An advocacy group wants to talk about what a Disability Act would look like for the province.
Brent MacPherson is the president of the N.B. Coalition of Persons with Disabilities (NBCPD).
He says the coalition got kickstarted when financial assistance during the pandemic for persons with disabilities was lumped into a bigger bill which was defeated in the House of Commons.
“Persons with disabilities felt that like a slap. They did not feel that their governments cared about them. So we advocated for that top-up to happen even though that’s only a drop in the bucket. There are so many other things that need to be changed and need to happen,” he said.
The key issues the NBCPD advocates for include guaranteed income, affordable and accessible transportation in rural and urban areas, disability supports, and affordable accessible housing for persons with disabilities.
MacPherson says right now the coalition is addressing difficulties with New Brunswick’s household income policy. Social assistance for a person with disabilities in New Brunswick nets them less than $10,000 a year versus in Alberta where they get roughly $20,000.
“If someone with a disability getting supports from the province decides they fall in love and they decide to get married, they could lose all those income supports,” he said.
MacPherson says these items need to be changed and the best way to get there is with a disability act.
He says British Columbia could be the next province with an act for people with disabilities due to their recent progress.
“There’s a difference between lip service and maybe a government or an agency or a board or anything to say that they accommodate an abundance of areas for persons with disabilities but to actually have a law that abides everyone to it, is a major big step in the right direction and the right thing to do,” said MacPherson.
The Accessible Canada Act came into effect in 2019.
The NBCPD is holding a zoom call at 2 p.m. Thursday to discuss a Disability Act for New Brunswick. The public is invited to use the Zoom meeting ID 82113515017 to attend.