The Institute for Research on Public Policy has produced a document entitled Leaving Some Behind: What Happens When Workers Get Sick. This report calls for a fundamental renewal of Canada’s income, disability and employment support system and calls on the federal government to champion the renewal. The purpose of the report is to highlight the burden and household impact of serious illness in Canada.
The report asks and answers the question, “How is Canada doing in supporting the employment and income needs of workers and families when they experience a major health issue?” Various aspects of Canada’s disability and employment support system are analyzed. A series of principles that could form the starting point for defining a new framework for supporting individuals deal with sickness or disability are identified.
Key issues are discussed in the report such as the exhaustion of short-term benefits without access to longer term supports, labour market inequity and private insurance coverage, public and private programs are worlds apart, public programs are not well coordinated, disincentives to employment remain significant in some programs, employer awareness and HR capability are low and poor coordination among public programs.
Reforms include improving the coordination of basic definitions and program parameters across the disability support system and enhancing the breadth and quality of disability insurance coverage within the labour market. The federal government can extend the duration of EI benefits and create a flexible work-sharing program, so that a person can reduce work hours while receiving EI income. Additionally, it can create a system for the expert dissemination of information and hands-on support to employers on roles, best practices and resources when an employee is diagnosed or has to care for someone with an illness and may require time away or accommodations so they can continue to work.
The report brings forward a Series of Principles for a renewal:
All workers have access to a minimum standard of disability insurance that provides high-quality support and income replacement;
Employers have access to the resources they need to promote a healthy and productive workforce;
There is broad harmonization between benefit programs in terms of the length and sequencing of benefits, and the duration and timing of job-protected leave;
Eligibility for benefits and employment supports are flexible, broadly defined, and reflect the diverse needs of those living with episodic, chronic and intermittent illnesses;
All actors have a common language for understanding what constitutes a major health condition and this is reflected in program design and practice;
Case management and program transitions are well coordinated to minimize the disruption of benefit for recipients;
There is a more standardized approach to the extent of active employment supports that are provided and the way in which employment income is treated while on claim;
Caregiving is broadly supported by both employers and government and access to benefits is not limited solely to the risk of death; and
There is a household-level approach to the needs of those giving as well as receiving of care.
Underpinning this vision are two key points: that employers are well supported so they can be healthy and remain working; and as a consequence, that employers benefit from a workforce that effectively utilizes the talents, productivity and “diverse-abilities” of every worker. The report can be found at www.irpp.org/research-studies/report-2015-09-03/.
Call for Nominations: CCD ACCD will once again present the Council of Canadians with Disabilities Award to an individual who is dedicated to the “pursuit of full participation in society by people with disabilities.”
If you know an Albertan whose commitment to the disability community deserves recognition, please consider nominating that person. The deadline for nominations is December 31, 2015. Nomination forms are available by calling ACCD’s office at 780-488-9088 or toll free at 1-800-387-2514. Nomination forms are also available on ACCD’s website at www.accd.net.
Annual Open House, Join us for Conversation and Delicious Food!
Our open house will be taking place on December 4, 2015 at ACCD’s offices. Celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities with us. Meet and greet with a broad network of community leaders from different walks of life and develop new networks. We serve hors d’oeuvres and refreshments to make it a perfect event for you. We will focus on an exciting aspect of our organization and this year is no exception. We are eager to fill you in, so please join us at ACCD’s office for food, drink and merriment!
Date: December 4, 2015
Time: 3:00 – 6:00 pm
Location: 106 – 10423 178 St, Edmonton
Parking is available on the west side of the parking lot. Accessible parking is available next to the building’s south side entrance.
First declared by the United Nations in 1992, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities serves to increase awareness and understanding of persons with disabilities and the issues that impact their lives.
Volunteer Appreciation Party!
To celebrate our dedicated volunteers, ACCD held our Volunteer Appreciation Party on Friday, October 23 at the Buffet Royal Carvery. The success of our organization depends on the valuable contributions of our volunteers. At ACCD, we appreciate the commitment and hard work of our volunteers! Thank you to all of ACCD’s volunteers!