International day of persons with disabilities, we reclaim the dignity and well-being of people with disabilities

The Confederation of Organisms of Handicapped Persons of Québec (COPHAN)

The Confederation of Organisms of Handicapped Persons of Québec (COPHAN)

MONTREAL, Dec. 02, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Celebrated every year since 1992 at the initiative of the United Nations (UN), December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. It aims to promote understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. On this day, the Confederation of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities of Quebec (COPHAN) speaks on behalf of its 41 national and regional member organizations and groups of people with all types of functional limitations.

Many people are still looking for their inclusion

According to the Canadian Survey on Disability (CIS2017), approximately 1,053,350 Quebecers aged 15 and older have at least one disability. This is 16.1% of Quebec’s population age 15 and older considered second-class citizens. However, the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms of Quebec states in its article 10 that “everyone has the right to the recognition and exercise, in full equality, of the rights and freedoms of the person, without distinction, exclusion or preference based on race color, sex, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, marital status, age except as permitted by law, religion, political belief, language, national or ethnic origin, social status, disability, or use of a mitigate the disability.” Failure to comply with this article takes away the right to dignity and well-being of persons with disabilities.

People with disabilities forgotten 364 days a year

People with disabilities have been hit hard since the start of the pandemic. Also, the priority for people with disabilities, which existed several years ago in Quebec, has been relegated to the bottom of the pile of all priorities. These forgotten ones lead to perpetual confinement for some and a potential increase in institutionalisation. They don’t deserve to ”enter” because the government is not in prevention mode. Unfortunately, in recent years, many other priorities have overtaken the issue of people with disabilities in Québec to the detriment of their dignity and well-being.

The fragmented file of people with disabilities

In recent months, COPHAN has sent numerous requests for meetings with senior political leaders of the Quebec government. The answers obtained so far have been rather mixed, limited to contacts with the political staff of the various ministerial offices after multiple reminders. Politics should open its doors, we think in the first place, to groups such as people with disabilities who promote their inclusion, rather than financial wolves and corporate groups who only widen the wealth gap to their advantage while ignoring dignity and well-being of people with disabilities.

In Canada, there is a Ministry of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. In France there is the Ministry of Solidarity, Autonomy and Persons with Disabilities. In Quebec, the dossier is fragmented among many departments with no real interdepartmental coordination.

We mention the Ministry of Social Solidarity and Community Action, that of social services, those of the elderly and of health that deal with home assistance, accommodation, technical aids, etc. Then there are the ministries of labor (job placement), transport and sustainable mobility (adapted transport), education (scholastic integration), etc. There is also the Quebec Office for Persons with Disabilities (OPHQ) under the direction of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS), and numerous committees attached to various organizations and ministries.

In Quebec, therefore, there is a lot of integration and coordination work to be done for the inclusion of people with disabilities.

COPHAN’s priority files

Universal accessibility it is one of Canada’s top priorities and some provinces are moving in this direction with more determination than Quebec. Delays and gaps in universal accessibility directly affect the dignity, well-being, physical and mental health of persons with disabilities who are not afforded equal opportunities to participate in society or who are sometimes in near-perennial confinement.

Paratransit suffers from a resounding lack of political attention and funding, as well as suffering the perverse effects of Bill 17 (taxi), especially in the Quebec regions. For COPHAN, it is necessary to review the parameters of this program to ensure the provision of services, such as car conversion costs. This is an important issue of inclusion, safety, dignity and well-being of people with disabilities: without means of transport it is difficult to access health services, education, work and hobbies.

The cost of living and the impoverishment of people with disabilities are of vital importance. Incomes were tentatively indexed relative to other groups. Fundamental is the principle of compensation for additional costs associated with functional limitations. COPHAN is of the opinion that the passage of Bill C22, without amendments, is necessary. Quebec’s precedent with the Basic Income Program (BRP) should allow Canadian Disability Benefit (PCPH) to be implemented quickly. It should complement the PRB and enhance existing programs in Quebec and, if applicable, address the still remaining unanswered needs for the dignity and well-being of persons with disabilities. It is important to ensure that the province does not take advantage of the Canadian benefit to cut social programs or reallocate resources to other missions.

Home support (SAD) and quality of accommodation services are provided.
People with disabilities generally don’t want to live in a long-term care facility (CHSLD). They want to live at home as much as possible. However, Canada lags behind in this area and Quebec is at the bottom of the pack in domestic support among Canadian provinces. Inclusive people want to contribute to society without experiencing institutionalisation. The SAD is therefore an essential tool in this context, access to which is strongly desired with less bureaucratic hassle for the dignity and well-being of people with disabilities. The state must make it efficient, because a minority of the budget goes to direct field services. In the same perspective, an upward revision of the parameters for housing adaptation has been requested, as the amounts allocated are difficult to access and, in addition to being insufficient, date back to 1992 and take little account of the sharp increase in construction costs.

Together for inclusion

The Confederation of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities in Quebec (COPHAN), a non-profit organization established in 1985, whose mission is to make Quebec inclusive in order to ensure the full and complete social participation of people with functional limitations and their families . Its board of directors consists mainly of people with disabilities. It brings together more than 40 national and regional organizations and groups of people with all kinds of functional limitations.

For information: André Prévost, / telephone: 514-284-0155 ext. 1
COPHAN General Manager

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