How to get involved: email your MPP

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Many parents, caregivers and individuals with disabilities are asking how they can get involved.  Here is an easy way to participate and become politically active from your computer or smartphone even. 

Writing an email/letter to your MPP is an excellent way to help move this political cause forward.    If  you need some guidance we attached below a sample letter with some suggested wording, Please customize your letter to your needs, and keep it simple.  One page is best as they receive many emails daily and you want yours to be read. 

Below is a link to Queens Parks MPP directory.    After sending your email/letter we suggest you follow up with a phone call in 3 business days if they have not responded especially important if your looking for a meeting with your MPP. 

We truly believe every single email, phone call and meeting  makes a difference.  

MPP ODC template letter

MPP Contact list and Directory

Sample Letter

Date
NAME OF MPP/PARTY LEADER
Address of Office

Re: Meeting request from (your name)

Dear MPP (First Name Last Name),

As a constituent in your riding, I am writing today to express my concerns with the government’s recent announcement on April 2, 2019, that the needs of anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 children, youth and adults with disabilities in Ontario will not be addresseduntil the government finalizes its Ontario Autism Program.

The stark reality is that all individuals with disabilities, irrespective of labels, require and are deserving of appropriate therapeutic interventions.   No individual should be forced to wait their turn for life-altering therapies while the government limits its focus to only one diagnosis.

The government needs to ensure that the

advantages being afforded to children with a diagnosis of autism through the OAP, such as access to Direct Funding Options for physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, are equally available to children, youth and adults with any other disability in Ontario.

To do otherwise is systemic discrimination.

[INSERT YOUR PERSONAL STORY HERE]

The government’s policies and practices towards individuals with any disability other than autism are devastating and discriminatory. Children, youth and adults with any disability need access to the appropriate intervention at the right time and with the appropriate intensity.

I look forward to meeting with you to discuss these issues and ways in which we can work collaboratively to ensure that all individuals with disabilities receive the appropriate, customized, and intensive intervention and they require.

Sincerely,

Your Name
Your Address
Your Contact Number

 

Petition for an Inclusive Ontario Disability Program

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We put together this petition in response to the thousands of families whose children, youth and adults with ALL disabilities were told to wait your turn.   We are asking you to stand in solitary with us because disability does not discriminate and neither should our government.

CALL TO ACTION: 

Please download, print, sign and mail this petition to Queen’s Park.
Attention MPP Monique Taylor 111 Wellesley St, W. Toronto ON M7A 1A4  

We realize this is old school but Queens Park rules requires hard copy petitions. All ages can sign but you must live in Ontario.

2019.04.08_PetitionToEndDiscrimination (1)

2019.04.08_PetitionToEndDiscrimination (1)

The Real Wait List: Minister Macleod tells over 50,000 children with disabilities in Ontario to “wait their turn”

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The Real Wait List: Minister Macleod tells over 50,000 children with disabilities in Ontario to “wait their turn”

TORONTO, ONTARIO – April 2, 2019– The Ontario Disability Coalition is dismayed at Minister Macleod and Minister Elliot’s announcement today that the needs of anywhere from 50,000  with disabilities in Ontario will not be addressed until the Government finalizes its Ontario Autism Program.

“The Government of Ontario’s continuing practice and policy of putting the needs of children with one type of disability, over the needs of every other child with a disability, is discrimination.  No child should be forced to wait their turn for life-altering therapies while the government continues to limit their focus to only one diagnosis”, says Sherry Caldwell, Co-Founder of the Ontario Disability Coalition.

The Ontario Disability Coalition will continue to advocate for the needs and rights of all individuals with disabilities in the Province of Ontario until the Government ends its policy of discrimination.

The time is now.

About the Ontario Disability Coalition

The Ontario Disability Coalition was founded to address and redress the ongoing and proactive discrimination of the Government of Ontario against persons with disabilities. It is a grassroots organization, comprised of thousands of concerned parents, caregivers, and persons living with disabilities in Ontario. We represent all disabilities, including Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, FASD, Rett Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Visual Impairments, Hearing Impaired, Chromosomal Abnormalities, and many other rare and unique disabilities.

MEDIA CONTACT:

For more information, please contact:

Sherry Caldwell, Co-Founder
Ontario Disability Coalition
Tel: (416) 903-5067

Email: sherry_caldwell@icloud.com
@ODCoaltion

For Immediate Press Release:   Ontario Government Discriminating Against Thousands of Children, Youth and Adults with Disabilities 

TORONTO, ONTARIO – March 31, 2019 – The Ontario Disability Coalition is extremely disappointed with the Government of Ontario’s decision to continue ignoring the needs of tens of thousands of children, youth and adults with disabilities across the province.

On the eve of changes to the Ontario Autism Program, children and youth with any other disability continue to receive zero dollars in Direct Funding for the therapies they desperately need to thrive and survive.

“All children, youth and adults with disabilities, regardless of label, need direct access to funding to support the very costly therapies and essential health services that they require for their basic survival. How much longer will they be neglected by the Government of Ontario? The inequity needs to end”, said Sherry Caldwell, Co-Founder of the Ontario Disability Coalition.

The Ontario Disability Coalition will continue to advocate for the needs and rights of all children, youth and adults with disabilities in the Province of Ontario until the Government ends its policy of discrimination. No one left behind.

About the Ontario Disability Coalition:
The Ontario Disability Coalition was founded to address and redress the ongoing and proactive discrimination of the Government of Ontario against persons with disabilities. It is a grassroots organization, comprised of thousands of concerned parents, caregivers, and persons living with disabilities in Ontario.

We represent all disabilities, including Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Chromosomal Abnormalities, FASD, Rett Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Visual Impairments, Sensory Processing Disorders, Hearing Impaired, and many other rare and unique disabilities.

MEDIA CONTACT:
For more information, please contact:
Sherry Caldwell, Co-Founder, Ontario Disability Coalition
Email: sherry_caldwell@icloud.com

Ipek Kabatas, Executive Member, Ontario Disability Coalition
Email: Ipekwellington@gmail.com
http://odcoalition.com
@ODCoalition
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Ontario Government Neglecting Children

The Ontario Government Plan now called the ‘Special Needs Strategy’ will neglect our children and youth with Special Needs.  It is just a Special Needs Tragedy.  
Eighteen years of study after study and the Ontario Government still wishes to waste money again on the issue rather than take proper corrective action.
The Special Needs Tragedy is NOT the action parents and caregivers who live everyday with a child with additional needs have recommended over these past eighteen years.  This is just another Government excuse they use to say we are doing something.
  • Money is wasted on studies when recommendations are not implemented. research is good if followed by recommended actions;
  • Money is being wasted on implementing a strategy which will fail to meet the needs of our disabled children and youth.

Meanwhile our Disabled Children and Youth continue to be neglected.


 

Ontario’s Special Needs Tragedy!

Failing Grade to Ontario Special Needs Strategy:

Ontario’s current model of Local Health Integration Network “LHIN” in-school therapy is rated an “F” by parents.  The government’s boasts that this will improve with their ‘Special Needs Strategy’.  All they are doing is adding service navigators we feel this will fail as NO additional funding has been provided!  It is a disaster waiting to happen.

Ontario is NOT using our Scarce Tax Money Wisely:

Ontario should be investing in Physiotherapists, Occupational therapists, as well as Speech and Language therapists. They need to work hands on with children and youth with ALL disabilities.  Many Special Needs Children, Youth and Adults can have a useful life and given the chance will be contributing members of society.  Children with multiple disabilities deserve substantial better care.

Champlain LHIN CEO agrees that therapy is consultative!  Therapy provided is not meant to help a child!

Parents must fight for hands on therapy as many are forced into debt,  depleting family bank accounts and taking out a second or even third mortgage.  Families become drained both emotionally and financially. 

Thank you Filipa and Paula for sharing your concerns.

#SpecialNeedsTragedy

 

The Special Needs Tragedy

 

Special Needs Strategy work has been going on for far too long – 4 years to be exact – with zero solutions or improvements felt by families. Although we recognized it was started with good intentions by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, over time it has sadly left families in crisis.

We feel the special needs strategy has been a waste of 10 million dollars, a waste of time, and a waste of public funding and resources.

Photo credit Money fight-  FritsAhlefeldt.com
Money Fight

In a number of areas across Ontario, the decision makers from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (CCAC/LHIN), lead agencies such as those who provide preschool speech and language services, the Ministry of Education (District School Boards) and the Ministry of Children and Youth (Children Treatment Centres) met each other endlessly in order to drive change and improvements and reach local consensus. However, they could not agree who would handle the funding. No party was willing to give up control of services, resources, jobs and, most importantly, funding in order to improve the fragmented and broken system for children and youth with special needs. The whole process was ruined by GREED.

Look to Windsor for an example of this. No agreement could be reached and the Ministry of Children and Youth had to send in a mediator.

Sadly there is still no resolution, leaving families in limbo. Some families are unaware of what services are available to them, while others sit on a waiting list. Years of chaos have continued for families and their children without complete coordinated services.

Parents should be capable of managing their children’s rehabilitation funding and may even be able to purchase more rehabilitation services privately. Parents could also choose to use their local Children Treatment Centre if they preferred direct service. They can’t right now, but they deserve this choice.

Ontario voters care about special needs children and youth, and all families expect fiscally responsible and equitable services and resources for children and youth with ALL disabilities. It is 2018 after all.

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Climbing a mountain

We, families with children and adults with disabilities, feel like we are climbing Mount Everest. We are just at different stages of the climb. When we bump into the right advocates, they help us move up to the next level and for a brief moment, we can admire the view, close our eyes and breathe. But all too soon, we have to resume the long, lonely ascent.

With the right supports, it could be more like this:

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A family feeling at peace

 instead of this

Photo credit Money fight-  FritsAhlefeldt.com
Money Fight

 

#NoChildLeftBehind #onpoli #SpecialNeedsTragedy

Sunday December 10, 2017 – The Ontario Disability Coalition is releasing this statement today which is the International Day of Human Rights.

The Hon Michael Coteau MPP, Ministry of Children and Youth Services has invested $500 Million Dollar into Autism Services.  While this is welcome wonderful news, they are leaving out thousands of children with disabilities in Ontario.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNUDHR) was established by the United Nations in 1948.  The Declaration outlines international laws that protect individuals’ civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights from birth, and are stemmed from ideologies of dignity and autonomy.

  • Article 1 of The UNUDHR upholds the rights of persons with disabilities, in stating that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
  • Article 2 specifies that this is not dependent on “race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status” or the “political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”
  • Article 3 highlights that “everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.”

These Articles establishes that parents and children with all disabilities have the same rights as parents and children with no such needs.

The UNUDHR Article 23 (2) states that, “everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.”  However, in relation to inequitable therapies and caregiving roles, parents of children with disabilities have dual roles as parents and caregivers, meaning they work as unpaid medical care providers.  These unpaid caregivers are providing therapy, nursing, medical, and social work care 24 hours a day.  Thus, the health and social system in Ontario is taking advantage of parents’ free labour to fill gaps in funding and services that should otherwise be provided by the Ministry of Child & Youth Services and Children Treatment Centres.

Further, Article 25, outlines that children with disabilities, and the caregivers of children with disabilities have a right to the same standard of living as everyone else: “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of [themselves] and of [their] family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability … or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond [their] control.”

However, parent surveys unveiled how they and their children’s human rights are constantly violated through Children Treatment Centres withholding and limiting access to therapy.  One of the key ways caregivers and their children are discriminated against in the rehabilitation system is in how the child’s needs are evaluated based on whether they can improve functional within a 6-week period compared to another less disabled child, rather than an evaluation based on the child’s individual needs. Most surveyed participants had difficulties in accessing timely and adequate rehabilitation therapies though, their children met the definition of children with disabilities as set by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.  Inability to access timely therapies and equipment results in social isolation, avoidable health inequities and inequalities, and a lower standard of living for children and their parents.  Not being able to access therapist presents a barrier from accessing needed equipment.  Children should not need to prove they can use the equipment before they get it, we know that children need time and practice to learn to use equipment such as walkers, wheelchairs, communication devices, to name just a few.

On Thursday, December 7th, 2017 the Minister Michael Coteau released a statement of the investment of $500 million dollars into Autism services.  Part of this investment is for a direct funding model for behaviour therapies for children diagnosed with Autism.  We have known that this announcement was coming out for months.  For months, we have asked this Ministry to ensure the policy framework included ALL children with disabilities in Ontario and to ensure that they ALL have equitable access to ALL therapies (OT/PT/SPL/AAC) through the same direct funding model.  Again, thousands of children in Ontario continue not to have access to therapy and equipment.  In the end, so many children are left behind.

  • Why does Ontario continue to be selective in which children they serve and which will remain unserved?
  • Where is the equal opportunity to life?
  • Where is the dignity?
  • Where is the equality?
  • Where is the equity?

We urge you to tweet Hon Michael Coteau MPP Ministry of Children and Youth Services / Anti-Racism Directorate at @Coteau, you may also contact his office by phone at 416-212-7432 and by email at  mcoteau.mpp@liberal.ola.org

We want #NoChildLeftBehind.

Lynda Reusse, CoFounder, Ontario Disability Coalition
Sherry Caldwell, CoFounder, Ontario Disability Coalition
Manda Krpan Mesic,  CoFounder, Ontario Disability Coalition
Geoffrey Feldman, Director, Ontario Disability Coalition
Samadhi Mora-Severino (PhD student), Advisor, Ontario Disability Coalition               Paula Tzouanakis Anderson, Advisor, Ontario Disability Coalition

Contact:  Tel:  416-903-5067  Email: OntarioDisabilityCoalition@gmail.com

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