“Employment, employment, employment” and Ableism

Sit Down, Fight Back

I’m going to get right to the point here. An increased minimum wage is not harming disabled people. It is however doing a great job at highlighting the ableist and saneist bias that continues to exist within employment in Ontario and social services.

When Bill 148 was still being debate, there were some who used disabled people to make a shameful and disgusting argument against raising the minimum wage, because they felt that employers would not want to pay a disabled person $14 or $15 per hour. Mark Farber is one such person.

People in the disability community might remember Farber. He received a number of accolades and significant publicity for hiring people with disabilities at his business (which just happened to be a Tim Hortons franchise). He now works as a public speaker encouraging employers to hire people with disabilities. He just doesn’t think they’re worth the new minimum…

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White banner with Together we Succeed! written in green

Accessibility Now Rally: October 11th

Join us Wednesday, October 11, 2017 starting at 4pm at Yonge & Bloor (north east corner) as Community takes to the streets to advocate for #accessibilityNOW

 

The list is extensive concerning barriers that TTC maintain/create thus breaching the AODA, Human Rights Code, Charter of Rights & Freedoms.  Here are 8 that reflect an overall concern:

 

  • Structural/Discriminatory Barriers – Presto Gates – the 1 or 2 installed in a station are significantly less than the inaccessible gates that are installed in the same station (think 1960s drinking fountains: ‘whites only vs colored’)

 

  • Psychological Barriers – doing the very least so it can be said it was done – installing the least number of elevators (usually 1) in subway stations in order to claim/identify that that station is accessible. When that 1 elevator is no longer working, that station is no longer accessible.

 

  • Attitudinal Barriers – failing to be proactive about ensuring that bus drivers follow policies about deploying ramps, allowing passengers using wheelchairs on first, stop between stops, etc…

 

  • Policy & Practices Barriers – failing to recognize the dignity, independence and rights of all patrons including people identified as having ‘disabilities’. IMO, “disability” is really created by the systems/systemic barriers that perpetuate the construction of barriers that disregard the fundamental humane rules of recognizing the humanity of individuals in society and their right to freely participate in all aspects of life.

 

  • Communication Barriers: – failing to provide inclusive signage

 

  • Technology Barriers – failing in providing clear inclusive announcements, information and messaging

 

  • Organizational Barriers -failure to ensure access to accessible transportation when rerouting takes place

 

  • Architectural Barriers – not demonstrating that accessibility is a priority and more importantly, that it is a right- not an option!

 

Join us starting at 4pm at Yonge & Bloor (north east corner) on Wednesday, October 11, 2017.  Bring some friends too.  We had a crowd come out last year.  We expect a bigger crowd this year as more people recognize the need to organize and come together collectively to advocate for and protect our rights!

 

Together we succeed!

 

The #accessibilityNOW rally starts at 4pm and ends at 7pm but afterwards, in solidarity, we plan to head up to Yonge and St. Clair (by subway) to 25 St. Clair Ave. East to show some support to our Community members who have been holding a vigil for over two months to bring attention to the suicide crisis of Indigenous youth.  We want to lend our support reminding them that we are in solidarity with them; we acknowledge what they are doing and what is being done to Indigenous communities across Canada.

 

If you are to be picked up by Wheel Trans, we suggest a pick up time around 8:45pm or later depending on how much time you plan to spend at the vigil in front of 25 St. Clair Ave. East.

 

Together we succeed!

A picture of the 2016 organizing team: Kevin, Melissa, Janet, and Beverley

We Set Up a Fundraising Page!

Go to the Fundraising Page or Donate by Paypal.

What many people do not realize about the march is that most of the costs come out of the pockets of the organizers. We don’t have the resources to seek permanent funding at this point, and we would not accept funding that would restrict our advocacy work.

The funds we use cover things like:

  • Accessibility needs like ASL and attendants
  • Transit fare for those who need it.
  • Coffee and snacks, also known as critical marching fuel
  • We are also planning on setting up an award in Beverley’s honour.

We need your help to make this year’s march the most awesome yet. Please share what you can today!

We would also like to hear from those in our community who don’t have money to spare, but would like to volunteer, or come on out to the march.

Thank you for anything you can give to keep us marching. See you at the 2017 Toronto Disability Pride March!

Our Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs regarding Bill 148

Fight for $15 and Fairness Logo

More information on the Fight for 15 & Fairness and Bill 148.

July 20, 2017

Attention: Mr. Eric Rennie, Clerk of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs

Re: Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs regarding Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017

Dear Mr. Rennie,

I’m writing to you on behalf of the Toronto Disability Pride March, an organization founded to bring attention to the rights and oppression of people with disabilities. Among Ontarians, people with disabilities are more likely to live below the poverty line, with low wage, precarious work, if we can find it all. We are appalled by opponents of this Bill who have cited people with disabilities as an excuse to keep wages low, or have insinuated that people with disabilities do not want or deserve a living wage.

Workers across Ontario, including those with disabilities, have made it clear that too many of us are working for low wages in part-time, temporary or contract jobs without employment benefits, workplace protection or the right to form, and keep, a union. For too many Ontario workers, full time work does not guarantee a life above the poverty line. Income and job insecurity keep us from making ends meet.

The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (Bill 148) introduces many important changes to address Ontario’s outdated labour laws. The proposed changes in Bill 148 to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and Labour Relations Act (LRA) provide a good start to addressing precarious work to deal with changing workplace practices. However, we are calling for amendments to Bill 148 to ensure it can close the gaps and raise the floor of minimum standards for the highest possible number of workers in Ontario.

Millions of workers (and their families) in this province are waiting to see how your committee will pave the way to strengthen our archaic labour laws. We are calling on you to reject suggestions that will make work more precarious, under the guise of enabling flexibility for the kind of business practices that continue to exert downward pressure on the wages and working conditions of all of us. The bulk of evidence shows that decent work is the foundation of a strong economy, better health outcomes, and reduced inequality. We disagree with those who suggest otherwise.

Our organization fully supports the recommendations and amendments put forward in the submissions by: the Workers’ Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services, Decent Work and Health Network, Migrant Workers’ Alliance for Change, Injured Workers’ Consultants Community Legal Clinic and the Ontario Federation of Labour as part of the Fight for $15 and Fairness.

Sincerely,

Melissa Graham, Founder

Toronto Disability Pride

Freeing our people: Updates from the long road to deinstitutionalization

An important article co-authored by a TDPM supporter

One of our march supporters co-authored this important article for The Monitor, and we think you should check it out.

Here’s a short piece of the article:

Imagine.

You are told when you will go to bed, when you will eat, and what you will eat.

You are denied a key to your own home, or to have visitors.

You are coerced or forced into sexual sterilization, for “your own protection.”

You’re informed the hours you spent shredding paper over 10 years are just a form of “training,” and that you don’t deserve even a minimum wage for this work.

You are told how to vote, or that someone else will vote in your place because you aren’t capable of making rational decisions.

You’re told you have “the mentality of a child.”

You are told you should never have been born.

It’s hard to imagine any adult being treated this way. But these are the insults faced every single day by people with intellectual disabilities. Under the guise of protecting them, many provinces practise intense forms of segregation that expose people with intellectual disabilities to degrading and abusive treatment.

Natalie Spagnuolo Kory Earle
JULY 4, 2017

A plain language version of the article is also available.