Nov 13, 2018

Support Bill 26 Indexing social assistance to the cost of living


We hope that people will support our government to pass Bill 26. The bill will give small increases to social assistance programs like Assured Income for Severely Handicapped (AISH), Alberta Works and Seniors Supports. 

The bill will also index those programs to the cost of living. In other words, as the cost of living goes up, the amount of money people get will go up too. 

Indexing benefits will help to make sure people do not fall further behind in the future. We hope the community will get behind supporting this first step as we continue to advocate for even  better social assistance programs.


To learn more about the proposed increases, visit this link
Example of Proposed Increase for single person



Nov 5, 2018

Standing in solidarity to Index Social Assistance, media release Nov 5 2018


For immediate release, November 5th, 2018

An increase to the cost of living would allow me to live more comfortably with more security (have quality of life) and not live in fear.”

-          -AISH Recipient , October 2018

Members of the Disability Action Hall went to the Women's Centre today to share the challenges with the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program and what needs to change. We stand in alliance with social justice groups who agree that Alberta's social assistance programs, including Income Support and AISH, need to be indexed to the cost of living. Nearly 61,000 Albertans receive AISH and have not seen an increase since 2012.

The Disability Action Hall is encouraged by Minister of Community and Social Services Irfan Sabir's recent efforts to listen to the voices of Albertans regarding these programs. Minister Sabir attended an AISH round table last week that discussed the need to index AISH to the cost of living and improve medical benefits. He also met with the Calgary Ability Network in mid-October which discussed the social contributors to poverty. AISH and poverty was also a topic at the recent provincial self-advocacy summit hosted by Albertans Advocating for Change Together (AACT) in early October. Individuals at the summit talked about safety and other concerns when "people have to live with 3 or 4 other people in order to be able to afford rent" and the "ability to afford food."

Brad Robertson, a poverty activist living with a disability and a member of the Disability Action Hall no longer receives AISH as he is 66. He speaks about the snowball effect of not indexing social assistance programs to the cost of living, resulting in people falling further behind.

AISH falls behind the cost of living year after year
Once you live on a fixed income and it’s not indexed to the cost of living, when everything goes up, your income does not go up. As a result, your health suffers and you live in sub-standard housing and you cannot afford to eat good food. It’s very hard for people to have a quality of life and get out and enjoy the things that normal people do who aren’t disabled. AISH was created for people cannot work and have no source of income.  Indexing AISH would keep it at the cost of living so people don’t have to worry about paying their bills, better medical care and it would be a lot better.
-Brad Robertson


Additionally, citizens living in facilities who also receive what is known as modified AISH have not seen an increase to their personal allowance since 2007.   

“Eleven years is far too long,” says Brenley Shatz. Brenley also lives on AISH in a facility where the personal allowance for people on modified AISH has remained $ 315 a month since 2007.When AISH increased from $1188 to $ 1588 in 2012, people living on modified AISH did not receive any increase in personal allowance rate.

People can’t do the activities like going to the library or an exercise class.  AISH is not enough. I live on modified AISH and it’s just helping me eat or pay for a place to stay. That’s it.  People cannot get out. People are stuck in their homes. As a person who lives in a wheelchair, a lack of income is just one of the many barriers that I face.  Indexing AISH will help me get out of the house and be seen.”
-Brenley Shatz

Personal Allowance has not increased in 11 years for individuals living in facilities



Oct 16, 2018

It's not easy being green, - why poverty sucks - October 17th, 2018

'It's not easy being green
when you live in poverty'


This October 17th’s International Day to Eradicate Poverty, watch out for ‘Poverty Sucks’ reusable silicone straws. These straws are ways for Hall members to begin the conversation about rates for social assistance. “People with disabilities want to support efforts to reduce waste with plastic straws, but they cannot afford to buy re-usable straws if they need them because, as our straws say, “Poverty Sucks,” says Mary.

It is just is not the easy being green with the no straw movement when you cannot afford to buy a reusable straw.  We want Albertans to know “We should be doing more to end pollution so we can use the money we save to eradicate poverty.” Says Brad.

We bought silicone straws to highlight the fact that people with disabilities sometimes need straws but cannot afford ecologically sound alternatives because they live in poverty.” Says Kathleen.

In fact, it has been six years since 'Assured Income for Severely Handicapped' (AISH) social assistance rates increased to the cost of living in Alberta. Jen wants to let Albertans know “It’s not that easy for people with disabilities to pay for re-usable straws if they live on AISH.”  

Rates are falling further behind each year. (See chart)



We can all do more to try to protect our right to safe, clean water and keep our planet green. To learn more about the plastic-free movement that we are proud to be a part of, check out Plastic Free YYC.  

Hall members will be sharing these straws at a location near you to let our government know poverty sucks in Alberta. Help us and help the environment by washing this straw and using it as often as you can. 

Sep 6, 2018

Good news! Some spots left for Calgary to attend the "Self-Advocacy Summit"

Good news Calgarians!  
We have about 10 spots left for the upcoming
 "Self-Advocacy Summit"


The forms are fillable →→online.← ←click here


What? Self-Advocacy Summit “Listen, learn and take Action” hosted by Albertans Advocating for Change Together

When? Monday, October 1st to Wednesday, October 3rd in Alix, Alberta at Deer Valley Meadows Camp.

Where? Deer Valley Meadows Camp in Alix, Alberta

Why? It is an excellent opportunity to speak to the Disability Advocate, comment on the PDD review, meet with the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities and talk with the AISH and poverty as well as meet new people.

Cost? $55 ($50 conference fee, $ 5 electronic membership fee) cheques made out to AACT or ‘Albertans Advocating for Change Together’ will be accepted. 

Please call 403.717.7630 or email us if you need to pay by cash or cheque.

Your application can be dropped off, emailed or faxed to the Calgary Scope Society located at 
219, 18 Street SE. 

Fax 403.291.0487 
before Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Commonly asked questions... 

How would I get there?

There is an accessible bus leaving from Calgary plus we also have a mileage rate if it is easier for you to take a car. 

What is Camp like? 

The camp is somewhat accessible,(accessible beds, showers) and the paths are gravel with some gentle hills. There is no care provided. 

When do you need my application? 

We have extended the deadline 
Wednesday, September 12th

The costs if $ 55 (and it includes and AACT membership) as well as the $ 50 conference fee

Aug 28, 2018

A city that moves, time to say thank you to City Council and keep up the good work

This year we asked our City Council to help us move better in our community.


We asked for these three things: 











  • Timely snow removal for pedestrians
  • Continue to fund the sliding scale discount for low-income monthly transit passes
  • Accessible Taxi On-Demand Service
We are proud to say our City supported these ideas. 

September 6th is another chance to say thank you. 
We would like our City to keep up the good work for the next four years. 

Join us as we listen to the  'Transportation and Transit' department plan is for the next four years. 


After their report is done (about 1 hour) we all get 5 minutes each to tell them what we liked about the report and what matters to us. 


Please come to the City Hall Council Chamber beginning at 8:30 am on Thursday, September 6th, 2018. 


We hope you will join us! 

















Jul 30, 2018

The Straw Free Debate

Members of the Disability Action Hall talk about the impact of the global straw free movement. 
We shared our stories with Plastic Free YYC's "Last Straw" campaign. 
We talked about our concerns if we only had straw-free restaurants and bars.
For the full article, please visit Plastic Free YYC's website.

Jun 26, 2018

We do Winter here!!! Thank you Calgary City Council

Many people worked together to share their winter stories with Calgary City Council earlier this month. 

People with reduced mobility, seniors, women, urban designers and business revitalization zones spoke on June 7th to the snow and ice motion lead by Ward 7 Councillor Druh Farrell and we are knee deep in gratitude Council voted in favour of the motion. 


Access Matters! We do winter here! 

9.5 million has been set aside to help Calgarians walk and move safely around in the winter. 

Here is the link to the news story! 

Thank you Calgary for caring and creating a snow removal plan that works for pedestrians and vehicles! 
Access matters! Complete streets that work for all of us matters. 

And we look forward to speaking to why this matters in November when our City decides on the budget!

Calgary is a winter City! And we do winter well here! 



May 24, 2018

And the count down continues!!! Disability Pride Buttons!

Disability Pride Buttons for June 3rd, 2018! 
We are busy getting ready for the June 3rd, 2018 Disability Pride Parade. 

This week we are busy making our 20th Anniversary Buttons, and we will be making posters to carry in the parade! 

Check out the parade guide, download it here! 


Disability Pride Parade Guide

May 3, 2018

Celebrating 20 years!

We are very excited to celebrate 20 years of the Disability Action Hall. 

One of the ways we are celebrating is making our annual event bigger and better. 
Watch out for this over-the-roadway banner that we were playing with last week! 

Coming to a bridge near you! 



This year we have partnered with Disability Pride Alberta!

We will be parading down beginning under the white trees 315 - 8 Avenue SW  and stroll down Stephen Avenue Mall at  11 am and walk down to Olympic Plaza. 


We are asking people to dress in the colours of teal and orange. And to help ensure we have enough food, grab your free ticket on eventbrite


Visit www.disabilitypridealberta.com for more information! 


Apr 27, 2018

What would Groot do? Fair Access for all YYC & YEG Comic Con

https://www.petitions24.com/fanexpoaccessibility Image from Marvels 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy
Petition: 

Members have asked to post the petition titled "Fair Accessibility Policy for Fan Expo Events' when we did not understand why FanExpo Canada changed its access policy.  Especially when we read the words of the loyal fans from Alberta Cosplayers with Disabilities that said on a petition site... 

We realize that many able-bodied people think it isn't fair to allow us to use the VIP/fast lines without "paying" the monetary price, but I assure you that we have more than paid the price for that spot in line through pain and quality of life. No one asks to have a disability, they are not "fair". Any one of us would gladly exchange our place in the fast line with someone in the regular line if they also took our reason for being there (disability/illness).

-Laura Taylor, Brain Tumour Survivor and co-founder of "Alberta Cosplayers with Disabilities"


Article: For the full CBC article, please see here 


Again we are puzzled... as some of our friends can only be away from medical care for a limited time and cannot stay in line too long. Why would a company want to deny access with dignity?

We are confused at the lack of insight why a company wishes to take something fun to a place that make us feel left out. Especially when the comic book industry is based on superheros who share similar journeys we can identify with...Take Groot for example... 
`
-Groot is often misunderstood and yet can make 4 words mean so many things.
- Sometimes little Groot needs help getting around and friends help out.
-Groot like ourselves learns what makes us extraordinary is awesome. 
-And in the meantime, saves the world.

Now who wouldn't want to be part of that? 

So what would Groot do? 

"I am Groot!" Translation: Sign the petition, we all have the right to have fun.

Apr 3, 2018

Photo Challenge! How we make Calgary safe winter for all?

Its' time to put your cameras to good use. 

Help us tell the story how we roll in snow & ice in Calgary!
This past winter, many of us stayed indoors. ❆
Can Calgary do better? ⛄

We think so.
Help us make Calgary a safer City for all. 

We hope to collect stories, poetry, letters and photos to help pass a notice of motion June 7th, 2018 (Yes 'Snow in June'). 


Email us your story or photo! 
Or if you like, print this picture  write a sentence or two, then send it back to us before April 25th, 2018! 

Tell us how snow removal would help make your life better in Calgary

And if you want to come and talk to council to support the motion get ready for Thursday, June 7th! 


Tell us how better snow removal creates a safer community for you! Due April 25th, 2018


Here is what the motion asks for (plainer language version)

1. Fines for failure to clear your sidewalk with the existing 24-hour rules.

2. Update snow removal to be the same as the new 'Pedestrian Strategy'

3. Identification of a high-priority network for clearing so that Calgarians can reach transit, shops, schools, offices, and other major destinations.

4. More coordination between City departments.

5. Faster times for City to clear snow just like home owners and business.

6. Ways to look at snow removal on Calgary’s 78 km of walkways.

7. Guidelines for clearing wheelchair ramps, curb cuts, and sidewalk crossings of lanes.

8. Improved 311 phone, website, and mobile app reporting.

9. Make sure there is a plan for winter snow removal fund for City departments whenever new place is built.

10. Ways to help Calgarians who are unable to clear shared space with the City property and their property.