Since the onset of the pandemic, systemic challenges have been exposed in terms of the support and services offered to people living with a disability in Ontario.
The need to modernize service delivery and change the scope of practice is vital for our diverse community and SCIO has been active in leading opportunities and facilitating partnerships that address these gaps and solicit positive change.
We rely on our community’s collective voice to amplify our needs and guide knowledge transfer. Your lived experience is paramount to our cause and is essential in decision making and policy change.
SCIO has been working with activists and partners to highlight four areas of interest to the SCI Community:
Over the last year, SCIO has been working with over 100 people with an SCI and committed stakeholders to introduce a modern way of facilitating public coverage for intermittent catheters and other related supplies. SCIO’s steering committee submitted recommendations to the 2020 Ontario Fall Budget last week to advance our efforts. While we hope this facilitates a positive impact, we must continue to inform and provide expertise to policymakers on the importance of bladder supplies and the consequences when the appropriate supplies are not prescribed or affordable.
Two easy ways to involved today:
In the coming days, we will be releasing a comprehensive policy report that will provide the government with a path forward to modernize public coverage. We will be sharing this report soon and will be requesting your feedback. Please join the movement and participate today!
One major lesson learned from Covid-19 is the importance of a robust Attendant Services sector in Ontario. Personal Support Workers are the fabric of our health care system. These unsung heroes deserve recognition for their support of people with disabilities including better compensation, opportunities to advance their careers, and sustainable employment. We need better regulations, policies, training, and incentives to encourage future generations to choose Attendant Services as a career.
Last November, the Ontario Government passed a regulation which allows municipalities to permit dangerous e-scooters on roads, sidewalks and other public places via rental ride sharing. It ignored serious safety and accessibility concerns documented by Ontarians with disabilities. Rental e-scooters, strewn in public places, are mobility barriers for people with disabilities. Silent e-scooters, racing at 24 kph, driven by uninsured, unlicensed, untrained riders as young as 16, will endanger the physical safety of people with disabilities and others on sidewalks and other public places.
In January 2020, eleven major community organizations collaborated to write an open letter to the Ontario Government (including mayors, councils and municipalities), urging them not to permit electric scooters on roads, sidewalks or other public places through rental ride-sharing.
This regulation is currently under review with Toronto City Council. We have prepared a toolkit that can help you participate in this opposing campaign.
- How to Create an Effective Email/Letter/Open Letter
- How to find your City Councillor, MPP, MP, Ward and Riding
- Action Kit: Protect Torontonians with Disabilities from the Dangers of Electric Scooters
- Media Nation radio interview with David Lepofsky – November 3, 2020
Toronto Raging Grannies against e-scooters:
In Toronto, people with disabilities are especially concerned about the dangerous proposal to allow riding of stand-on electric scooters on sidewalks – and allowing them to be dropped anywhere, causing a serious tripping hazard.
The Toronto Raging Grannies say NO to e-scooters on our sidewalks & streets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCJCA-IHljo
We encourage those in Toronto to take action today! Other supporters across the province can contact their municipal councillor and inquire about the inaccessible and dangerous e-scooter rental pilots in their local community. For more information, email email@example.com
Access to Accessible Parking in Ontario
The availability of accessible parking is a long-standing issue impacting many people with disabilities across Ontario. The Accessible Parking Permit Program (APP) was initiated in 1990, and its current procedures are outdated as they offer little available access to those living with some form of physical challenge. Effective and efficient solutions are needed to ensure a streamlined, consistent parking permit system throughout Ontario. A 2017 document issued by the Minister of Government &Consumer Services states that there are over 729,000 APP’s in circulation in Ontario. The program is presently administered by Service Ontario, and Service Ontario is responsible for the policy that governs the program, as well as issuing the permits. While the program is administered by Service Ontario, municipalities are responsible for determining the rights and APP holder may have in their jurisdiction. This makes it confusing for the permit holder/user when travelling from city to city to understand which laws apply to that jurisdiction. Law enforcement agencies in each municipality are responsible for applying fines and enforcing the municipal rules of APP use.
Issues to be Addressed
- Ontario needs a standard practice across all municipalities on the use, equality and procedures of parking permits for people with disabilities.
- End inappropriate distribution and use of parking permits.
- Ontario needs a plan to ensure parking permits are available to those who truly need them, particularly in response to demographic trends such as the ageing population.
Suggested Changes Include
- A total revamping of the current system, having the program administered and run by one party or group for a more cohesive function.
- Having a panel requiring those requesting a permit must go before, ensuring the legitimacy of each request. • Have renewal of the permit in two- year intervals to better identify those who do not require the permit long-term.
- Somehow link the permit with an alternative form of identification that will immediately cancel the issued permit when permit holder is deceased.
- Colour code the permits: Red- for those confined to a wheelchair or in need of walking aid. Blue- for those walking with an impairment. Green- for all temporary permits issued. This will help parking enforcement better identify temporary permits and those that have expired.
- Have the policies and procedures of the permit governed unanimously from municipality to municipality making for a more consistent trend for the permit holder to follow.
- Offer more designated spaces.
The APP program is a vital component for those living with a disability to function when travelling throughout our Ontario cities. Furthermore, the space offered in these designated spots is an integral part of the program. When using a wheelchair, it is imperative that the size of each parking space be sufficient to accommodate the equipment. While those walking with an impairment may need a space close to the facility being visited, a wheelchair’s only solution are the few spots designed for them. Maintaining one’s independence is a goal for many. For those living with a disability, this independence can make a huge difference in their confidence and self-esteem. That freedom is found by thousands of individuals who make use of the APP program. It is a vital program in need of a facelift to better serve the individuals it was initially designed to provide for.
If you agree with these recommendations, fill out the form to endorse. All endorsements will be shared with the Ontario Government. If you wish to share comments, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will update our brief to the Ontario Government.