Statement by CILT’s Executive Director, Wendy Porch
There’s no question that we have accomplished some improvements in the economic and social equity of disabled people over the last 40 years. There is also no question that there remain persistent and unaltered barriers to our community being fully respected, supported and seen as part of the community at large.
Despite decades of work related to employment supports for people with disabilities, our community remains underemployed and many are still living in poverty. Provincial income security programs do not provide an adequate income for anyone, let alone a disabled person living in an ablest world.
Disabled people still do not have access to adequate accessible, affordable and safe housing. At no time in our recent history has the lack of accessible housing had a more ominous impact on our communities than now, with disabled people having to live in long-term care facilities and where deaths related to Covid 19 have been rampant.
The pandemic itself, has had a profound impact on our communities. Elsewhere in the world we clearly see data that shows disabled people are more vulnerable to infection and dire outcomes as a result of Covid 19 but here in Canada we don’t even collect this data. And disabled people are largely not considered to be priorities for vaccination despite this international data that shows the uneven burden the pandemic has had on the community. And despite calls from organizations and individuals to do so.
I must be honest. I don’t feel like there is much to be celebrated. Perhaps the only bright light is the tenacity, persistence, and creativity of the community itself. Time and time again, diverse disability communities come together to support each other, to include each other, and to say I see you, too.
So for all of you out there who lead in your communities, who reach out to others and who hold and make space for everyone – today I’ll be thinking of and honoring you.
Executive Director, CILT