2013 National Report Card asks for a new approach to employment services

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Toronto, ON, December 3rd, 2013

2013 National Report Card asks for a new approach to employment services

Today, on December 3rd, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) issues its annual National Report Card on Inclusion. The 2013 report card focuses on how Canada is doing in the areas of ensuring that families have access to supports and employment equality. These are two of the 10 objectives in CACL’s Vision 2020 agenda – an agenda adopted by CACL to assist Canadians and governments in building a more inclusive Canada.

“The fact that only one in four working aged adults with intellectual disabilities in Canada is employed is quite simply, unacceptable” says Michael Bach, CACL Executive Vice President. “We know that there are many thousands of adults with intellectual disabilities who are ready, willing and able to go to work. What is needed in this country is a new approach to employment – an approach that places priority on employment as a first option rather than the continued reliance on extended and often times segregated training programs.” He added, “employers want employees; adults with intellectual disabilities want to be employed. We need a system that builds better bridges between the two.”

The report card also reveals that many families in Canada today face tremendous challenges in securing the type and extent of assistance they need to ensure their sons and daughters are fully included in society. Laurie Larson, President of CACL and a parent of two sons with intellectual disabilities comments: ‘Families are the very essence of our society and we play a critical role in ensuring that our children are fully included. But families need support in order to play that role. As families, our well-being should not be jeopardized because we have a family member with an intellectual disability. As a country we desperately need to develop a comprehensive family agenda – one that recognizes, enhances and supports the role played by families.”

“To ensure that people with intellectual disabilities and their families live meaningful and valued lives – free from poverty, and fully included in their communities – the issues of family support and employment are paramount” Bach further comments. “Our National Report Card sends a strong message to all citizens of this country that in 2013 persons with intellectual disabilities and their families are still not treated as full citizens.

This report card challenges each of us – citizens and governments alike – to do more in creating a country that is truly inclusive. A country where people feel valued in their communities, and have capacity to contribute in meaningful ways.”

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About the Canadian Association for Community Living
The Canadian Association for Community Living is a Canada-wide association of family members and others working to advance the human rights and inclusion of persons of all ages who have an intellectual disability. Founded in 1958 by parents of children with intellectual disabilities who wanted supports and services within the community instead of in institutions, CACL has become one of Canada’s ten largest charitable organizations, and has grown into a federation of 10 provincial and three territorial associations comprising of 420 local associations and over 40,000 members.

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