, and set the page to ‘Latest’.

Image Description: Twitter screenshot showing the top of the Twitter search page for #CripTheVote, with the “Latest” tab selected.

Please remember to add the #CripTheVote and #HamOnt to your own tweets, so that others can see what you are saying!

If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: “A1 [your message] #CripTheVote #HamOnt”.

We would also like to ask that you reply to the tweeted questions, rather than quote-tweeting them, as this can make the conversation easier to follow, and therefore more accessible, for some people.

We are aware that Twitter chats are not accessible for everyone. For those who cannot participate, we will also be updating the DJNO blog, at, with a summary of each discussion, the day after the event.

This town hall is scheduled to be 120 minutes long.


Questions for the community

1. Welcome, and thanks for joining us for our final #CripTheVote chat. Please introduce yourself! [6:00pm EST]

2. What does it mean to say that something is “accessible”? [6:10pm EST]

3. Why is accessibility important? [6:20pm EST]

4. What are some of the most significant barriers to accessibility that you encounter on a day-to-day basis?

How do these barriers affect you?

5. Exorbitant costs are often cited as a challenge to making spaces and services accessible.

What are your thoughts on this?

6. What do you consider to be the most urgent changes needed to make your city more accessible?

7. Discussions of accessibility often focus on built environments. What are some non-physical barriers you've encountered when trying to access public services?

8. For disabled people living in urban environments, public events can pose a barrier to access – both in terms of accessing the events themselves, and the ways they can impact access to public spaces and services.

What are some things cities need to consider when planning large events?

9. Inaccessible businesses are a challenge many of us have encountered.

What are some ways your city's government could help to ensure private businesses meet accessibility requirements?

10. Accessibility is often talked about as a 'seniors' issue'. How does this impact the way businesses and governments tend to approach planning for access?

What are some areas where considering the needs and lifestyles of younger disabled people might be important?

11. Accessibility initiatives are often led by non-disabled public servants and designers. How would you like to see your city engaging disabled people in its planning?

12. We've talked about why accessibility is important. But we also live in an imperfect and often unjust society. So let's be cynical for a moment.

How would you 'pitch' the concept of accessibility to your city?

How might it benefit them to become leaders in this area?

1. Welcome, and thanks for joining us. Please introduce yourself!

Hello, My name is Michael Pattison, but you can call me homegrown Mike, guy smiley or Happy Mike. I am 46 years old and a born and raised Hamiltonian.

2. The planned LRT line for Hamilton has become a prominent issue in this election.

How do you anticipate this project would impact access to transit for disabled people living throughout the city?

I believe the LRT is a positive for those with accessibility issues. I have heard too often from those in need, being left behind at current bus stops due to overcrowding. I applaud the HSR and City of Hamilton for making our modes of transportation fully accessible but obviously more work must be done to include everyone to the best of our abilities. My only push after the fact is that all sidewalks and roadway accesses must be cleared between stops, as the distance between stops will have to be addressed to match the needs of all riders. Matched with more frequent bus service or bare minimum, clear paths and routes for all those with mobility issues.

3. Opponents of the LRT project have proposed redirecting this funding to improve Hamilton's existing infrastructure.

If elected, how do you plan to address needed upgrades to the city's infrastructure?

This comes down to your interpretation of infrastructure. If a mass investment of money is to flow through Hamilton, we must address the needs of our future, setting a clear and concise path for growth and opportunity for everyone who calls Hamilton home. I would like to see investments made on how we flow traffic through our city. Our roads budget takes quite a significant chunk of our city’s active capital. We need to make smart decisions that are investments and not pure spending initiatives. Transit must be addressed no matter what is handed down by the province. If we are doing LRT then do It, invest any savings we can muster, to future our transportation needs. If LRT is off the table then Electric buses must become the norm for our transportation fleet.

4. In your opinion, what are the most significant aspects of Hamilton's infrastructure that need to be improved in order to increase the city's accessibility for disabled residents?

Sidewalks are of a great concern. It is not just providing ramps at intersections, it is keeping them clean during winter. We must improve the designs of our sidewalks to accommodate very near futures. We must have a plan that really does initiate and endorse public mobility for those with wheelchairs, mobility scooters, bikes and pedestrians. I have heard form those who use assisted devices that the non-flat surface of a sidewalk can lead to extreme pain and discomfort. I believe we must start with a plan that separates all pedestrians from traffic while taking all Hamiltonians views into account. Smart planning leads to smart investments which translates to Happy taxpayers!

5. Monday's #CripTheVote chat focused on gentrification and access to affordable housing.

What role do you think public transit might play in changing the impact of gentrification?

If we engage the public and investors, with a plan that has potential to solve issues it will further us along to getting it right the first time. Gentrification is a double- edged sword. Some will benefit, while some will pay the consequence. If we had our consortiums who wish to build along our arterial roads (or LRT tracks) we could envision the housing that will become available. If areas will include the building of Accessible/Affordable/ Geared to Income/ Inclusive housing, we can take even more steps forward around those locations at the time of building. I wish money (taxes) were not an issue and I would clearly state that all communities should be fixed and made to house all the aforementioned parties. Hamilton is an old city and we can only afford at this time to focus on anywhere new construction is taking place. The mandate is simple, do everything we can to make our city compliant to the Accessibility Act and encourage local owners to invest in their properties to solve these issues once and for all. Transit is a must for all new builds. Transit must be working and servicing an area before it is completed.

6. Hamilton's area rating system charges city residents different tax rates, depending on the level of transit service in their ward. Disabled adults in Canada are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled adults. They also frequently rely on public transportation to be able to participate in their communities and access needed services.

How might the area rating system impact disabled residents differently than it does non-disabled residents? If elected, do you have any plans to change the implementation of this system?

When it comes to quality of life revolving around transit, I have a first-hand experience of being isolated as a renter. I was living in Mt.Hope and had to walk for roughly 25-30 mins to catch the bus. At the time I was not driving and fully felt the effects of being at the mercy of myself. Those 2 years were not easy and my first experience of really respecting the overall importance of public transit. I have been a regular transit user since and must say that my quality of life has risen from the experience.

7. Disabled people who rely on specialized transit services, such as Hamilton's DARTS, often report that the services are unreliable, offer limited availability outside of normal business hours, and must be booked so far in advance as to be inaccessible.

If elected, do you have any plans to improve the availability of specialized transit services?

We need to address the overall needs of our city regarding all levels of subsidized transportation. I believe that the detail is in the contracts. I believe in protecting workers while trying to find new parameters of overall service delivery. We need to open the dialogue across the board to completely understand the needs, wants and sometimes desires of every constituent. We can come up with a solution that can be manifested to work for all Hamiltonians. Being raised with a Grandmother who was a regular user of Darts, I know some of the frustrations found in long term planning with the added pressure of everyone and thing being on time/schedule. Finding a service delivery system that is adaptive on the fly might be our best solution moving forward but we won’t know till we put our best minds forward. Great ideas will prevail.

8. Accessibility of transit services depends not only on routes and vehicles, but on transit operators, and their awareness of and sensitivity to disabled people.

If elected, how would you work to ensure Hamilton's transit operators are adequately trained to support the needs of disabled riders?

Compassion training is first and foremost. Reading the Charter of Rights and Freedoms should be mandatory for all public employees. Next, I believe that natural care and compassion will lead and separate those in the field as natural leaders and should be rewarded through promotion and or special responsibilities.

9. What role, if any, do you envision for disabled people in planning an inclusive and accessible for transportation in Hamilton?

If elected, how would you work to bring this about?

I believe all people should be represented in the forming of all modes of transportation and beyond. Having representation on Boards and Committees is a no brainer. If we could only approach all public decisions this way.

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