What happens now?
Without doubt 2019 has been a milestone year in that a singular achievement - the
passage of the Accessible Canada Act – became reality. It was a remarkable
achievement in many ways. It not only expressed a federal government commitment to
address the needs of persons with disabilities in important and meaningful ways, but it has changed the nature of discourse about supports for persons with disabilities in this
country and where we need to look to foster real progress in the drive for full inclusion of
persons with disabilities in Canadian Society.
The New Focus and the New Discourse
It has been Every Canadian Counts’ belief since it was formed some 4 years ago that if
we are to make meaningful progress in building a truly inclusive society for persons with
disabilities, we must turn our attention and efforts to the federal level. The passage of
the Accessibility Act showed that that belief was not misplaced. In addition, however,
with Canada having signed and ratified the International Convention of the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities - the ICRPD - it is to more important than ever to turn our eyes
toward the federal government to ensure the commitments under the Convention are
honoured and acted upon.
Fortunately, the ability of the voice of the disability community to be heard at the national
level has never been stronger. This is because the passage of the Accessibility Act has
gone along way to build the national advocacy culture necessary to see it through. It is
something ECC has been trying to foster for our four-year existence – a united and
strong national voice. It is time to make that voice heard as a demand for universal
disability insurance – a Medicare for persons with disabilities. This we believe is the
next discourse, and the next step. In the words of Bruce Bonyhady, the inspiration and
founder behind the Australian National Disability Insurance program, “I remain convinced
that the NDIS will become the benchmark for disability policy globally” unless of course
we do it better!
The Every Canadian Counts Coalition
So, What to do Now?
Continue or join in your support of our efforts to provide a national voice for the national
disability insurance public policy option. Help us raise the funds and otherwise provide the
resources needed to advocate, co-ordinate, understand and educate. This can be financial or
in-kind support and could include:
• Re-affirmation of your support if you are already a partner/supporter
• Help circulate our postings, reports and our ideas
• Engage your members, clients, parents, caregivers in the discussion
Only one thing will see National Disability Insurance become a reality, a unified and loud
national voice with one objective in mind – a universal program of insurance that provides
essential supports for persons with disabilities throughout their lifetime. Nothing less is
acceptable any longer.