Update on Discriminatory Triage Practices – Accessible Canada

“We are reaching out to update you on our work to avoid the discriminatory triaging of people with disabilities in Canada.

As you probably know, many people with disabilities and Deaf people are scared. Disability still could be used in some parts of Canada as an indicator in deciding who will gain access to needed health care, and who will not.

We are continuing to work to ensure these practices are not used and people get the health care they need in this pandemic.

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.

Here are the key points:

  • People with disabilities and Deaf people are at special risk – some are vulnerable to COVID-19, and all are vulnerable to discriminatory triaging.
  • We are scared. These discriminatory practices need to be avoided.
  • Health care is a human right. We should not be denied health care because someone else doesn’t think our lives are worth living.

Member of Provincial/Territorial Legislature Contacts:

British Columbia
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island
Saskatchewan – you could contact them to say thanks 🙂

Reach out to your provincial/territorial elected official and tell them what you think.

Stay safe and healthy,

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”