The Every Canadian Counts Coalition hopes that the summer has you and yours vaccinated or soon to be. From this comes hope and optimism as summer continues to unfold. We hope that all has been well with yours.
This newsletter is soliciting your engagement on two fronts. The first relates to the public consultation on the Inclusion Action Plan in the hope that you can help shape the agenda ahead. The second looks to yours and others participation in the Rising Youth Program by taking advantage of the funding opportunity it affords.
As always, our final sections present our most recent activities and developments. We focus on our involvement with the Canadian Disability Benefit discussions and our participation in the Disability and Work Group, in the Rising Youth and the Disability Confidence in Finance Programs.
Finally, and once again this issue we ask for your support for our Stories Project and for financial support.
Addendum: At time of writing the Coalition has put its name forward to be the lead organization for a program initiative of Economic and Social Development Canada entitled “DIAP Funding for Community Engagement: A proposal for partnership”. Stay tuned.
Disability Inclusion Action Plan Engagement: Help shape the agenda
As you may know the federal government launched on June 4 a consultation process on how to improve the lives of Canadians with disabilities. The proposed plan has a focus on employment, poverty reduction and fostering inclusion - all very laudable objectives.
If you wish to participate in this consultation, please consider this first.
Nowhere in the structured questionnaire of this engagement does it address the issue of the chronic shortfall in disability supports and services in Canada. At Every Canadian Counts we are of the view that while this issue is not being addressed now, it will have to be in future. Simply, it is too significant a failure of the system because without necessary supports all the objectives proposed for this plan will be much harder to achieve. Hence, it may not be the agenda now, but it will be, especially if some of us can make it clear that we view this a priority if lives are truly to be improved.
Here are our answers to the questionnaire – answers that address the issue of lack of disability supports and services can be found here.
If you or anyone you know agrees with this priority, I would encourage them to answer the questionnaire along similar lines (or copy and paste text if it works for you).
Note that addressing disability supports as a priority issue will not change the current plan. But what it will do is shape the agenda going forward if it is clear from enough voices that this issue is of great importance.
Issues and Actions
The Canadian Disability Benefit
On July 28 Every Canadian Counts participated in the Canada Disability Benefit Roundtable established by the Minister for Social Inclusion in order to answer two questions:
- What are the current gaps and challenges that Canadians with disabilities face in relation to existing benefits? In what ways could this new benefit address those challenges?
- In designing the new disability benefit, what potential considerations and risks need to be kept in mind, including potential impacts on other benefits and supports as well as incentives to work? Jonathan Marchand, a Quebec disability advocate and ECCC Board Member represented the Coalition. Our message was a simple one: income supports lose their benefit if the funds need to be spent on essential support services, be these prostheses, linguistic aids, therapies and other supports including the siphoning off of such funds to institutions charged with the care of a person. The provision of essential supports is the prerequisite for truly effective income supports.
Actions and Engagements
Disability and Work Group on Reforming Government Programs. This group is one of several under the Disability and Work Conference structure under the oversight of the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW). The Every Canadian Counts Coalition has submitted a proposal to lead a panel at the
next December virtual conference under the conference theme:
• Ensuring secure and comprehensive supports for persons with disabilities, and Sub-theme:
• Promoting security of comprehensive supports for persons with disabilities as an essential foundation for employment.
Panel convenor would be Jonathan Marchand, with proposed panel participants from Coalition partners Canadian Association of the Deaf, Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance, Brain Injury Canada, and Neurological Health Charities Canada.
The Disability and Work in Canada 2021 (DWC 2021) Conference will be held virtually this year on Wednesday, December 1st & Thursday, December 2nd and Monday, December 6th & Tuesday, December 7th, 2021.
Rising Youth. As noted in the last Newsletter Rising Youth is offering another round of funding opportunities for youth.
Please register for our information session for August 19 at bit.ly/ECCxRisingYouth
The Coalition continues to work with the DCIF (Disability Confidence in Finance), an initiative administered through the Canadian Council of Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW). Many of you may have received our request in the last Newsletter to support their efforts to identify potentially relevant resources to inform the DCIF toolkit. The next quarterly meeting is scheduled for Thursday Sept 16, 2021.
The Stories Project
As noted in the last Newsletter this Stories Project is intended to tell the stories of the challenges persons with disabilities face in their day to day lives because they simply do not have the supports they need and/or what life could be like if essential supports were available both for persons with disabilities and/or their caregivers.
PLEASE TELL US YOUR STORIES. IT IS IMPORTANT.
Why are they important? In Australia such a Report was instrumental in getting the Australian public behind the creation of national disability insurance. It can be found here.
Send your story to; firstname.lastname@example.org . If you would like us to send you a basic template for thoughts and ideas to help put this story together, we would be happy to send it your way.
ECC expresses appreciation
The Coalition wishes to take this opportunity to thank the Ottawa Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental disabilities (OCAPDD) for the support it has given us over the years and to this day. OCAPDD has provided financial support and administrative services and has sponsored the recruitment of our two summer student employees, Daksh Agarwall and Raissa Amany. OCAPDD’s contribution has been invaluable, and in that regard we offer a special thanks to the Executive Director, David Ferguson.
Every Canadian Counts is a non-profit organization that has operated thanks to a small group of dedicated volunteers for the last 5 years. But as is evident here, we are growing and spreading, and with
that, is the need for more resources.
Also, and perhaps more importantly, disability insurance, as a public policy option, is gaining more traction and the need to engage the broader public becomes more imperative. That too requires resources.
ECC is looking for donations to help us do all this. Please visit our website and www.everycanadiancounts.com and hit the DONATE button on the top right. Thank you for your time, attention and continued support in our efforts to ‘End the Wait’.