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November 16, 2007

Federal NDP Strategy for the Disabilities Community

National Strategy for the Disabilities Community

Whereas Canadians with disabilities have witnessed an erosion and the elimination of many services across the country and a declining quality of life; and

Whereas in 2001, 3,601,270 persons, or 12.4% of the Canadian population reported having activity limitations; and

Whereas two million Canadian adults lack the disability supports they need; and

Whereas half of the children with disabilities who need specialized aids do not have all the aids they require; and

Whereas 50% of the homeless people are people with disabilities, and that 40% of those rely on food banks to make ends meet; and

Whereas the unemployment rates among people with disabilities exceeds 60%; and

Whereas the federal government has moved away from regulation to mere voluntary compliance on accessibility in transportation; and

Whereas the federal government has been cutting back employment programs and scaling back accessibility in transportation and in health; and

Whereas people with disabilities are highly marginalized, yet are completely invisible and have been largely ignored through successive governments; and

Whereas this crisis needs to be addressed through an effective income strategy and better access to all services and employment, that would allow people with disabilities to live above the poverty line in this country; and

Whereas an income and a high employment policy should be supplemented by legislation in support of a full access strategy and of a higher income strategy; and

Whereas a National Disability Act would establish a law under which the federal government is bound to continually maintain and develop measures that secure not just the equality, but the dignity of all human beings with disabilities; and

Therefore be it resolved

that the New Democratic Party of Canada support a comprehensive set of policy measures to secure the dignity of persons with disabilities, recognize their contribution to the welfare and richness of the community; and


Be it further resolved

that these policy measures include,

A comprehensive new investment package that would combat the poverty and exclusion of persons with disabilities and their families, which would include reasonable and achievable targets over a 5 year period to,

1) reduce by half the annual income gap between Canadians with and without disabilities
2) reduce by half the poverty rate of adults with disabilities
3) reduce by half the Labour market participation gap between Canadians with and without disabilities
4) reduce by half the non-reimbursed costs faced by persons with disabilities,

A comprehensive Canadians with Disabilities Act, which would work with other income and high employment strategies to produce the sea change required to enhance the opportunities of persons with disabilities, removing obstacles to more easily find work, shelter, access a better quality of life, and achieve full equality and inclusion,

Be it further resolved

that the Canadians with Disabilities Act build on existing rights or enforcement bodies and
1) help enforce accessibility for all areas of federal jurisdiction
2) improve access to employment, accommodations and public transportation which are regularly available to persons without disabilities
3) build an effective and accessible complaint mechanism that would allow the disability community to fully vett issues of accessibility and equality
4) establish a National Disability Employment Fund which would help support the cost to employers of providing reasonable accommodations
5) create a National Disability Accommodation Council which would advise the Minister of Social Services and the Commissioner on policy issues as well as on the Administration of the National Disability Employment Fund

Be it further resolved

that the New Democratic Party support the development of a long term disability strategy and action plan that will address the lack of disability related supports and the poverty and the unemployment of Canadians with disabilities; and

a long term disability strategy developed collaboratively between all levels of government a specific strategy to address the issues of Aboriginal peoples with disabilities federal leadership to ensure the full and equal participation of Canadians with disabilities in all aspects of Canadian life

Note from the webmaster: Your Society received this policy statement on November 23, 2007 as an attachment to this email:

Hello,

On behalf of Alexa McDonough, thank you for your email regarding the NDP position regarding persons with disabilities. For your information, I have attached the resolution that was passed by the Federal Party at the last convention regarding this important issue. Thanks once again and please don't hesitate to be in touch if you have any additional questions.

Sincerely,
Lee Bennett
Assistant to Alexa McDonough, MP Halifax
Tel (613) 995-7614
Fax (613) 992-8569
http://www.alexahfx.ca/

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