Take Action: Complete the Canada Disability Inclusion Action Plan Survey
The Canadian government has committed to developing and implementing a federal Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) and is now seeking input from Canadians via an online survey that can be found here: Disability Inclusion Action Plan Survey.
We are hoping that as many families, individuals with developmental disabilities, friends and allies will complete this short survey and contribute to shaping the DIAP. To that end, we wanted to offer a few suggestions with respect to some of the survey questions.
FINANCIAL SECURITY (screen one)
Question – In addition to a new disability benefit, what actions could most improve the financial security of persons with disabilities?
This question refers to the new Canadian Disability Benefit (CDB), which will be a disability related income benefit for persons with disabilities to be implemented within the next three years and asks what else needs to be considered in improving financial security for persons with disabilities. It asks you to rank your answers in order of importance. How you rank the first three areas is up to you, but our recommendation would be to not use the fourth statement – “Measures tailored to address income security for individuals at different life stages or transitions”.
Please note that “Better access to existing government supports and services” only relates to federal programs and not provincial programs such as FSCD, PDD and education. However, better access to federal programs, such as Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs), is important.
We also highly recommend adding in the comments box that you would like to see easier access to the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) eligibility and thus RDSPs. In addition, that the RDSP as a long-term savings plan should be improved by enabling people to use their RDSP, for example, as a down payment on a home (condo, townhouse, etc.).
Question – What do you think are the most important things to consider when designing actions to improve financial security? Choose up to three.
The three we would suggest are:
- Broad eligibility
- Level of financial support
- The ability to both work and receive financial supports
EMPLOYMENT (screen two)
Question – What do you think are the most important actions to help Canadians with disabilities find and maintain employment? Choose up to three.
We would suggest selecting:
- Support to help youth transition from school to work
- Support for finding quality jobs (which naturally includes assistance in applying and being interviewed)
- Support for obtaining workplace adaptations, assistive technologies and other workplace supports
Question – What do you think are the most important ways to help employers hire and keep persons with disabilities employed? Choose up to three.
We would recommend choosing:
- Supports and mentors to create and maintain inclusive and accessible workplaces for persons with disabilities
- Resources to provide accessible on-the-job training
- Assistance to find supports available to employers to hire persons with disabilities
DISABILITY-INCLUSIVE SPACES (screen three)
Question – What do you think are the most important actions to help Canadians with disabilities fully participate in their community and workplaces? Choose up to three.
This is a limiting question, largely because the focus is on accessibility without referencing inclusion. Access can enable segregated and congregated programs without advancing or providing any inclusion. Public awareness programs consume a large amount of funding and make people feel better but make little to no difference with respect to action on the ground that advances inclusion. The least problematic actions would be the second and third bullet and then either of those remaining but not public awareness.
In the following comment box, you can say accessibility is not equivalent to, and does not necessarily lead to, inclusion. You may choose to say you want actions that advance inclusion in all aspects of community life.
A MODERN APPROACH TO DISABILITY (screen four)
Question – What should be the top priorities in a new approach to assessing disability?
This question asks you to select rank by importance the top two of the three statements.
Inclusion Alberta has never supported single window point of access to supports and services. We prefer multiple entry points. When a system has a single window point of entry that is narrow or decreases in size over time, individuals with disabilities and their families often find themselves excluded – stuck on the other side of a window or door that won’t let them pass through. The federal government should have multiple entry points with coordinated benefits and programs.
Our recommendation would be to select only the second (“Less reliance on medical documentation”) and third (“Place more importance on what you tell the Government about your disability experience”) priorities and in the comment box add, if you agree, your opposition to a one window approach.
Question – Do you have any comments on how disability assessments can be simplified?
This is an additional opportunity to add any comments on how disability assessments can be simplified. One option is to say that if someone is eligible for any provincial disability-related program or benefit then they should be automatically eligible for federal disability-related programs and benefits.
OVERARCHING QUESTIONS (screen five)
Question – When you reflect on these themes, what do you think should be the order of priority for the Government of Canada?
This question asks for the themes within the survey to be ranked in order of importance from one to four.
We believe it is best to rank the themes in the order they appear.
Question – Are there any themes within the Government of Canada’s responsibility or mandate that you feel are missing in the Disability Inclusion Action Plan?
If you choose “Yes”, a text box opens for additional comments – “Please explain”. One could add the theme of Equal in Value. That is, in valuing of the lives of people with disabilities as being of equal value, then Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) should not be available on the basis of disability alone when a person is not dying or near the end of life.
Demographic Questions (screen six and onwards)
The remaining questions are demographic in nature. However, the final question asks, “If you are a caregiver of a person with a disability?” We find this question to be offensive for multiple reasons among others it trivializes the relationships of family members, friends, and colleagues. The question implies that everyone with a disability requires care from whomever is in relation to them and that persons with disabilities themselves could not be in either normative relationships or relationships of support to others. There isn’t a place to comment on this, so we suggest not answering this question and/or adding a comment in the comment box above asking about themes (you can do this by choosing the “Back” button at the bottom of the survey).
Take the Canada Disability Inclusion Action Plan Survey here. Deadline to complete the survey is September 30, 2021.