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Advocacy & Rights during COVID-19

Shared Health published an Ethics Framework to help aid decisionmaking during the pandemics. This may be particularly helpful in advocating for treatment, accessibility and supports for people with disability when accessing health care. It can be found at  https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/covid-19-shared-health-ethics-framework.pdf

Statement from the Canadian Human Rights Commission – COVID-19 Putting Disability Rights at Risk https://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/eng/content/statement-covid-19-putting-disability-rights-risk?utm_source=Email_marketing&utm_campaign=Jan_21_2020&cmp=1&utm_medium=HTMLEmail

Call to Action:  https://abilitiesmanitoba.org/covid-19-and-disability:-recommendations-to-the-canadian-government-from-disability-related-organizations-in-canada/

Adapted by Communication Disabilities Access Canada with permission from CommunicationFirst

Patients with COVID-19 (coronavirus) who need communication tools and supports due to speech-related disabilities face greater risks of discrimination and isolation during this pandemic. For example, for safety reasons, your family members and others who help you communicate may not be allowed to join you in the hospital. You also may face other barriers to communicating your needs and desires while you are being treated. 

Your Rights It is important for you to know that your legal and civil rights to access your communication supports do not go away during an emergency, in quarantine, or in the hospital. 

This Toolkit:

  1. explains your communication rights
  2. provides tips on advocating for them, and
  3. has an accommodation request form you can bring to the hospital

Toolkit can be found here: https://www.cdacanada.com/resources/covid-19-communication-rights-toolkit/

Manitoba Human Rights Commission  issued the following document: http://www.manitobahumanrights.ca/v1/education-resources/resources/pubs/guidelines/covid19principles.pdf


Canadian disability organizations published a call to action that identified multiple recommendations related to the impact of COVID-19 on people with disabilities

Recommendations and text can be found here: https://archdisabilitylaw.ca/covid-19-and-disability-recommendations-to-the-canadian-government-from-disability-related-organizations-in-canada-march-24-2020/

ARCH disability law sent an Open Letter to the Ontario Government raising concerns, and making recommendations for reform, to Ontario Health’s Clinical Triage Protocol for Major Surge in COVID Pandemic. In total, the letter is supported by 204 disability and community organizations and 4828 individuals. You can find it here:



Letter from Include-Me.ca:

On April 7th, 63 Canadian disability organizations sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister Qualtrough, Minister Hajdu, all territorial and provincial premiers, ministers of health and chief bureaucrats asking to not use these discriminatory practices and offered rights-based guidelines.

On April 9th, we started a letter writing campaign: STOP the discriminatory triaging of people with disabilities. To date, 28,485 letters have been sent to the same government officials listed above. Thanks to all of you who signed. There is still time to send a letter if you so desire.

On the same day, we received our one-and-only response from the Ministry of Health in Saskatchewan informing us that “there are no plans in place to restrict testing or treatment due to a person’s age, race, physical or mental abilities.”

Minister Qualtrough advised the newly formed Covid-19 Disability Advisory Group that she and Minister Hajdu sent a letter April 14th to provincial and territorial ministers regarding the equitable and accessible provision of medical treatment and care for people with disabilities in this time of pandemic response. With this letter, she attached the letter from April 7th from the 63 disability organizations.

Now, we need your help again. For the most part, health care is a provincial/territorial issue. We urge you to contact your Memeber of your Provincial/Territorial Legislature and tell them to not use discriminatory triaging of people with disabilities.

Letter was signed

Krista Carr, Canadian Association for Community Living
Bill Adair, Spinal Cord Injury Canada
Maureen Haan, Canadian Council of Rehabilitation and Work
Steven Estey, Council of Canadians with Disabilities

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