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Place of Employment
I have been placed at March of Dimes Canada, a community-based organization. This organization is a foundation and a charity that focuses on aiding with rehabilitation and advocating for people with disabilities. The organization provides attendant care services, housing, and opportunities for individuals with disabilities to become as independent as possible and to lead a fulfilling life.
There is a strong focus on helping individuals without a proper support system who are experiencing financial difficulties to the point of being unable to maintain a reasonable quality of life. The impoverished state of many clients and households is exacerbated due to a lack of access to essential disability services. The following proposal will argue that people with disabilities without a support system in place are often forced to live in poverty, which limits access to necessary care services.
Canada is directly affected by the cycle of poverty and disability. More than 23% of disabled adults live in deep poverty, and the median income is half that of the average worker (Citizens for Public Justice, 2017). More than 55% of disabled adults lack employment. Households often struggle to afford essential disability services or necessary support. Families with disabled children mainly rely on social assistance as the primary income source.
This results in disproportionate rates of poverty, limiting access to social services and participation while facing public stigma (Canadian Association for Community Living, 2013). Social assistance is the largest source of income for practically all disability groups, but it is insignificant in comparison to employment. Welfare is meant to be short-term social assistance, but has been primarily used by governments to support a vulnerable population at the expense of the national budget and without viable solutions to address the underlying social issues (Crawford, 2013).
Education and Economic Participation
Poverty affects the post-school outcomes of students with disabilities. They are more likely to experience unemployment and face limited postsecondary opportunities, including access to education. The trend continues into adulthood as the employment rate for disabled adults is only one-fourth of the average (Hughes, 2013). A variety of factors are responsible, such as a lack of infrastructure or the proper environment for support of disabilities.
Education and accessibility are interlinked with employment that could help support basic needs (Abidi & Sharma, 2014). Restricted access to education limits economic participation, which has prolonged adverse impacts on the social health of individuals (Margaret & Kas, 2015). Policy changes and rights-based movements are necessary to address the multi-sectoral inequalities facing people with disabilities in order to break the cycle of poverty.
Most poverty and disability public programs focus on assistance rather than taking a more comprehensive approach to social protection. Current social protection methods do not focus on the intersectional relationship between disability and poverty. Approaching each issue separately is not sustainable and fails to address the effect on the vulnerable population (Schneider, Mokomane, & Graham, 2016). Poverty and disability are compounded by limited capabilities, including inadequate provisions for maintaining independence and voicing opinions. There is an evident lack of representation from the disabled community, which needs to be involved in the implementation of targeted national programs and policies (Graham, Moddley, & Selipsky, 2012).
Politics and Rights
Disabled people can be compared to a minority population within Western countries. They are devalued and stigmatized, which leads to a repeated violation of civil rights, lack of social protection, and limited access to services. Disability has become a social construct of discrimination, which is one of the primary reasons for disabled people’s impoverished economic status (Goodley, 2016). Canada is one of the few nations that mention disability rights in the national constitution. This provides a legislative basis for a socio-political commitment to equality, as constitutional law is binding on all levels of government (Rioux & Heath, 2013). People with disabilities must be guaranteed human rights and an adequate quality of life-based on the legislative conventions adopted by Canada.
Abidi, J., & Sharma, D. (2014). Poverty, disability, and employment: Global perspectives from the national centre for promotion of employment for disabled people. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 37(1), 60-68. Web.
Canadian Association for Community Living. (2013). Assuring income security and equality for Canadians with intellectual disabilities and their families. Web.
Citizens for Public Justice. (2017). Poverty trends 2017. Web.
Crawford, C. (2013). Looking into poverty: Income sources of poor people with disabilities in Canada. Web.
Goodley, D. (2016). Disability studies: An interdisciplinary introduction (2nd ed.). London, United Kingdom: SAGE
Graham, L., Moodley, J., & Selipsky, L. (2012). The disability–poverty nexus and the case for a capabilities approach: Evidence from Johannesburg, South Africa. Disability & Society, 28(3), 324-337. Web.
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Hughes, C. (2013). Poverty and disability: Addressing the challenge of inequality. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 36(1), 37-42. Web.
Margaret, W., & Kas, M. (2015). Exploring the social milieu of disability: Themes of poverty, education, and labour participation. Labor et Educatio, 3, 155-172. Web.
Rioux M., & Heath B. (2013). Human rights in context: Making rights count. In J. Swain, S. French, C. Barnes, & C. Thomas (Eds.), Disabling barriers – Enabling environments (pp. 319-323). London, United Kingdom: SAGE.
Schneider M., Mokomane Z., & Graham L. (2016). Social protection, chronic poverty and disability: Applying an intersectionality perspective. In S. Grech & K. Soldatic (Eds.), Disability in the global south. International perspectives on social policy, administration, and practice (pp. 365-376). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG.