Statement by CILT’s Wendy Porch to Mark the International Day of People with Disabilities 2020

By Wendy Porch, Executive Director

Today is the UN’s International Day of People with Disabilities (IPDP). This is an important day to celebrate the accomplishments of disabled people, which are achieved despite living in a world that was not built for us. The theme for this year’s IDPD is “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted the community of people with disabilities. We have seen the COVID-19 pandemic unearth ableist beliefs and structures. Unlike everyone else, people with disabilities in Ontario may be subject to a Triage Protocol that could see them de-prioritized for life-saving treatment in the event of a COVID-19 surge due only to having a disability.

Mobile COVID testing and flu shots for people with disabilities living in the community are not widely available. Access to PPE for people with disabilities who are not in receipt of community services remains difficult.

In the City of Toronto, many of the initiatives rolled out to address COVID-19 were implemented without consultation with the community of people with disabilities. Many were not accessible.

CILT works to amplify the voices of people with disabilities.  We believe ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ must also be the case for Building Back Better.

Help us to envision ‘a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World’  together through CILT’s IDPD Campaign starting today on Twitter and Facebook.

Throughout this week, CILT’s social media channels will feature videos from people with disabilities addressing the question “What does Build Back Better look like when it includes people with disabilities?”

Each day we feature a video produced by a person with a disability on topics of relevance to our community, including poverty, housing, healthcare and resilience.  We hope these videos help to elevate our voices and show that we have a lot to say about how ‘Build Back Better’ could be more inclusive of our community.

We encourage you to view, retweet and comment on these videos in the context of the IDPD and the UN’s goal to “Build Back Better”.  Add your voice to the discussion and help the world to see what we think an inclusive and accessible world, post COVID-19, looks like. Tag your posts with #IPDP2020 and #BuildInclusion to join in the conversation.

Wishing you and yours a glimpse of a post COVID world where we are all included.

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Wendy Porch, M.Ed

Executive Director

Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT)