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PRESS RELEASE: Budget 2022 Disability Inclusion Roundup - Priorities to Celebrate and Watch
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2022
OTTAWA, ON - Disability inclusion made an appearance in Canada’s budget, released last week. While Inclusion Canada will continue to advocate for government to promptly and aggressively address the priorities of people with intellectual disabilities and their families, we are encouraged by commitments to employment, healthcare, and housing.
Inclusion Canada is pleased to see a financial commitment for a coordinated national employment strategy for persons with disabilities, for which our federation has been advocating for a long time. People with an intellectual disability have only a 20% employment rate in Canada. This needs to change.
One of Inclusion Canada’s strategic priorities is access to healthcare. We are happy Budget 2022 makes a commitment to dental care, which will be available for people with disabilities in 2023. We anxiously await the addition of a national pharmacare program in Canada.
People with an intellectual disability have been experiencing a housing crisis for decades. Like everyone else, they need an affordable house in community where they can create a home. Unfortunately, people with an intellectual disability are often expected to live at home with their parents well into adulthood or be institutionalized in segregated, congregate facilities rather than be supported to have a home in community like everyone else. We are pleased to see measures that will address the housing crisis, though we are seeking a guarantee that Canada will not fund housing that congregates, segregates, or isolates people with an intellectual disability. More needs to be done to ensure that the National Housing strategy’s commitment to inclusive, affordable housing is realized.
“More than anything, I’m encouraged by Canada’s investment in the Opportunities Fund,” said Krista Carr, Executive Vice-President of Inclusion Canada, “People with disabilities are disproportionately unemployed and underemployed. We’re hopeful that a well-executed national employment strategy will support people with disabilities to enter and remain in the workforce in competitively paid employment and advance in their careers.”
“And, of course, I’m thrilled that Ready Willing and Able is part of that funding commitment.” Carr added.
The budget included a $20 million commitment to continuing and expanding Inclusion Canada and the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance’s Reading Willing and Able employment initiative.
People with disabilities, particularly people with an intellectual disability, have staggeringly high rates of poverty. The time has come to move quickly with the implementation of the Canada Disability Benefit. We strongly encourage the government to re-table the legislation that will enshrine the benefit into law and to move quickly to get agreements in place with P/T governments to get this benefit into the hands of people.
Robin Acton, President of Inclusion Canada, commented, “The priorities of our families aren’t luxuries. Action can’t happen soon enough when you’re waiting for your basic needs to be met or to get the support you need to live a fully inclusive life in community. This budget is heading in the right direction - I hope there’s more to come.”
Inclusion Canada looks forward to working with the Government of Canada and our disability partners to ensure that the full inclusion of people with a disability is a top priority in all government spending.