Province Proclaims International Day of Persons with Disabilities
The Government of Saskatchewan has joined the world in recognizing and celebrating December 3, 2017, as International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD).
Proclaimed annually by the United Nations, this year’s theme is Transformation Toward Sustainable and Resilient Society for All. The International Day of Persons with Disabilities was first proclaimed by the United Nations in 1992 to increase awareness and understanding of disability issues and trends, and to mobilize support for practical action by, with and for persons with disabilities.
The province has set a vision for Saskatchewan to be an inclusive province that is welcoming, responsive, innovative, and accessible so people who experience disabilities can live the life they choose. Since the release of the Disability Strategy in 2015, progress has been made on a number of recommendations.
“International Day for Persons with Disabilities in an opportunity to reflect on not only how far we have come, but also on the work we still have to do,” Social Services Minister Paul Merriman said. “This year, supports were expanded in the north, numerous group homes were opened and the beach wheelchair program was launched and expanded at provincial parks. As well, we saw innovative work in communities, such as Estevan Diversified Services creating a Clear Language Human Rights book and the completion of Regina’s Mosaic Stadium, a world-class, state-of-the-art facility which exemplifies accessibility and inclusion.”
The 2017 Regina United Nations Day Planning Committee, which includes the Neil Squire Society, Creative Options Regina, Saskatchewan Voice of People with Disabilities, the City of Regina, Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan, Being Astonished, the Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association and students from the University of Regina’s faculty of Kinesiology and Health, will be releasing a locally produced video highlighting the history of the disability movement in the country and specifically Saskatchewan in the last 150 years. The video will be shown at a community event in Regina to celebrate IDPWD.
“Planning this event, learning how things were for people with disabilities, even in our recent past and seeing how far we have come, especially in the last few decades is very encouraging,” 2017 Regina UN Day Planning Committee member Nikki Langdon said. “That being said, we still have a long way to go and with the continued support and commitment of our province, we are optimistic about the future of people with disabilities as we move into our next 150 years.”
The Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program helps people with disabilities or ongoing health conditions start businesses in Saskatchewan. In celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Community Futures Saskatchewan(CFS) in partnership with North Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre are hosting The Power of Video, a free learning event for business owners and nonprofits at the Frances Morrison Library in Saskatoon. At the event, CFS will also be launching the 2017-18 Just Watch ME! video contest. For more information go to www.justwatchmecontest.ca.
“We are asking rural entrepreneurs with disabilities or health conditions to send us a short two to three minute video telling us their story of business success,” Rural Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program Manager Susan Bater said. “Entrepreneurs that enter the contest have a chance to win up to $1,000 cash and business prizes to help their businesses grow.”
Saskatchewan residents and communities that have done work which aligns with the Disability Strategy are encouraged to share their accomplishments using the hashtag #SKDisability. By sharing how organizations and communities are collectively putting the strategy into action, the province can build momentum to make the vision a reality. The Saskatchewan Disability Strategy Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/skdisability.