March 17, 2017 – Edmonton, AB
Budget Disappoints Individuals with Disabilities and Their Families
Yesterday’s budget does not adequately reflect the interests of individuals with disabilities and their families. The overall budget for Persons with Disabilities is the same as the forecast for the past year. This budget simply keeps pace with last year’s expenditures. While this government has announced many initiatives, even during a period of economic restraints, it remains silent, with no articulated vision or plan, in advancing the interests of persons with disabilities and their families.
Considering expected and normative increases in costs, the budget may not even maintain existing supports and services. Promises to advance and foster the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in Alberta and to provide equitable access to a quality of life comparable to those without disabilities cannot be met with this budget.
Bruce Uditsky, CEO of Inclusion Alberta and a parent of an adult son with developmental disabilities, noted, “Commitments to increase employment and affordability for Albertans, as referenced in government’s business and spending plans, make no reference to Albertans with disabilities. This budget does not make a better life more affordable and possible for children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families.”
Across Canada Indigenous families and communities experience higher rates of disability and higher rates of child welfare apprehension than other Canadian populations. Yet Indigenous parents access Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) at vastly lower rates than other families. Neither this budget or government plans do anything to increase access to Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) for Indigenous families. This failure contributes to the high numbers of children with disabilities removed from their homes due to the lack of disability-related supports. In addition, disability related supports for adults with developmental disabilities is still not available within First Nations, forcing individuals with disabilities to leave their homes and communities or exist without needed supports.
Robin Acton, President of Inclusion Alberta, parent and Alberta business owner stated, “Words cannot express my disappointment in this government’s lack of vision and commitment to sufficiently ensure individuals with disabilities and their families are included in its agenda to make life better through employment and affordability. It’s great school fees are being reduced but parents of children with disabilities are still being told there is not enough funding to provide an education to their children. Today we have a government for some Albertans but certainly not for all.”
About Inclusion Alberta:
Inclusion Alberta is Canada’s largest family-governed, registered charity representing tens of thousands of children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families across Alberta for over 60 years.
For more information, please contact:
Bruce Uditsky, CEO - Inclusion Alberta