Province announces plan to include people with disabilities
The province has announced a three-year plan to make the province more inclusive for people with disabilities.
The plan sets out 43 things the government will do between now and 2018 to promote inclusion.
It hinges on building a more positive image of disability, bettering supports and services, and including persons with disabilities in decision making.
The plan also promises to make government buildings more accessible.
However, it does not say which buildings will be changed or how improvements will be made.
The province has not set aside any extra money to implement the strategy and many of the action items will not happen until 2017 or 2018.
Minister Clyde Jackman said those details will be figured out as the plan is implemented, and that in future years they will budget money for specific projects
Specifics include launching a social media campaign to alter public attitudes, holding an accessibility summit, and changing hunting rules to make it easier for those with disabilities.
Not political move, Jackman says
This strategy was promised by the PCs in the last election, but Jackman said this announcement is not about politics.
"For me personally it's not that it's part of the blue book, it's simply for me the right thing to do," said Clyde Jackman, Minister Responsible for Status of Persons with Disabilities.
"They deserve our support, as a province we need to show our support to them."
Paul Walsh is the chairperson of the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. He said he's pleased that government has proposed fixed dates for each aspect of the plan.
"It's about equal access not special access," he said.
"People with disabilities aren't looking for anything special, we're looking to be treated with dignity the same as everyone."
Government revealed the plan at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John's to highlight the facility's new ramp system and accessible parking.
The provincial government has put almost $5 million into Arts and Culture Centres across the province to improve accessibility.