Fighting for a National Assistance Program for Canadians with Disabilities
The petition has been tabled by the House of Commons. To review the discussion, please visit here.
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I first started my petition on Change.org back in November 2015 after writing a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau asking him to implement a National Assistance Program for Canadians with Disabilities. The purpose of the petition is to implement legislation that will provide all Canadians living with a disability with the equipment and services they require to live functional lives. This directly complements the impending Canadians with Disabilities Act (CDA)- which aims to create an accessible and inclusive Canada – as such a program would help to fulfill that purpose by providing the supports necessary to allow all Canadians living with a disability to contribute to society regardless of ability.
Shortly after creating the petition, I was contacted by an organization called Every Canadian Counts that was undergoing a similar initiative and wanted to help promote the petition. I later found out from a friend on Facebook that I could send the petition directly to the House of Commons and began to research the process. The House of Commons has an online guide to electronic petitions, which you can find here, that I found to be a great starting point for my petition and I think it could benefit anyone else who is planning to create their own petition.
Once I had familiarized myself with the petitioning process, I got in touch with some of my contacts through Muscular Dystrophy Canada, Every Canadian Counts and a couple of other organizations, and asked for their support with the petition. Everyone was more than happy to lend their support and before I knew it I had gotten the five supporters I needed to start the petition. All that was left to do was get the petition sponsored.
I had originally planned to have the petition sponsored by Carla Qualtrough, the Federal Minister of Sport and Disability, but I later found out that Ministers are not allowed to sponsor petitions. Upon receiving the bad news, I decided to call my local Member of Parliament (South Shore-St. Margaret’s, Nova Scotia), Bernadette Jordan, and ask if she would sponsor the petition. She agreed, and once it had been published we met in person to discuss our next steps. A week later I was contacted by Minister Qualtrough’s office to discuss some of my ideas from the petition.
I am very proud to have started this petition and I look forward to attending the National Disability Youth Forum next month, as part of the consultation process for the CDA. We are living in an exciting time for persons with disabilities, which is why I think it’s very important that people support this petition. The Government of Canada has committed to implementing a Canadians with Disabilities Act, opening the door to historic change within the disabled community, and this petition is a great way to be part of that change. I also believe that everyone should get involved in governance and advocacy because being proactive is the only way to create change.
I am confident we will reach our goal of 500 signatures very soon!
Update: I have recently attended the National Youth Forum as part of the Government consultations for the Canadian Disabilities Act. It was an informative and productive day – I even had the chance to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau! Look for my blog post about the day coming soon!
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Join Alex and let the Government of Canada know that a National Disability Assistance Program for Canadians with chronic disabilities is an important issue by signing the petition here.
Alex is a 24 year-old Nova Scotian living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He spends much of his time volunteering and advocating for persons with disabilities, and he never says no to a challenge.