Combating Disability Discrimination by Regulation

A Report on Preliminary Findings

by Dr Laverne Jacobs, University of Windsor, Faculty of Law

June 1, 2015

Little research has been done on the development of standards and regulations although it forms a fundamental aspect of both the lawmaking process and administrative law.

One branch of the research project, Combating Disability Discrimination by Regulation , has as its principal aim to interview individuals and organizations dedicated to disability issues (ODDIs) to learn about their experiences with government consultation in the development of laws affecting persons with disabilities and their assessments of the effectiveness of the process. We are still in the process of conducting interviews. In this brief report, we present some of our preliminary findings. While we have used the AODA (the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005) as a central common denominator, the consultations that have been brought to us through participant interviews go beyond the AODA and its development of accessibility standards.

Our first sample was populated with organizations in Ontario that had participated in the AODA Transportation Standard Setting consultations or development in some way.

The organizations varied in size from a few staff members to over 100 staff members, and in age from 3 years to 76 years. Many had constituents representing a variety of different disabilities.

Among other things, each organization was asked how it participated in the consultation-orally, through paper or in some other way. They were also asked whether there was a difference between what they expected the consultation to be like and what actually took place, whether they believed the process was sound and how it could be improved, and whether they found that the process was effective for having their voices heard.

“[O]ur experience, and it creates some frustrations is that there’s almost too much consultation, you know – we’re telling you time and time again and it’s just sitting on a shelf so no one is actually doing anything with it.” (Commentary by one study participant)

A few of the key themes that we have heard in our interviews regarding ways to improve consultations include:

  • provide some sort of remuneration for those providing their expertise
  • organize in advance and thoroughly so that there is appropriate outreach to all members of the disability community
  • provide feedback

As we continue with our interviews, we are interested in your views. If you are an organization dedicated to disability issues or an individual who has participated in a consultation with government regarding the development or review of a law affecting a person with disabilities, and would like to participate in the study, please contact us ( ). Interviews are confidential.

Your experience is invaluable. Working together to uncover the advantages and challenges to productive collaboration between government and persons with disabilities in law development can be a positive way to promote social change.

Laverne Jacobs, BA(Hons), LLB, BCL, PhD is a Canadian law professor at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law and was the 2013-14 Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at UC Berkeley. She researches in the areas of administrative law, and law, disability and social change.

Funding for this research has been generously provided by the Fulbright Foundation and by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

To find out more about this research project, please visit:

Combating Disability Discrimination by Regulation – Research Study here.




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