NUPGE Celebrates National AccessAbility Week 2024

NUPGE - Unions for Public Good

National AccessAbility Week is an annual event that begins on the last Sunday in May. This year, National AccessAbility Week runs May 26 to June 1, 2024.

NUPGE is proud to celebrate National AccessAbility Week with our members with disabilities and remains a committed ally to disrupting ableism and working towards a society where people with disabilities can participate fully.

At least 8 million people in Canada have a disability, though that figure is likely higher due to underreporting. Of those 8 million people, 70% (or 5.6 million) encounter barriers because of their disabilities. 41% of low-income Canadians have a disability, and 16.5% of Canadians with disabilities (1.5 million) live in poverty. Having a disability isn’t a monolithic experience. Ability is just one aspect of a person’s identity and intersects with their race, ethnicity, sex, sexuality, gender, age, and more.

Accessibility work is always in progress; the needs of co-workers, employees, and clients change, as do assistive technologies. Accessibility isn’t a nicety or a favour; people with disabilities have a right to ask for accommodations.

But accommodations aren’t the be-all and end-all of accessibility. Having a ramp that allows workers with disabilities to enter your building doesn’t guarantee that those workers will be safe, heard, seen, and treated as if they’re part of the team.

As stated in our Budget 2024 Analysis, it is fantastic to see the Canada Disability Benefit finally included in the budget. But a maximum annual benefit of $2,400 will barely make a dent when people are paying more than $1,000 a month in rent and the cost of groceries is out of control. All levels of government must do more to help people with disabilities by investing in accessible public housing, increasing support payments, investing in health care, and working with employers to make workplaces accessible.