IG news Update,
For more than 42,000 people, Wheel-Trans has become a lifeline. However, there is growing concern among long-time customers, who have received notices that they will have to re-register for the vital service.
Adam Cohoon, 42, has been using the paratransit service for almost 25 years. He is currently in the process of re-registration.
Cohoon calls it ‘outrageous’, adding that the burden of proof has been placed on his shoulders.
“It’s like we’re filling out a job application,” he told Global News. “We’re trying to – in this weird, sick way – [put] Our worst foot is forward.
When Kohoon logged into his account recently, there was a notice near the top of the page. It advised that all customers who qualified for Wheel-Trans prior to 2017 “must re-register under the current Wheel-Trans eligibility process.”
He is currently awaiting a decision on his application.
Users are divided into three categories: conditional, unconditional and temporary.
The re-registration process begins with an online application, which is to be filled by the transit user and their doctor. Those answers are then evaluated by a team, which then selects a service category that it thinks best fits.
Cohoon said, “I’m waiting to see if I get to go in for a personal interview, or whether they’re going to try to make me use the traditional system or make me a conditional user.”
When asked why there is such a push to get users to re-register, Cameron Penman, head of Wheel-Trans, told Global News it all boils down to provincial legislation.
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“We’re trying to be as fair as we can,” Penman said. “We have to enforce the law. It is imperative for us to do so.”
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was passed in 2005. It aims to develop, implement and implement standards to achieve accessibility in the province by 2025.
“All customers who were not registered under these new eligibility requirements…who signed up prior to January 1, 2017, we have now started – on a voluntary basis – kindly asking them to register again. “
Penman says more than 8,000 customers have voluntarily re-registered so far. There are just under 11,000 that are still there.
David Lepofsky, a disability advocate and president of the AODA Alliance, calls the TTC’s definition of equity for people with disabilities ‘a slap in the face’.
“It is not fair to make a person who has had a lifetime of disability, and who has already proven that he is disabled, go and prove again to a bunch of transportation bureaucrats that his lifetime of disability is magical. hasn’t really disappeared,” Lepofsky said.
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