People with disabilities deserve a ‘hand up’
Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to the leaders of all three provincial political parties, MHAs and federal MPs representing Newfoundland and Labrador, Poverty Reduction Strategy-NL and Disability Policy Office-NL.
I am Edward Sawdon and I have been living in Newfoundland and Labrador for 14 years. I am a mental health consumer, an ostomate, and a person with many physical health challenges and, in the past, I lived in poverty. I have been involved in poverty advocacy for many years and most recently was awarded the Governor General’s Caring Canadian award. Last year I received the CMHA National Consumer Involvement award.
Two groups especially impacted by poverty in the province are people living with physical disabilities and persons with serious mental health issues. These groups are some of the province’s most vulnerable and if a provincial budget is not designed to take care of the most vulnerable, who is it designed to take care of? An easy way to help would be to stop the current practice of people with disabilities having to apply to many different departments to attain services. What people with disabilities really want is a ‘hand up.’
Five specific ways that could drastically decrease poverty in Newfoundland and Labrador would be to increase Income Support Rates and to index those rates to inflation; extend Ostomy Supplies Coverage for those ostomates who are on the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program’s access and assurance plans; and to provide more affordable housing. The provincial government should also push the federal government on a policy like Guaranteed Annual Income to ensure that every Canadian can live in dignity as well as support for a national pharmacare program.
Two groups especially impacted by poverty in the province are people living with physical disabilities and persons with serious mental health issues.
— Edward Sawdon writes from St. John’s