This Explanatory Note was written as a reader’s aid to Bill 182 and does not form part of the law. Bill 182 has been enacted as Chapter 16 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2016.
The Bill proclaims March 21 in each year as Ontario Down Syndrome Day.
An Act to proclaim Ontario Down Syndrome Day
Assented to June 9, 2016
Down syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement in which a person has three copies of the 21st chromosome. Approximately one in 800 babies born in Ontario have Down syndrome. People with Down syndrome experience varying degrees of intellectual delays and lower muscle tone. Some people with Down syndrome can experience cardiovascular and gastro-intestinal difficulties, usually in the first year of life.
People with Down syndrome have faced discrimination in Ontario and around the world. Half a century ago, people with Down syndrome were denied the right to an education, were given inadequate health care and most were placed in institutions, where their life expectancy was approximately 25 years.
People with Down syndrome are people first and share the same human rights as every other citizen in Ontario.
Advances in medicine and social movements challenging discrimination have improved the life experiences and expectancy of people with Down syndrome. People with Down syndrome are now living into their sixties and seventies. People with Down syndrome are active, contributing citizens of the Province of Ontario. Children with Down syndrome are attending mainstream schools and are learning to read and write alongside their peers. Young adults with Down syndrome are attending college and living independently, and some are gainfully employed.
Despite advances, many people with Down syndrome living in Ontario continue to face challenges. Misguided and outdated attitudes about the abilities of people with Down syndrome can result in low expectations, discrimination and exclusion, resulting in communities where children and adults with Down syndrome cannot integrate successfully.
The research is clear that people with Down syndrome benefit from early, co-ordinated, inclusive and targeted interventions to support their development and foster success. Furthermore, where children and adults with Down syndrome or other disabilities are given opportunities to participate, all children and adults benefit, and environments of friendship, acceptance, respect for everyone and high expectations are created.
Proclaiming the 21st day of March in each year as Ontario Down Syndrome Day provides a dedicated occasion in Ontario to celebrate the abilities of people with Down syndrome and to share positive stories, raise awareness, highlight research and provide information, which is essential for providing positive life outcomes for all people with Down syndrome living in Ontario.
Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
Ontario Down Syndrome Day
1. March 21 in each year is proclaimed as Ontario Down Syndrome Day.