We’ve got a big issue on our hands.
If COVID-19 wasn’t frightening enough, now guidelines are being written across the country that put people with disabilities at further risk.
You may have seen open letters already in your provinces about discriminatory triaging. Discriminatory triaging means a person with a disability can be denied lifesaving healthcare based on their disability.
These practices must be stopped immediately.
People with disabilities and Deaf people urgently need rights-based, non-discriminatory guidelines for provision of health care in this pandemic.
In our open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister, Hadju, Minister Qualtrough and all the Provincial and Territorial Premiers and Health Ministers we offered the following guidelines:
The assessment, provision, and evaluation of health care must be conducted with full accessibility and equality of communication, including the provision of qualified professional Sign language interpreters for people who are Deaf and intervenors for people who are Deaf-blind.
Assumptions about the current or future quality of life a person with a disability, are not a valid reason to deny access to health care for COVID-19.
Existing disability-related conditions unrelated to the chance to benefit from treatment must not play any part in decisions about access to health care.
The need for and use of disability-related supports and anticipated future costs of those supports must not play any role in assessing for access to treatment.
A person’s need for support to make health care decisions must not be used as a reason to limit or deny access to needed treatment.
Guidelines for assessing, providing, and evaluating health care must be developed with organizations of people with disabilities and their families.
If you want the Canadian federal government and all provinces and territories to apply these guidelines into their policies for providing medical treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, tell them so now.
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
Send a letter to the federal government and the provincial and territorial governments at: https://www.include-me.ca/covid-19/action/stop-discriminatory-triaging-people-disabilities
SEND IT NOW