Here are helpful tips
for preparing your written and/or oral presentation on Bill 107 to the
Legislature's Standing Committee on Justice Policy. Everyone's contribution
to these hearings makes a real difference. We hope that these tips will
be useful for presenters from the disability community and from any other
individual or group interested in advancing the protection of human rights
2. HOW PUBLIC
The Legislature has
assigned the Standing Committee on Justice Policy the job of studying
and holding public hearings on Bill 107, the controversial bill that would
weaken the Human Rights Commission. The Standing Committee will hold public
hearings in London, Thunder Bay and Ottawa between August 8 and 10, 2006.
It will also hold public hearings in Toronto some time after September
25, 2006. Toronto dates have not yet been announced. It is expected that
the Standing Committee will post the list of the presenters at the hearings
on its website as these are finalized by the Standing Committee.
It is too late to
sign up for the hearings outside Toronto. However, it is not too late
to sign up for the Toronto hearings. See the contact information for signing
up below, or visit:
The hearings are open
to the public. You can attend them even if you don't plan to make an oral
presentation. It's important for as many people as possible to attend
the hearings, even if they don't make a presentation. This is to show
that the public is interested in and concerned about the bill.
The Standing Committee
will include MPPs from all three political parties. The governing Liberals
have a majority of the seats on the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee
will be chaired by a Liberal MPP. Even though certain MPPs are assigned
to this Standing Committee, other MPPs may substitute for the regular
members from time to time. For example, when the Standing Committee goes
to a particular city, there may be MPPs from that city who substitute
in at the hearings.
The opposition NDP
and Conservative parties are on record as being very concerned about Bill
107 as weakening human rights protection in Ontario. Their MPPs can be
expected at the hearings to raise these concerns. The Liberal Party is
on record as supporting this bill. However, It is still possible to persuade
Liberal MPPs as a group, or one at a time, that this bill has serious
problems. That persuasion can occur during the formal hearings. It can
also occur if you speak to MPPs informally, either during breaks or in
At the hearings you
may be given 20 or 30 minutes to present. You should check with the Standing
Committee directly to find out whether you have been chosen to present,
and how much time you are allocated. See the contact information below.
During your presentation,
you can use all your allotted time to deliver your presentation, or you
can leave some of your time for the MPPs to ask you questions. If time
is left for questions, the MPPs divide this among the three parties.
Some presenters welcome
MPPs' questions because it gives a chance for the presenter to clear up
any areas of confusion. Others prefer to use their whole time to make
their presentation, and not to leave any time for questions. This is because
the MPPs' questions may be more in the nature of long speeches that end
with a short question.
After the hearings
are finished, at some future date in the fall, the Standing Committee
will conduct Clause-by-Clause debate of the bill. This is where the Committee
decides what amendments to make to the bill. Any of the three parties
can propose amendments. Because the liberals have a majority of the seat
son the Committee, they control which amendments are passed.
TIPS FOR BOTH ORAL AND WRITTEN PRESENTATIONS
Whether you are making
an oral or written submission or both, consider these tips.
- The Legislature's
public hearings are the way for members of the public like you to take
part in the democratic process of making new laws. This is not an intimidating
formal process. It's a relatively relaxed public meeting that allows
Ontarians to share their ideas with their elected politicians. Don't
be nervous. Enjoy it. You can make a real impact!
- Don't assume that
this bill is a "done deal." After the public hearings, the
Government can decide to make substantial changes to the bill.
Moreover, after the
bill finishes up in Standing Committee, the Government can decide to bring
the bill back before the legislature for a debate and vote on third Reading.
That is the final vote needed for it to pass into law. If there is enough
opposition to a bill at public hearings, the Government may instead decide
not to bring the bill back before the Legislature for Third Reading. It
may instead decide to go back to the drawing board. By doing this the
Government could come up with a more appropriate way to improve Ontario's
human rights system than the flawed Bill 107.
You should decide
what you ultimately want to achieve by your presentation before you get
wrapped up in the details.
- It's helpful to
divide both your written and oral presentation into these parts:
identify who you are. If you are an individual, explain why this
topic concerns you. If you speak for an organization, explain what
the organization does and what expertise it has in the area of human
the Standing Committee your "bottom line" in a summary
form. If you think it would be better for the Government to start
from scratch to draw up a new bill, tell them right up front. If
you think it needs major amendments, say that.
what's wrong with Bill 107.
what kinds of changes you would like made to the bill. Think at this
point not in terms of the bill's legal language, but what results
you would like the amendments to achieve in the real world. For example,
you might say that the bill should be amended to preserve the right
of every human rights complainant to have the Human Rights Commission
investigate their case. Don't be afraid to suggest amendments. The
Attorney General has already indicated the bill needs to be amended.
e) If there is specific wording in the bill you would like
to see changed, feel free to point this out. However, don't be worried
if you don't want to get into that kind of detail.
- If you agree with
the general positions put forward in the AODA
Alliance's draft submission on Bill 107, a convenient short-cut
for you is to advise the Standing Committee in your oral and/or written
presentation that you endorse that draft submission. You can find it
It is hoped that
the AODA Alliance will have its finalized brief prepared and made public
by the end of August. In the meantime, feel free to use the AODA Alliance's
draft submission if you wish.
Limit your suggestions
to things which fall within the scope of this bill. You may have other
beefs with the Government that don't pertain to this bill. However
the Standing Committee can't deal with these here.
that the MPPs on the Standing Committee have a detailed background
in human rights issues. These hearings may be the first time some
of them are being introduced to these issues.
If you're from
a smaller community or rural area, be sure to point out the distinctive
issues that discrimination victims face in those areas as contrasted
with those who live in the big city.
tips for oral presentations:
- You only get a
short period of time to present. It will go by very quickly. You should
identify in your own mind the 3 or 4 major points about Bill 107 you
want to drive home. That is all you'll be able to accomplish in the
short time you have.
- Get right to the
point. Make your introduction short and to the point. Otherwise you
will find that you have spent half of your allotted time just explaining
who you are, introducing your presenters and stating what your organization
- Hit the important
themes in your oral presentation. You can give more background and detail
in your written submission.
- Use your own experiences
to illustrate your concerns. e.g. Have you been a victim of a human
rights violation? What has your experience with the system been? Will
this bill address your concerns with the current system? Will this bill
help the people your organization represents? Could you afford to hire
a lawyer if you had to take your own case to the Tribunal? Would you
feel comfortable investigating your own complaint?
- Use your presentation
to bring to life the real world experience of people who face human
rights discrimination. Remember that the MPPs will be hearing many presentations,
one after the next, for long hearing days. To retain their attention,
paint a vivid, human picture for them of why this bill can't go ahead
in its current form.
- Don't spend any
time stressing things you know the Standing Committee already knows.
You don't need to convince the Standing Committee that discrimination
is a bad thing. They all agree with this. You also don't need to spend
time explaining how backlogged the system now is. All three parties
know this, and have spoken out about the need to speed up the system.
The issue the Standing Committee is dealing with is whether Bill 107
will make things better or worse. That is the topic that is best for
you to address.
- If you're presenting
later in the hearings, after the MPPs have heard several presentations,
you might wish to quickly state that you agree with certain points that
others have repeatedly made, list them quickly, and then address key
points you want to add.
- It is strongly
recommended that you get to the hearings as early as possible on the
day you are presenting. Watch the presentations that come before you.
See what others have said so you don't eat up your time repeating them.
Listen carefully to questions MPPs have been asking other presenters.
- Remember, your
audience at these hearings is elected MPPs. Remind them of how important
this issue is to voters like you. Let them know it will be an election
issue in the upcoming 2007 provincial election.
- To prepare your
oral presentation in advance, try to summarize to a family member or
friend in 1 minute what you are asking the Standing Committee to do
to fix the bill. If you don't like how it sounded, try again!
- Decide how much
of your allotted time you want to spend making your presentation, and
how much time if any you want to leave at the end for MPPs to question
you. (See above).
- If an MPP asks
you a question for which you don't know the answer, or aren't sure,
remember that this is not a test! You should feel free to say that you
don't know. MPPs know many presenters aren't fully versed with all the
technical details of the bill they are considering. You can also offer
to get back to the Standing Committee with an answer afterwards e.g.
by later sending in a written note to the Standing Committee using the
- Bring others to
accompany you during the presentation. If you're speaking for an organization,
bring as many staff, board members and volunteers as you can. The show
of support by others in the room can be as important as the presentation
itself. Remember - these are politicians you're speaking to
mean votes. They want to keep the voters happy!
- Let your local
media know in advance of your upcoming presentation, and about the hearings
generally. Don't assume the media knows about these hearings and plans
to cover them. Urge them to attend. Even if the media doesn't attend,
phone them beforehand to tell them what you will say or call them afterwards
to explain what you did say in your presentation. Urge them to report
5. TIP FOR ORGANIZATIONS
MAKING AN ORAL PRESENTATION
- You might want
to bring along a written summary of what your organization does, who
all the presenters are in your delegation, and their job titles or backgrounds.
Bring at least 20 copies with you to hand out. By giving out this printed
information to the Standing Committee at the start of your presentation,
you can let the MPPs quickly read it over to themselves, rather than
taking up precious time giving long introductions.
TIP FOR INDIVIDUALS MAKING ORAL PRESENTATIONS
- If you're doing
a presentation as an individual, don't feel that your message will have
less force than presentations made by organizations. Some of the most
powerful and memorable presentations are made by individuals speaking
for themselves. If you're speaking as an individual, remind the MPPs
that you are symbolic of many thousands and thousands of other voters
in their ridings.
7. ADDITIONAL TIPS
FOR YOUR WRITTEN SUBMISSION
Even though it's too
late to get on the list to make an oral presentation in London, Thunder
Bay or Ottawa, if you haven't signed up already, you can still send in
a written submission if you are from one of these cities or from anywhere
else in Ontario. Written submissions will be accepted through until the
end of Committee hearings i.e. until at least the end of September. You
can send in a hard copy or email in an electronic copy, using the contact
- We encourage you
to send in a written submission to the Standing Committee, even if it's
just a 1-page short note. For example, you might wish to just let the
Standing Committee know in writing if you have concerns about Bill 107.
- There are no formal
rules on what your written submission needs to include or on how it
is to be structured.
- You can make your
submission as short as you wish. Some suggest the shorter submissions
are more likely to get thoroughly read.
- Be sure to include
your contact information in the brief in case the Standing Committee
wants to follow up with you or ask further questions.
NEED FOR ACCOMMODATION:
If you have a disability
that requires you to have more time than the time allotted to you, or
another form of accommodation, let the Standing Committee know in advance.
FOR THE STANDING COMMITTEE
on Justice Policy
c/o Anne Stokes, Clerk
Room 1405, Whitney Block
Toronto, ON M7A 1A2