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Voices

Disability Questions for the 2019 Federal Election

By Chris Gaspar

With the 2019 Canadian federal election on October 21st, Canadian voters turn their attention to the issues that matter to them, and whether the candidates running for office will be able to help them meet their needs. Candidates often make promises to the voters, but what steps will they take to fulfill those promises?

Like any other group or demographic within Canada, the communities that include people with disabilities have their own needs and wishes that they would like to see our elected officials work on, in order to feel represented and included within Canadian society.

Include-ME.ca, powered by Spinal Cord Injury Canada, asked over 100 disability‐related organizations to submit two questions that they would like to ask the candidates while they’re on the campaign trail.  All the questions are relevant and important. After reviewing the list, two questions stand out:

Will there be a national strategy to improve access to services for indigenous persons with disabilities?

For indigenous individuals with disabilities, it can be even harder to be heard. Many live in rural, remote communities that don’t provide access to the services they need. Even basic needs like health care and education for disabled people, are not available in these remote communities, and some people can’t afford to travel where those services are commonplace.

Over half a million Canadians with disabilities are able to work but are unemployed due to barriers in the workplace. This leads to poverty, poor social outcomes, and dependence on costly public programs. What is your commitment to ensuring people with disabilities have access to barrier‐free employment and training opportunities that meet their needs and provide an adequate income?

Many people with disabilities still face barriers to employment. Either the workplaces are not physically accessible, or potential job seekers encounter discrimination from employers who believe a person with a disability can’t possibly do the job.

There are many qualified people with disabilities that are not given the opportunity to show others that they are fit to work and would be a great asset in the workplace. They deserve secure jobs to make a good living, just like anyone else. It’s important for candidates in government to realize this.

These are just two of the important questions we might want to ask the Canadian government. Hopefully the candidates have taken the time to learn about these issues and use this knowledge to help Canadians with disabilities.

For more information on Include-ME.ca, or if you would like to take a look at the full list of questions, you can visit their website.

Visit Your Move, Ontario to ask your local MP, in just 3 easy steps, to discuss their plan to improve accessibility.

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