The BC Government announced its commitment to “developing new laws, standards, and policies to better support” disabled people “to live with dignity and to meaningfully participate in their communities.” To help inform this process, the Broadbent commissioned a submission from writer and consultant, Gabrielle Peters, on the historical and contemporary contexts of the experiences of disabled people in B.C. and provided a guideline and list of recommendations for the province's impending disability framework.
The author would like to thank and acknowledge the direct contributions of Amina Yasin and Karen Ward to the report, as well as recognize the following, whose work inspired and informed the report: Sins Invalid, Gregg Beratan, Lydia X. Z. Brown, Sarah Jama, Talila A. Lewis, Mia Mingus, Andrew Pulrang and Alice Wong among countless others who carve space and seek justice for themselves, for others and for the future. This report was informed by the ten principles of disability justice.
Here are three key takeaways from the report:
Access to healthcare
“Disabled people, particularly those with chronic illness, face numerous and unique barriers in dealing with the healthcare system, a system which is a component of their life in a way that it simply is not for other British Columbians. Healthcare essential to the health and well being of disabled people such as physiotherapy, mental health counseling and therapy, dental care, hearing and others are not covered under the healthcare system. Many essential medications are not covered under pharmacare. Mobility and other equipment is either not covered or covered in an illogical way that doesn’t represent the needs of disabled people.”
“At the moment we are lacking a lot of basic information about disability in British Columbia. We need data that breaks down other data by race, gender, class, type of disability, LGBQT+2, marital status, etc. It is not enough to know how many disabled people are living in poverty we need to know which disabled people are living in poverty, which ones are employed, who is without housing, where in the province disabled people are working, what type of equipment they are using versus what they really require, what are their actual barriers to public space, transit and participating in society, etc.”
"Sometimes it seems there is an almost singular focus on employment and effort to turn disabled people into non-disabled people by bringing (some) into the non-disabled workforce. Framing legislation this way will further stigmatize and marginalize those disabled people who simply are not able to work in the competitive workforce. We need accessibility that includes other ways for disabled people to contribute and participate in society."
Read the full submission in accessible pdf format here.