Question # 2 Attitudes and Awareness
RE: How can the Government of Canada raise awareness of and change attitudes in relation to accessibility (in the short term and long term)?
It can better raise awareness by helping enable people with disabilities to take advantage of opportunities to the fullest of their ability.
RE: How can the Government of Canada show leadership in improving accessibility and removing barriers for Canadians with disabilities?
Barriers are less to do with particular impairments and more to do with the lack of guaranteed access to customized plans of timely support and development. The government needs to re-think the priority. People need supports, with that everything else becomes easier.
RE: Do you have examples of collaborative models that have led to the creation of shared expectations and sustained culture change within organizations in relation to accessibility?
The Australian National Disability Insurance Program was a product of a nation wide collaboration that transformed the entire system of disability supports based on shared expectations (10 non-negotiables) and altered the relationship between government, service providers, families/caregivers and persons with disabilities
RE: Do you have any input regarding this goal?
If the goal is to promote equality of opportunity then the Act would be better named an Opportunities Act rather than an Accessibility Act. The goal should be not so much to reduce barriers as to enable opportunities that foster inclusion and participation and this can be done most effectively by ensuring PWD have the essential supports they need.
RE: How should the legislation define “accessibility” and/or “barrier”?
The terms accessibility and barriers suggest impediments to effective action when the real impediment is lack of essential supports. Then the other impediments (barriers) can be defined.
RE: Overall, which approach or approaches do you think would be best for federal accessibility legislation? Are there other approaches that you would suggest?
A well designed program national insurance program would have an element of both but would be primarily outcomes focused. The prescriptive part would be the standards, targets, objectives to ensure that implementation is linked to meaningful performance measures.
RE: If a prescriptive-type approach were to be taken, do you have any input on how standards could be developed?
For a disability insurance program geared to providing essential supports there would be both technical, delivery and operational standards which would involve researching best practices. There is no CIHI for disabilities and we need one to help set the different standards.
RE: If an outcome-based approach were to be taken, do you have any input on how accessibility outcomes could be established?
There is much work going on developing meaningful outcomes from both the health and disability communities ideally enabled through collective impact approaches to engagement.
RE: Are there other organizations within federal jurisdiction that should be covered by the legislation?
A National Disability Insurance Program would need to be sure to include First Nations
RE: Are there organizations that should be exempt from the legislation?
Not applicable as insurance focuses on PWD
RE: The legislation could potentially set out different requirements and timelines for different types and sizes of organizations. Do you have any comments or suggestions for this?
Implementation of a national disability insurance program would be gin with pilot sites and rolled out at different times.
RE: We have listed six areas where accessibility could be improved. Of these, which are the most important to you? Are there other areas that should be included?
Accessibility needs to be addressed after PWD have the essential supports they need – first the essential supports program and service delivery model must be built
RE: We have listed some potential mechanisms that the legislation could describe for the ongoing identification and prioritization of accessibility issues. What do you think of these mechanisms? Are there other mechanisms you would suggest?
An Advisory Council build after the construction of three national organizations – one to represent PWD, another Parents and Care Givers and another representing Agencies and organizations that provide services and together they would populate an Agency to ensure the program remained true to its objectives – even a special Standing Committee of the Senate to help with research and legislative issues
RE: Canada has a number of laws in place to address human rights issues and improve accessibility. Do you have any comments on how the new accessibility legislation could interact with these existing laws? Should the legislation describe a process by which these laws would be reviewed and potentially revised?
An on-going performance reporting regime could try to highlight issues as they arise with the Senate Committee/Advisory Committees reviewing and recommending course of action.
RE: Should the legislation build on accessibility standards already developed by provincial/territorial governments and other countries?
The insurance program would work along side existing programs both federal and provincial but would set standards of practice to obtain funding. It is likely money will need to flow through the Provinces but that has to be negotiated.
RE: What monitoring mechanisms do you think should be considered for the legislation (including ones not listed here)?
All of the above for the program as a whole while participating organizations, managers of funds would need action plans, progress reports all rooted in individualized service plans. There would be reviews and audits on an as needed/recommended basis. A complaints and dispute resolution mechanisms for all three actors (PWD, Parents and Care Givers, Agencies etc.) would be needed esp. during the early stages of piloting and roll out.
RE: What enforcement mechanisms do you think should be considered for the legislation (including ones not listed here)?
To qualify for access to the funding service organizations will need to be registered after assessing that they will be able to contribute effectively to the outcomes the program wants. This will need to be renewed on occasion. Fines are possible when minor infractions to standards occur. For families that may mismanage or have difficulty, referral to a registered overseer is an option (could be an agency).
RE: Do you have suggestions for how the Government could help organizations to improve accessibility and remove barriers?
Might create a Centre for Opportunities/Inclusivity Research to feed the research needs/best practices of the insurance program (working as well with other research groups as the hub of a network).
RE: Do you have suggestions for how the Government could encourage, support and recognize organizations that show accessibility leadership?
Recognition awards, funding bonuses for exceptional creativity, effectiveness in advancing the cause and development of the insurance program
RE: In relation to the implementation and effectiveness of the legislation, how often would you want the Government of Canada to report to Canadians?
The program as it was being rolled out would need to report on an on-going basis through a portal accessible to the public. There would also need to be regular more formal monitoring reports.
RE: What kinds of things should this report look at?
Efficiency, effectiveness, reach, outcomes achieved and public happiness with its implementation
RE: How often should the legislation be reviewed?
Every 2 years until full implementation then every 5 years.
RE: Are there specific considerations for how any such review should be conducted?
Persons with disabilities and their caregivers need to be the focus of all discussions/changes