Monday, December 2, 2013

MHA says disabilities strategy falling short

For Immediate Release

December 2, 2013
 MHA says disabilities strategy falling short

St. John’s—As the province prepares to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities tomorrow, St. John’s North MHA Dale Kirby is pointing out that the much-touted provincial inclusion strategy is falling short.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a day to promote the rights of persons with disabilities and a better understanding of disability-related issues. The main theme this year is “Break Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all.”

Kirby points out that while the inclusion strategy announced in April 2012 committed to strengthening disability-related supports, there have been few notable improvements in assistance for students with disabilities.

“More than six years ago, the ISSP-Pathways Commission recommended the creation of new Teacher Assistant positions to help students with special education needs,” Kirby says. “Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province in Canada that does not have Teacher Assistants to help teachers meet the academic needs of students with special needs. Parents and teachers, and one report after another, have been calling for our province to catch up with the rest of the country.”

Kirby also points out that the status of funding for persons with disabilities from the Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities (LMAPD) appears to be in limbo. Earlier this month, Kirby asked the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills if recent LMAPD program applicants had their funding for post-secondary studies approved for 2013. There is some indication that very few, if any, received funding.

“I hope government will observe the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by doing far more to strengthen disability-related supports for students in the K-12 system and at the post-secondary level,” said Kirby. “Very few concrete measures have been put in place since the inclusion strategy was released.”

For more information, please contact:
Dale Kirby, MHA
Tel: 709-729-6921

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