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‘Huge’ gap in services as feds lay out accessibility legislation

The federal government needs to make Canada more accessible for people living with disabilities and functional limitations.

That’s according to Denise McKee, executive director of the NWT Disabilities Council based in Yellowknife.

The Canadian government is currently touring the country as it tries to develop federal legislation that can increase the inclusion and participation of Canadians who are living with disabilities.

Carla Qualtrough, Canada’s minister for sport and persons with disabilities, will visit communities across the country from now until February.

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On Monday, she stopped in Yellowknife after hosting consultations in Nunavut and Yukon last week.

McKee was on hand for Monday’s session at the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre. She says she’d like to see the federal government work with every jurisdiction in Canada to get the legislation right.

“I certainly hope that the Canadian government takes a strong leadership role in this to set an example and that it really aligns itself with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” she said.

“I think that there’s a huge gap in services and I think that what the Canadian government is seeing is that federally they need to take that role.

“We’re seeing gaps from diagnosis straight through to end-of-life decision making.”

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Canadians can participate in the consultation process by attending public sessions or submitting comments online.

According to the Government of Canada, approximately 14 per cent of Canadians over the age of 15 reported having a disability that limited them in their daily activities.

Meanwhile, there are 411,000 working-aged Canadians with disabilities who are not working but whose disability does not prevent them from doing so.

Qualtrough’s next stop will be in Regina, Sask. on Wednesday.

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