Feb 06, 2015
Theresa Oswald’s positions on key disability issues that were announced yesterday afternoon included commitments, if elected as NDP leader, to take action to address each of the detailed matters raised by Barrier-Free Manitoba and Abilities Manitoba
We received an initial response from Theresa Oswald on the afternoon of February 4 and were asked not to post it until the next day as she was organizing a related media event the next day. We received a slightly revised version of her response on February 5 that we are pleased to post below.
February 5, 2015
Dear Abilities Manitoba and Barrier-Free Manitoba,
Thank you for your interest in the NDP leadership campaign and for your tireless efforts to build a fully accessible Manitoba. Your leadership and the advocacy of your members were instrumental in not only laying groundwork for, but also providing meaningful input into, the historic Accessibility for Manitobans Act. By working together in the coming years we can continue progress on our shared goal of building a fully inclusive society. Please see answers to each of your three questions below.
[Note: These responses have been enhanced from previous to include details of Theresaâ€™s plan unveiled in the attached news release dated February 5, 2015]
1. Introducing and passing the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) was a proud moment for all New Democrats. Theresa is committed to fully implementing the Act, including by ensuring the tabling of the Ministerâ€™s first annual plan in April 2015, supporting public sector bodies to complete their plans, enacting regulations relating to the Customer Service standard, working with the Accessibility Advisory Council to select the next area for standard development and completing two of these standards by 2016. We will also ask the Accessibility Advisory Council to lead a public process regarding compliance measures to be enacted in regulation to enforce those standards, which will include strong representation from the disability community. We will ensure both the Disabilities Issues Office and the Council continue to have the resources they need to lead the process of fulfilling the promises contained in the AMA, and a fund will be established to support individuals and non-profit organizations who wish to participate in the public consultation processes required under the Act.
2. Yes, Theresa supports changes in the Community Living sector which will allow for a stronger, better-trained and better-paid workforce delivering better co-ordinated services that better meet the needs of people with disabilities. As a member of Treasury Board, Theresa supported the $6 million fund to increase the wages of people who work as support workers, while recognizing that there is more to be done to increase the wages of everyone in this workforce. Thatâ€™s why Theresaâ€™s plan would at least double the fund, from $6 million to $12 million over three years. This will provide the capacity to now include both day program and respite workers along with rewarding experienced workers wishing to transition into supervisory positions with competitive wages. Expanding the fund will also allow for these workers to access more training and ensure they are compensated when they do. Theresa also believes in strong quality assurance standards in Community Living services and will work with these organizations to develop and implement new standards. As well, we want to continue to work with Abilities Manitoba and others to improve system co-ordination and address the gaps in services for people with disabilities by immediately taking action on the Five Priority Pathway plan. Theresa will also continue to identify the barriers to full participation for people with intellectual disabilities and work to remove them.
3. Manitoba is proud to be known as a centre of activism in the global struggle for the rights of people with disabilities. If elected leader, Theresa will seek to continue this reputation by developing and implementing an action plan to meet our obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Thank you,
Theresa Oswald | A different kind of leader