What are the some of the most important issues facing people with disabilities? We always hear about the many issues those with disabilities face and the list can be long. We would like to list a few of today's top barriers we come across in our advocacy.
1) Inaccessible physical environments and transportation
Issues identified in public spaces included: the lack of ramps, automated doors, accessible parking spaces, and main floor accessible washrooms. There were also issues with barriers such as plants and side tables being erected in enclosed public spaces, making it difficult for individuals with mobility related disabilities to access and navigate the physical environments where they obtain services. People with disabilities experienced inaccessible social service offices, healthcare settings, and government offices. Crosswalks and sidewalks also proved dangerous for many of the research participants. Treacherous conditions such as: crumbling municipal infrastructure, i.e., manholes with deep craters around the edges (in one instance resulting in a leg fracture); curbs not cut at a proper slant; and few crosswalks, with automated signals and buttons that are 15 often out of reach. These navigation issues were compounded in the winter by inadequate snow removal, making it difficult for people using mobility devices to use sidewalks, entrances, and driveways. The lack of accessibility and dangerous impediments to mobility in various forms of transportation was also identified as a serious problem.
2) Lack of affordable & accessible programming;
Many people struggled meeting rigid, “one size fits all” eligibility requirements or not qualifying because their incomes were just above low threshold limits for public supports.
3) Issues with income and disability supports;
Assistance rates are woefully inadequate and are seldom adjusted to account for an increase in the cost of living. Constant struggles to meet basic needs, such as food and affordable shelter, and to receive the supports they need. Much of the time many operate in survival mode.
4) Problems related to housing;
Challenges in obtaining and retaining safe and secure housing. Issues with landlord recognition of tenants’ rights are also a concern.
5) Organizations not complying with the “Duty to Accommodate”;
The duty to accommodate is an important protection for people with disabilities and has been part of human rights laws for many years. It refers to the legal obligation to take appropriate steps to eliminate discrimination that results from rules that can have an adverse impact on people with disabilities. It applies in the workplace when a rule, job requirement, policy, or practice results in a barrier for a worker with a disability. an example would be people sought disability accommodations in their workplace’s physical environment, with technology required to do their job, and in modifications to the hours of work to accommodate disability related needs. In many instances, these people reported that employers were unwilling to provide the necessary accommodations when requested
Advocacy matters, it makes all the difference where changes are needed. You have the right to reach out to the appropriate individual(s) with any concerns.