Apr 25, 2017

Humanity and Me - a call out for history artefacts celebrating disability rights

Its that time of year again and this year's Speak Out is all about celebrating Disability Rights.
If you have a piece of history you wish to share the deadline is May 10th, 2017.

Our pop up gallery will be up for a few weeks at the beautiful historical Lougheed House located at 703, 13 Avenue SW on Friday, June 2nd, 2017.

To learn more about the call out for disability history download the file here.

Apr 6, 2017

Cleaning up AISH - a response from the Disability Action Hall

The Alberta government overhauling the AISH program is a step in the right direction. However, more steps are needed. Albertans who are currently on the program have not seen an increase in 5 years. It’s time to end the gap between AISH and the poverty line. Hall members react to today's announcement to overhaul the Assured Income for Severely Handicapped (AISH) program. 
Tammy Poirier thanking previous government
who raised AISH five years ago - file photo
 "I would like to see AISH to go up. The cost of living is going up. 
People should not have to fight to get it. When I came from Ontario, I had to wait. It’s a great thing to look at shorter wait times. There are people who apply who have to wait and wait, so less wait time is better, especially when they turn 18 and have severe disability. It is great to improve the wait times and measure how long it takes. If you already have the label, why make people to jump through hoops who already have a diagnosis. They should not have to more evaluations in order to get on it."
- Tammy Poirier, Disability Action Hall member and AISH recipient

Christina says
"It's good to do an overhaul
and support people
with dual diagnosis
"I think they should raise the AISH. Other than that, it is pretty good. I think it is good to do an overhaul. There are lots of people who have dual diagnosis where mental health prevents them from holding a steady job." -Christina Stebanuk, Disability Action Hall member and AISH recipient

"We applaud the government for reviewing AISH. 
A recent study shows Albertans with disabilities incomes are the worst in Canada...

We need to see them review the rates as well as the efficiency and efficacy of the program. It is important to review how well the program works, as well as to ensure it is enough to live on."
-Denise Young, Disability Action Hall member and Ally

The overhaul is a step in the right direction. However, a significant change people need is for the base amount to be indexed to the cost of living. Currently the base amount is not built on what it costs to live a life with dignity in Alberta. 

It's time Alberta! When our province scores a “C” on income for people with disabilities, we need to take action.

Mar 31, 2017

How is the Alberta government doing?

Many of our friends who are attending the Public Interest Conference this week asked us "How is the Alberta government doing?"

Our answer?  Watch the video and find out!

Mar 24, 2017

Minimum Wage Increase threaten Albertans safety in their homes

Last November, Community and Social Services said Albertans with developmental disabilities with overnight care have the right to live safely in the homes of their choice. However the right to choose where to live is again now under threat as minimum wage increases over the next three years from $ 11.20 to $ 15 per hour.  While the disability sector is supportive to increase wages to the lowest paid workers, yet the Alberta government has left people with disabilities no means to pay their worker minimum wage to help them be safe overnight. We are being forced into a deficit budget position.” Says Ryan Geake of the Calgary SCOPE Society.  

Studies have shown people with disabilities are more than likely to be injured in a fall at home as much as the elderly and it is the leading cause of hospitalization and death.  What will happen when Albertans with developmental disabilities are no longer able to pay their worker minimum wage to be in their home to be safe? 

The Alberta government failing to provide funding without the miminum wage increase for overnight care goes against the recommendations made in the Supporting Safe and Inclusive Lives Report of the Persons with Developmental Disabilities Safety Standards Consultation 2016 "Staff wages should be increased to reflect higher education and training requirements implemented through a human resource plan." 
Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir , centre, and Ryan Geake, executive director of Calgary scope society, left, visits with Loyd Thornhill, foreground, and Harold Gregory in a group home at 26 Hallmark Place SW in Calgary, AB., on Friday, April 1, 2016. ANDY MAXWELL MAWJI / CALGARY HERALD
Public Health Agency Canada 2016 report states "Falls are a leading cause of overall injury costs in Canada. The total economic burden of falls is estimated at $6 billion annually (Parachute Canada, 2014). The direct health care costs for fall-related injuries are $2 billion annually.  Health Status of Canada is already aware far too many Canadians living on low-income go without proper care who need it

Why then, is the Alberta government wanting to add more stress and costs to an overwhelmed health care system?  A government to say "It’s time to increase a minimum wage" and not do it themselves is irresponsible and potentially passing off the injury costs to health care. Minister Irfan Sabir said in April 2016 "Everyone deserves to live safely, and our government is committed to listening to Albertans and ensuring that the dignity of persons with developmental disabilities is upheld.” 

plan is needed. People who need overnight staff to stay safe to help to live with dignity in the homes of their choice. Putting people at risk is not the solution. The Alberta government needs to fulfills its promise to implement the recommendations of the safety standards. More dollars are needed to address the minimum wage increase to meet the safety needs of Albertans who have overnight staff to live with dignity.