The dawning of a new age for Canadians with disabilities

In a world of turmoil, we can’t afford to waste precious resources – particularly the leadership and ingenuity of people with disabilities

The dawning of a new age for Canadians with disabilitiesThe recently proposed Accessible Canada Act and the just released Senate report on essential fixes for Revenue Canada concerning the disability tax credit, Breaking Down Barriers, are stellar achievements for advocates with disabilities and the receptive politicians and public servants who listened. If both are implemented, they will remove the physical, social and financial barriers…

No guarantee of quality supports for disabled Canadians

The tangled web of disability governance and policy in Canada needs to clarified and centralized

No guarantee of quality supports for disabled CanadiansBy Jennifer Zwicker and Stephanie Dunn University of Calgary At a recent Senate committee hearing on the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) and the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), the father of a child with autism made a heartfelt plea and a chilling statement: “We are impacted by the inability to secure our son’s future. We…

What happens to our children with disabilities when we die?

Fix the Registered Disability Savings Plan and close the poverty gap of Canadians with disabilities

What happens to our children with disabilities when we die?Canada’s Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is the first poverty-fighting tool for people with disabilities in the world. This remarkable example of federal/provincial/territorial co-operation, created in 2008, has already changed the lives of more than 150,000 Canadians with disabilities. Unfortunately, the RDSP only reaches about 29 per cent of those eligible. And due to restrictions…

Disability tax credit falls short for too many Canadians

Why is the Canada Revenue Agency denying the tax credit to those who need it most?

Disability tax credit falls short for too many CanadiansBy Jennifer Zwicker and Stephanie Dunn University of Calgary “Providing benefits not burdens” is how former Health Minister Judy LaMarsh once described the vision for disability policy in Canada. Unfortunately, this vision is not a reality when it comes to one of the main benefits open to Canadians with disability: the federal disability tax credit…

Children with disabilities data out of date

We lack critical information on the diverse and often unmet needs of Canadian children with disabilities, as well as the out-of-pocket costs paid by families

Children with disabilities data out of dateBy Stephanie Dunn and Jennifer Zwicker University of Calgary “The true measure of a nation’s standing is how well it attends to its children, including their health, safety, material security, education and socialization, and their sense of being loved, valued and included in the families and societies into which they are born,” according to UNICEF.…

Over-medicating to manage behaviour is damaging and wasteful

It’s time to talk about the overuse of antipsychotics among adults with developmental disabilities

Over-medicating to manage behaviour is damaging and wastefulBy Yona Lunsky University of Toronto and Tara Gomes St. Michael’s Hospital Inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotic medications – drugs like Risperdal, Zyprexa and Abilify – to seniors, especially those in long-term care with conditions like dementia, has been a hot topic across Canada in recent years. We’ve also increasingly heard about the high numbers of these medications…

Assisted dying and the dark corners of history

We need to learn from the lessons of history when considering assisted dying for those with disabilities – no matter how unsettling that history may be

Assisted dying and the dark corners of historyHistory has a role in the national conversation about medically-assisted death, despite protests to the contrary. A respected physician and scholar recently stepped down as chair of the expert working group appointed to study the issue of advanced directives for medically-assisted death. Named to this position only two weeks earlier by the Council of Canadian…

Mental health system ignores those with developmental disabilities

Almost half of those with developmental disabilities are diagnosed with mental illness or addiction and are among the most frequent visitors to ERs

Mental health system ignores those with developmental disabilitiesBy Yona Lunsky University of Toronto and Robert Balogh University of Ontario Institute of Technology With the recent federal commitment to increase mental health funding across Canada, we need to turn our attention toward a group of individuals who are invisible within Canada’s mental health system – a group that has some of the greatest…