Following an invitation from the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, to consult local constituents about their suggestions and ideas for new national accessibility legislation, my team and I have created this report of input received at two Town Hall meetings – the first on January 19th at the Evinrude Centre, and the second on January 20th at Mark Street United Church. Both meetings took place in the City of Peterborough.
We heard about experiences and issues that are cross-cutting and interconnected: employment, housing, health, transportation, and adequate income. They are the responsibility of actors and institutions at the local, provincial and federal levels of government, as well as in both public and private spheres. It became clear that solutions must be pursued through coordinated efforts and in partnership with community-based and front-line organizations, governments, and the individuals most affected.
Undertaking this consultation process has already raised awareness and created a cultural shift among my own office and staff. From the initial meeting with volunteer advisors who themselves live with disabilities, to working in partnership with the local municipal government as well as community-based service and advocacy groups, and then hearing from a wide range of community members, we have learned a great deal and we will move forward in acting on what we have heard.
I strongly encourage any organization or workplace that has not already done so to begin the process – reach out to individuals who experience both visible and invisible disabilities to start a conversation.
Thank you to everyone who attended the meetings, and thank you to Minister Qualtrough for considering the input of the constituents of Peterborough-Kawartha.
Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P.