Accessible Widget

December 4, 2017

December 3rd, United Nations celebrates International Day of Disabled Persons, more than one reason to celebrate!

Members of the Disability Action Hall were pleased to join in on the community celebration at Calgary City Hall on Friday, December 1st, 2017. This was an especially warm day as our City Council voted in favour of no cuts to transit routes and to continue the sliding scale so all Calgarians can afford the bus in the City Budget! 

Way to go Calgary. And big thanks to Calgary City Council!

To honour the community, there was plenty of drumming, speeches and over 50 tables celebrating disability pride, culture and efforts. We also made a short video of our day working at our vendor table. 

Minister of Parliament Honourable Kent Hehr also announced the tabling of the new Optional Protocol "Allows individuals in Canada to make a complaint to the United Nations if they believe their rights under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Convention) have been violated." 

Congratulations to the Albertans who received the Premier's Council on Status of Persons with Disabilities awards. And stay tuned for City of Calgary's Advisory Committee on Accessibility which will happen at a later date in the Council chamber. 

Thank you again to all the organizers and all the beautiful people who came to celebrate! To stay informed of next year's activities check out the website! 

We are loud and proud! 

October 23, 2017

Check out new Action on Poverty Website

Did you know the government of Alberta has made a new website on Action on Poverty?

Did you know the Alberta government invested 5.1 billion into programs and initiatives in 2017-2018 that may prevent or reduce poverty? 

These 4 areas include:

  • Making life more affordable
  • Supporting wellness and social inclusion
  • Investing in affordable housing and homeless supports
  • Enhancing skills, education and emplacement opportunities.

Check it out and let us know what you think! 

And if you think you might want some help with these services, please call the Alberta Support Centre  nearest you to learn about the 30 program and 120 community services! 

And if you like, you can also call toll free by dialing 1-877-644-9992 

Learn about the new Action on Poverty website! 

October 6, 2017

We Voted! 

Many of us joined in on a vote party.
Vote parties at an advanced polling station make it possible for us to support each other, learn what ward we are in and celebrate democracy! 

Advanced stations have ballots for all 14 wards and it is very helpful given there are new boundary changes.

Still undecided? 

How does your candidate measure up to building greater neighbourhoods?
Check out the  Calgary Ability Network Disability Lens Guide! 

September 22, 2017

Does your candidate support Basic Income?

Many candidates this election will talk about building great neighborhoods.  
One of the ways is by supporting Basic Income. 

Basic Income Calgary would like City Council to help us tell the province its time to look at basic income for all Canadians

What do we mean by basic income?

Learn about the five key parts of what a basic income is.
Watch this video what five key parts Basic Income Calgary believes.  

September 14, 2017

How do you know if your candidate really cares about great neighbourhoods?

Do you know who you are voting for?
How do you know if a candidate really cares about great neighborhoods?
Before you vote... talk to people about great neighbourhoods for all. 

Access, End Povery and Housing questions for Election 2017

We made a tip sheet to help you get started.
Download Candidate-Handout (new page will open)

Thank you again to the Alberta Disabilities Forum for creating the "How to get involved in the elections" handout to help us share the conversation with our friends.

September 6, 2017

What are you doing to get ready for 2017 Election?

Did you know the City of Calgary has made an election app? 

Are you not sure where your candidate stands on disability issues? 

A couple of members from the Disability Action Hall came across the Alberta Disabilities Forum election ready handout. It was so good, we wanted to share it with you.

Link to election ready handout.

We liked it because it is only one page.It talks about the rights of people with Disabilities, housing and poverty. 

It is also easy to understand and we liked the list of questions to ask your candidate. 

Thank you Alberta Disabilities Forum for the handout. 

Click here is you want to learn more about the Calgary election and download the app! 

August 29, 2017

Celebrating Disability Culture & Pride

Congrats to MP Kent Hehr on your latest appointment, Make us proud! 
 In background MLA Kathleen Ganley as Kent brings greetings at our June 2nd 2017 'Disability Pride Celebration', photo taken by Kathleen Biersdorff
The Disability Action Hall wishes to congratulate Honourable MP Kent Hehr on his latest appointment as the Sports and Disability Issues Minister of Parliament. Kent Hehr has been a strong supporter of the Disability Action Hall, including attending our "Humanity and Me Speak Out 2017, 19th celebration" 

We have had a great summer and we wish to share with a couple of highlights. Our photos from and speech we made celebrating 19 years of disability pride and culture in Calgary . As well a link to our dear friend Thomas' who passed away in January. Enjoy the links! 
Thomas' video "Our Canada, My story" playing at the
National Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg!

Photos from Speak Out, click here

Speech from Speak Out 2017 
(held at the Lougheed House Friday, June 2nd, 2017)

Welcome everybody to our 19 annual Speak out.

19 years ago, we stood on the steps of City Hall to speak up for our Human Rights.
It was our first time being on TV, Speaking out as a Disabled Community.
It was the first protest of many.
Over the years we have moved from more protests to celebration.
We still have things to protest and we have things to celebrate:
  •          Our raise in AISH,
  •          the low-income bus pass,
  •          Fair entry and sliding scale,
  •          Changes to the marriage act,
  •          Stopping cuts to services and
  •          Stopping the unfair safety standards. 
  •          Celebrating in public places to take people on a date with a disability
  •       Getting together to share practice our human rights to the right to love, the right to home, the right to play and many others.
  •      The police use to tell us during our parades to walk faster, and now   they honour the pace we make. 
While we have come a long way, our work is no where near done.

Our dream it never to have to fight to a raise in AISH as it tied to the cost of living, Never having to fight bad policy because the government asks us before they change policy.

Where Canadians will have roofs over our heads that are accessible, affordable and safe.

We hope the accessible Canada legislation will help our country create a better place for everyone.

Happy Speak Out everyone! Lets hope for 19 more!

July 6, 2017

Next steps, is it time for Calgary to take on basic income?

Members of the Disability Action Hall attended the "Enough for All" report to community at the standing policy committee of Calgary City Council on Wednesday, July 5 2017 to be one of the many people asking our City Councillors its time to think about Basic Income as a solution. 

Among the many members who spoke to the impacts from 2016. For 2017, Brian Dodd from Engineers Without Boarders, Holly Robinson, and Disability Action Hall and Poverty Talks member Brad Robertson shared why the City needs to begin conversations with both levels of government about basic income.

Brian Dodd from Engineers Without Boarders
speaks about how the next step for Calgary is basic income.
Holly Robinson spoke about how basic income would have helped a great deal when she lived for three years inside the Witness Protection Program

Brad Robertson speaks of how good basic income design
also includes services, supports and medical needs.

Brian spoke about how a basic income is about all Calgarians having enough income to thrive and how it is part of the Enough for All Strategy. Brad spoke about how good basic income design includes supports, services and medical benefits.  

If you would like to learn more about this idea, check out the films and articles on the Basic Income Canada website. 

June 7, 2017

Join us for "What is Food Dignity?" Art Show

Members of the Disability Action Hall created a collaborative art piece to answer the question "What does food dignity mean to me?" The piece will be among 40 artists who have taken the time to share their thoughts about food dignity. 

The Hall is working in partnership with Antyx Community Arts and The Alex Community Food Centre and we can't wait to be at the art opening 

Thursday, June 8th from 6 to 8 pm 
and the show will be up for two weeks. 
The Alex Community Food Centre is located at 4909 - 17 Avenue SE. 

Food Dignity Art Show Opening June 8th!
Feel free to drop in whenever you can. 
There will be art, performances and of course FOOD!

Share with your art loving friends! 

(Please note- International Avenue is under some construction. The Food Centre is also close to the Sobey's and Dollarma on bus route 1). 

May 26, 2017

Media Advisory Speak Out 2017

Humanity and Me – Speak Out 2017 Media Advisory

Calgary Alberta for Friday June 2nd, 2017

Join us for a day of celebration, reflection and joy. You are invited to the 19th annual ‘Speak Out Festival’ hosted by the Disability Action Hall. ‘Humanity and Me’ is a celebration of disability rights, pride and culture movement in Alberta at the beautiful Lougheed House.
Speak Out 2017 at the Lougheed House

We begin with an outdoor drumming circle, self-guided morning tours, and noon-hour ceremony where we will be hear from honoured guests Honourable MLA Kathleen Ganley and MP Kent Hehr and many more community partners. The festival is a celebration of our past, present and future efforts. In the afternoon inside the Lougheed House, we will officially open up the pop up gallery, watch short films and have an afternoon tea & conversation about Bill 205 – The Disability Advocate bill hosted by the office of MLA Sandra Jensen & the Calgary Ability Network’s ‘Human Rights Group’. 

Who:          Disability Action Hall and community partners
What:         Humanity and Me – Speak Out 2017
Where:       The Lougheed House (707-13 Avenue SW)
When:        Friday, June 2nd, 2017 from 10 till 3 pm
Why:          Speak Out Festival - A celebration of Disability Pride, Culture and Human Rights in honour of 150+ years for Canada, 125 years for Lougheed House and 19 years for the Disability Action Hall. Politicians and special guests will be in attendance for noon hour welcoming ceremony.

Tickets available on Eventbrite

Contact:      Colleen Huston and Denise Young
Cells:          Colleen (4034733510) Denise (4035425301)
Website: for more details
Tickets:       Free for low-income (limited) register on Eventbrite
 $ 4 admission at the door (Support workers no charge)

May 19, 2017

A Disability Advocate- is it the magic bullet for systemic change?

It has been 6 months since the "Supporting Safe and Inclusive Lives" final report was released, a response to looking at the safety of Albertans with disabilities. (Link to the report) 

Politicians next week will also talk about 1 of the 11 ideas also known as 'Private Members Bill 205- Disability Advocate'. As the safety standards report states, it would be best if the disability advocate is independent and reports directly to the legislature.  We would also like to remind the government nearly 2000 Albertans were consulted and created the road map of ideas to what is needed to fix the problems. 

While private members Bill 205, (now a government bill as of this week) has opened the doors to shine a light on the issues, we ask our MLAs these three questions...

  1. What "action" has been taken since the Supporting Safe and Inclusive Lives" "report?  
  2. What are we doing to review the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program?
  3. Are the systems in place working well?

"Building Inclusive Lives Report" calls for an advocacy office outside of government
There is not just one simple elegant solution to a complex host of issues when Albertans shared the 11 ideas to fix the problems. 
Not one magical solution for a complex problem.
An action plan is need

All 11 ideas need funding and a timeline. We need an action plan.

We are grateful for the meaningful debate for the private members 'Bill 205 -Disability Advocate'. It is a step in the right direction. However, action is needed to review the systems in place. Hall members look forward to an update on the steps taken since the release of the report. 

We also look forward to having our say how a disability advocate may help on Friday, June 2nd, 2017 at the 'Humanity and Me' Speak Out 2017 held at the Lougheed House in Calgary from 1 to 3 pm. Tickets are on Eventbrite. All are welcome! 

April 25, 2017

Humanity and Me - a call out for history artifacts 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.
Call Out for Art and Artifacts celebrating disability rights, culture and pride

April 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.

March 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!

March 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.