Accessible Widget

March 30, 2015

Speak up for Community Living and Choice

Members of the Disability Action Hall and friends will be travelling to Edmonton April 1st to the Alberta Legislature to speak up for 'Community Living, Choice and Genuine Community Consultation" to bring attention the PDD Safety Standards need to be stopped and rethought. 

What happened to Community Living? 

Choice         What happened to the right to choose where we want to live? 

Consistent   Why are the rules not the same for all Albertans?

Confusing    Why are the rules so confusing?

Consultation We have the right to be asked about rules about us, not without us. 

Citizenship  What happened to my privacy rights and being treated equal?

Contradictory Why are some people exempt? Like Family Managed care and people that are married? Why aren't all vulnerable Albertan homes looked at by health, fire, safety and municipalities? 

Cash Why does the government not give us enough money to live in a home built to 2006 building code? 

Conflict   Why is the government setting me up to be in conflict with landlords? 

Stop the Standards. 
Then lets talk together as a community.  
Please stop. Write your MLA.

True community consultation is needed
Why didn't the government ask us about safety & housing inspections?

March 27, 2015

Did the Alberta Government budget for 'Quality of Life?'

Last night we talked about the Provincial Budget. While we took the time to provide the feedback on what we think needs to happen, it was difficult to learn what the majority of Albertans asked for did not come to fruition. Why did they ask? 

The budget is bittersweet. While we are thankful PDD supports and taxes exempt the most impoverished individuals in Alberta, we are troubled by the lack of revenue being generated by the province to help create a strong sustainable social infrastructure like good schools, hospitals and social services. It is the services that help us maintain a quality of life. 

We understand very very wealthy citizens were given a minor tax progressive tax increase, yet not enough to address the deficit. And the health care premiums will also only address the deficit. 

The government has made no gesture to even get the oil and gas royalties owed to them back from the oil and gas industry, meanwhile Albertans pay for a health care system that is being eroded by private healthcare systems.  

While Norway's wealth fund sits at 1 trillion dollars to help fund social infrastructure, can't we do better Alberta? 

March 24, 2015

What happened to "Community Living" and "Choice?"

Next week members of the Disability Action Hall will be bringing attention to the PDD Safety Standards and the need to hault the regulation entirely until we understand the full impact. 

We are very concerned what the regulation will do our ability to live in the community when already we do not have enough money to afford many homes built after 2006. 

Over the last four months we have written letters, attended meetings with PDD, MLAs, City Councillors and the Chief Building Inspector to ask the government to stop before more citizens are evicted and asked to move. Here is a link to our talk with PDD and the City where we learned the government simply needs more time to understand what this means to enforce fire, safety and by-law compliance in a City that is faced with

  • A housing crisis,
  • Met 38 times just to try to legalize secondary suites, and 
  • Calgary Housing Authority that has no money from the province to maintain homes.

More time is needed. Stop. 

We plan to draw attention to the inconsistent treatment of persons with disabilities as renters who are now facing forced inspections. Some people with developmental disabilities are exempt as they recieve family managed care or are married. 

While the government argues minimum housing standards apply to all renters of Alberta, they are complaint based, not forced. And if you refuse to move, PDD regulation says they can terminate your services. No other Albertan's services and address are dictated by the government (unless you have been convicted of a crime). 

Why are we being treated differently? 

Our only crime is our disability. We question why we are being treated differently and how will the landlords of our futures look at us. 
Will they rent to us knowing we now come with forced inspections? 

Its time to speak to the humanity of the regulation. 

The Mock Wedding begins at Noon, on Wednesday, April 1st at the Edmonton Legislative Assembly. Wear pink! 

If you are wanting to learn more and take action, please write your MLA. 

March 6, 2015

Its time to reclaim what makes us feel safe

Its is worth repeating, sometime ago Hall members talked about our right to home. 
We created a top 10 list. 
And it is now one of our calls to action (listed below) is to remind MLAs in a letter writing campaign what the rules really need to be.

Its time to remind the government what we think makes a home a home. 

Its time to not accept that its ok for the government to tell us where we can and cannot live.
Its time we share what really keeps us safe...

We deserve the right...
  • To choose where live
  • To have our homes safe, affordable, accessible and disability friendly  
  • To have enough money to afford a decent place to live.  
  • To feel safe and be free from abuse.  
  • To make personal choices about our diet, what we do in our home, its cleanliness, and so on.  
  • To choose who comes into our homes, including friends, family, and support staff.  
  • To get the support we need and to know what support we can get.  
  • To have privacy.
  •  To choose if and with whom we share our home (including children and pets), and to decide together how we will share. 
  • To know our rights.  
  • To know what to do if we are unhappy.

1. Call to Action: Get Informed

Last night the Disability Action Hall also began conversations about the poorly written PDD Safety Standards regulation. We were joined by Chris Rowley from the South who shared many questions self-advocates shared with their safety standards session. The talk can read on the SAIPA website.  

We were also very fortunate to be joined by MLA Linda Johnson who patiently listen to our concerns about the PDD Safety Standards. 

Linda was very impressed many of the people have lived in their homes for more than 10 years. Linda also learned how hard service providers and families work to assist people with disabilities to live in the very best homes people can afford. 

Linda gave us the following advice on how we can make a difference: 

2. Call to Action: Write letters to you MLA

Get your landlords to write your MLA and also write to the MLAs where their properties are. 
Get your family members to write as well. Talk to MLAs. And in your letters include how long you have lived in your home.

If you want to know who your MLA is, please visit this link 

The Talks continue.
 Next week we will be meeting with Calgary PDD Region, ACDS and possibly the City of Calgary. 

March 2, 2015

"No more regulations of our homes and our lives, we are regulated enough"

Last week a couple members of the Hall attended the South Region's information session on the "Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) Safety Standards" held at the Lethbridge Public Library, held on Friday, February 27th, 2015. 

We were encouraged by the many questions asked by self-advocates, family members and allies directed to PDD, Alberta Health and Environmental Protection Services. We were also very thankful there are open conversations about the safety standards. Yet, we left wondering why these conversations did not happen before heavy handed rules, laws and safety inspections took place? 

Did these safety conversations happen too late? 
Why is the government only targeting people with disabilities?

Brad Robertson, a member of the Disability Action Hall was met with an overwhelming silence from the Health Services, PDD and Environmental Protection and Safety presenters when he commented "Don't you think we are overly inspected in our homes with regulations, and in our lives? Don't you think we are regulated enough?” 

Brad's statement was reinforced when the inspectors said they are about 75% done and out of the 221 homes, very few needed larger windows or securing of loose handrails. The numbers of homes that are compliant indicate our homes are safer than the average home on the rental market. 

Hall Members continue to share concerns the PDD Safety Standards legislation unfairly stigmatizes people with disabilities in the community for the sake of the government needing to collect ‘evidence' our homes are safe. 

And the disability community continues to struggle with what happened to Betty Anne Gagnon where government systems failed to keep her safe. Betty lived with a developmental disability and her sister was sentenced to 20 months for failing to provide the necessities of life. Even if Betty was alive today, she would still not be protected by the safety standards as she would be exempt living with her sister. 

We want the standards to stop. And we want the conversations to continue.

Could it also be we need to focus on Albertan's homes who fall outside of PDD funded services? 

Could it also be instead of targeting people who have a disability in the community, the better way to make homes safe for Alberatns is to make rules that apply to everyone? 

This week and the following,  members of the Hall will host two PDD Safety Standards meetings. We have an MLA coming on Thursday, March 5th and we will  also be hear about the education and advocacy efforts from the South region. 

Stay tuned.