"So many dreams at first seem impossible. And then they seem improbable. And then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable."
~ Christopher Reeve

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Simple Truths

And so we come to the end of one year and the beginning of yet another.

A time when some will care to make resolutions as to what and how they will do things differently in the new year. To be followed by a time when many of those grand plans will fall by the wayside.

May I suggest that instead of New Year's Resolutions, we strive to follow and remember these simple truths.

Simple. Beautiful. Timeless.

Check them out and see if they might fit your life. I know they do mine.

Monday, December 22, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Animated ...

'Tis the season (to be busy).

That and some very sad news on the homefront recently caused me to miss the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. But we will make up for that regrettable state of affairs with this animated video.



Better late than never, as they say.

H/T to Law Eddie

Update: I would be remiss not to mention that in observance of the Anniversary, with the assistance of the various Community Living Associations across the country, letters were written to Amnesty International by Canadians from coast to coast to Coast concerning the continued institutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities in Canada.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Obesity as a Disability

And now for something a little different ...

You will recall our previous discussions around the release earlier this year of a landmark decision by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) concerning the right of individuals with disabilities to travel by air without having to pay for a second seat, for an attendant or other use, to accommodate their disability.

I am pleased to grant the request of Ms. Kelly Kilpatrick to write a guest post on a slightly different aspect aspect of this decision, as set out below.

After all, the issue of who is included and who is exluded from participation in a particular group is certainly one that strikes a chord among the disability community. But what about the question of who exactly is included by the term "disability"?

Something to think about ...

Obesity as a Disability

I almost don't want to touch this one because it's such a hot button issue for so many. The Canadian Supreme Court ruled that is requiring airlines based in that country to accommodate disabled and obese passengers when they need an additional seat or an attendant to accompany them.

The Supreme Court of Canada had refused to hear an appeal from Air Canada, upholding a Transportation Agency ruling ordering carriers to charge all passengers the same fare and not make people pay extra when they need an additional seat for medical reasons.

Whether or not obesity should be defined as a disability in legal terms remains hotly contested. Many feel the obese are NOT disabled because for the vast majority of obese people, there is no medical reason for their obesity. Their size is largely due to high-calorie diets and low activity levels.

There is no doubt that the debate over the obesity issue as a medical condition will only continue to grow as the battle over coveted and expensive airline seats rages on.

Obese people are getting more of the treatment reserved for the disabled. Many are able to secure handicapped parking permits and preferred parking. There have even been some cases where obese people attempt to sue for disability payments. But is this fair? After all, obesity is not caused by an injury or disease (yes, obesity is itself a disease). There are many corresponding and disabling conditions associated with obesity that cause significant mobility impairment and some conditions that can be fatal if not controlled.

But, what makes a person disabled? Is it merely the fact that, no matter how you got to that point, there are things you can no longer do or activities for which you require extra assistance?

The issue of obesity-caused disability will only worsen as time goes on and the number of obese Canadians skyrockets. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions and we, as a nation, will need to decide if accommodating the limitations people place on themselves by being obese make sense or if they only enable those suffering from it.

By-line:
This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of a
nursing assistant. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Last One Standing ...

Sometimes there is pride in being in the position of the Last One Standing. Alas, today there is none.

Although happy to report that New Brunswick is now the 9th province to exempt the RDSP in some form**, I am even more disheartened to see that this effectively leaves Nova Scotia ias the very last Province to deal with this most important issue.

In this there is no pride.

What will it take to make it happen here?

** New Brunswick has not only completely exempted the RDSP as an asset and allowed $800 in income from an RDSP (which figure will be adjusted to the LICO) but has also improved their regulations to allow for up to $200,000 to be placed in trust for a disabled person and will now treat other trust income in a similar way as RDSP income. **

Update: Full Press Release can be found here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

You've Got To Be Kidding

Prince Edward Island has joined the ranks of the enlightened in at least partially exempting the RDSP from the bureaucratic nightmare known as social assistance benefits.

That makes eight, count them, eight provinces which have in some form or another exempted the RDSP from affecting disability benefits. Leaving only two provinces as holdouts.

Yup, you guessed it ... Nova Scotia is now among the two lone holdouts.

Just how sad is that?

Monday, December 1, 2008

You Heard It There First

Good news indeed ~ Doug, at the RDSP Blog, tells us that Manitoba, Alberta and most recently, Ontario, have all joined the bandwagon in completely exempting the RDSP.

And as if that weren't enough, Quebec has now partially exempted the RDSP from affecting disability benefits.

That means, in the case of Quebec, although an RDSP can grow to an unlimited amount without affecting Disability Benefits, payments from the plan will be only partially exempted from affecting provincial disability benefits. Individuals will be allowed to withdraw $300 in income a month for an individual adult, and $340 in income a month for a couple, without disability benefits being affected. Anything above that threshold will be considered income and may disqualify or cause funds to be clawed-back from current benefits.

Okay, perhaps not 'picture perfect' in the case of Quebec. But still...

Just in case anyone is actually keeping track, that makes seven provinces which have in some form or another exempted the RDSP from affecting disability benefits (with Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, the Yukon and British Columbia completely exempting them) and a partial exemption in Quebec.

Let's see, when I went to school Canada had 10 provinces and 2 territories. So I believe that would mean we currently have 10 provinces and 3 territories. With six seven provinces and one territory having already exempted the RDSP, that leaves three provinces and two territories to weigh in.

Three provinces and two territories, you say... let me see, would that leave Nova Scotia, New Bruswick,Prince Edward Island, Nunavet and the Northwest Territories as the remaining holdouts? Yes, I believe it would.

Did I mention Nova Scotia?
Still holding out ... afraid to come to the party, it would seem.

It's enough to make a girl's heart sad, it is. Will we never see the light?