November 2015 is BC Aboriginal Disability Awareness Month

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Statement on Aboriginal Disability Awareness Month

The BCGEU welcomes the B.C. government announcement declaring November 2015 as Aboriginal Disability Awareness Month. 

A high percentage of Aboriginal people in Canada are faced with disabilities related to preventable diseases – including diabetes, which is 3 to 5 times higher than in the general population; tuberculosis (8-10 times higher), arthritis (2 times higher), and heart disease (1.5 times higher).

The British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) has developed resolutions on Aboriginal disability issues which were passed by the First Nations Summit (FNS) and the Metis Nations of British Columbia (MNBC).

The BCGEU is proud to represent the workers at BCANDS, which has a long and successful record of delivering disability and health resources and information services. The society works in partnership with a number of organizations, governments, communities and stakeholders. BCANDS is the only stand-alone organization of its type in Canada dedicated to improving the lives of Aboriginal persons with a disability.

The BCGEU calls on the B.C. government to provide Aboriginal people with disabilities access to affordable housing, education, transportation, employment and other supports including home care, equipment and counselling services, to afford them a life with dignity and a better standard of living. The union also calls on the B.C. government to proclaim, annually, November as Aboriginal Disability Awareness Month, to increase public awareness of the issue going forward.

For more information on disabilities and Aboriginal people please contact the BC Aboriginal Network on Disabilities Society.

Stephanie Smith
President, BC Government and Service Employees’ Union

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