I live with Muscular Dystrophy and in 2017 I had the honor of writing a report for the NewBrunswick Common Front for Social Justice entitled Disability & Deep Poverty in NewBrunswick (see https://bit.ly/3xV0v3o). What I have found from my personal experience andfrom talking to lots of people living with a disability in New Brunswick is that:
- Social assistance for people with severe disabilities in this province is so low(way below the deep poverty line) that unfortunately many are not even able to meettheir basic needs of food, housing, clothing, and transportation.
- Barrier-free units currently being built in newer apartment buildings do not always comewith a rent subsidy, making them unaffordable for many people living with mobilitydisabilities. Too many people are also on waiting lists for rent subsidies. That sadlycreates two classes of poor in NB: those with a rent subsidy and those without. Portablerent subsidies should be available to ALL who qualify due to low income.
- I have heard from some trying to get back to work that it was not worth itfinancially because they were now asked to contribute way too much towards the costof their medical equipment, medications, and home care services that left them worseoff than if they had just remained on social assistance.
- Finally, as far as para-transit services go, the level of service is just not enough to meetthe demand. There are not enough para-transit vehicles on the road. The hours ofoperation are often less than those of regular transit. Para-transit also often costspeople more than regular transit. This is not fair!
Changes are needed in this province to better support people living with disabilities.The status quo is not an option! I have heard of people with disabilities committing suicideover not having access to the appropriate supports… It is not OK to treat people living withdisabilities worse than incarcerated inmates. Prisoners, to my knowledge, are afforded awarm place to stay and three meals per day. That should be the minimum. We can dobetter than this New Brunswick!