Persons with Disabilities Week
Progress has been made, but the provincial government feels there’s more to do for people with intellectual disabilities.
“We’re trying to be more responsible to people who have disabilities. I think we’ve made some significant progress in the area of improving the lives of people with disabilities,” said Daryl Stubel, executive director for the provincial disability issues office. “I think the government recognizes that while we have made progress, more work needs to be done ... and (work on) developing a long-term inclusion strategy.”
Tuesday was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the Government of Saskatchewan observed the day along with other jurisdictions in the world. The theme for this year is about breaking barriers and including everyone, as chosen by the United Nations.
“It’s an opportunity to recognize the contributions that people with disabilities make toward society. I think it’s an opportunity to ... celebrate and even reflect on the work that people with disabilities do in our community,” said Stubel.
“It’s an opportunity to raise awareness that we’ve got more work that needs to be done to make sure that people with disabilities are included and are taking their rightful place in society.”
He said it’s important to make sure people with intellectual disabilities have a job, get to work, raise families and do “everything that everyone aspires too.”
It also fits into Saskatchewan’s Disability Strategy, which focuses on a growth plan for people with disabilities. The strategy is to focus on goals mentioned in the 2012 and 2013 Speeches from the Throne while working with people with disabilities and community stakeholders.
“(The focus is on) things like housing, transportation, employment, education, support for caregivers and community inclusion, which can be a range of things from access to walkers and wheelchairs to the right to accessible voting to building standards,” said Stubel.
“So it’s pretty broad in nature, but there’s lots of, I think, issues in all these areas around accessibility and affordability and availability of some of these services for people with disabilities.”
Saskatchewan has observed the International Day of Persons with Disabilities for at least the past decade.
Special events in commemoration of the day took place in Saskatchewan on Tuesday. Diversity expert Denise Bissonnette held a session for employers in Regina relating to the subject and Saskatchewan’s Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program put on a luncheon in Saskatoon.
On Wednesday, the public service commission partnered with the provincial government to host a workshop relating to the Disability Support Network for government employees with disabilities.
“(It deals with) communication, respect, diversity,” said Stubel. ”It’s actually a pretty neat time of the year.”
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.