Disability Community Hosts National Election Debate on Disability Issues

A coalition of over 25 disability organizations, including Autism Alliance of Canada*, are calling on the major political parties to attend a national election debate on disability issues on September 7, 2021.This debate, which is actively supported and coordinated by Autism Alliance of Canada, will give the major political parties the opportunity to share their vision and platform for the nearly 6.2 million persons with disabilities living in Canada. The debate will be hosted by Craig Oliver, the current chief political commentator for CTV and host of “Challenges & Change with Craig Oliver” on AMI.

Canadians with disabilities are far too often an afterthought of politicians and government. During the last federal election, no question was asked during the leaders debates about persons with disabilities or about creating a more accessible Canada. As a result, the community has taken it upon themselves to host a national and accessible debate, focused exclusively on people with disabilities.

The debate will take place on Tuesday September 7 at 7:00pm ET. The debate will be streamed on Facebook Live. The coalition has decided to set the eligibility for the debate based on the qualification set out by the Leader’s Debate Commission, and have invited the leaders from the Bloc Québécois, Conservative Party of Canada, Green Party of Canada, New Democratic Party and Liberal Party of Canada. The debate will be offered in English and French, and feature ASL, LSQ, and CART services.

This coalition of organizations has developed a series of questions to put forth in this election season. These questions are based directly from the priorities that emerged from our community over the last year and reflect shared priorities around improving the social and economic inclusion of Canadians with disabilities. Specifically, the following questions seek the stance of each party around reducing poverty, barriers, improving access to federal programs and services and fostering a culture of inclusion in everyday life for full citizenship.

  1. What is your party’s plan to bring people with disabilities out of poverty and how soon will your plans be implemented?
  2. How will your party work with the disability community and provincial/territorial governments to deliver  financial supports for working age Canadians with a disability that will not affect their other provincial/territorial supports and ensure that additional barriers are not created?
  3. If elected, how will your government work with the disability community and businesses to ensure there is a robust employment strategy for people with disabilities that focuses on supports for both people with disabilities and employers and ensures  meaningful employment for people with disabilities?
  4. At the beginning of the pandemic, people with disabilities needed financial support in a fair and timely manner.  How will your government work with the disability community to address the lack of direct financial support to people with disabilities so we do not experience this inequity during the recovery phase of this pandemic and when and/if their is another crisis?
  5. If your party is elected, will it commit to entrenching the Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and all of its articles into Canadian law?
  6. Significant barriers continue to persist for people with disabilities, their caregivers and loved ones whether they be a lack of physical accessibility, lack of accessible communication and attitudinal barriers.  What will you do to ensure that our society embraces the inclusion of people with disabilities in all communities across this nation?

*Autism Alliance of Canada was formerly known as the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (CASDA). For more information regarding our name change, click here.