Island New Democrat interim leader James Rodd and party organizer Zain Esseghaier made a recent presentation to the P.E.I. Disability Review Committee, forwarding 11 recommendations to the panel as the committee enters phase two of the consultation process.
“During our consultation process Island New Democrats met with a number of different community support groups cutting across the spectrum of physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as family members, and persons of varied ability,” said Rodd.
He and Esseghaier, with their recommendations, spoke about the deficiencies in the Disability Support Program (DSP), and the themes that permeated their discussions with Islanders in their presentation.
Among other recommendations are calls for:
— The establishment of a province-wide building code that allows accessibility for those of varied ability in all public and private buildings and homes.
— The removal of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) from the Department of Social Services and Seniors to the Department of Health.
— Changing the term use to define people with disabilities, from disabled to persons of varied ability.
“At the moment, Islanders of varied ability represent 15 per cent of our population. Island New Democrats estimate the percentage of people employed within the public service at the moment to be 1.25 per cent, we hope to see positive change on the Disability Support Program,” said Rodd.
Esseghaier said that the system is based on budget restraints rather than the needs of Islanders.
“Instead of having each client fit into the DSP’s conceptual box, Islanders are in need of a program that can properly assess each individual on the basis of their condition.”