Now we all know on the day of November 8th, 2016 was officially the death of America as we knew it. Pictures surfaced of people crying, protests exploded immediately after the news hit the internet, and Canada’s immigration website had crashed down. As far as I knew, when my eyes read that Trump had won the electoral college over, my heart had sunk down into my stomach, and the only word that was somewhat present in the scribbles of the emotional mess my mind had been, was ‘Canada’. It was the only way, Canada was the only country that had truly agreed with my values. Plus, Justin Trudeau isn’t a bad image to look at.
Anyways, I scoured the internet to scratch off all my boxes before I officially zipped all my suitcases up.
- Gay marriage legal? Yes, was for a decade.
- Health care to everyone? Yup, has been working and flourishing.
- University tuition achievable? You bet.
- Open borders? Absolutely, Canada has opened its arms to all refugees.
Great! Time to throw my suitcases in the trunk, and take a trip to our northerly friends! I rolled into my car, started up the gas, and locked my wheelchair in as I’m in for a ride. Wait, wait, wait. I had just realized something really, really important. What does Canada offer to people with disabilities?
I took my worries to Google, and hoped for the best. As I looked through the results, my heart sunk down into my stomach, again.
According to the Participation and Activity Limitation Survey, 2006, about 4.4 million Canadians live with a disability. Yet, all of these citizens live economically, socially, and politically under abled people in Canadian society. While this is an ongoing and silent truth in Canada, the Canadian government has done nothing to help with this issue and millions of Canadians with disabilities will continue to suffer as long as we maintain silent.
Let’s talk about one of the most pressing issues that feminism is known for talking about across the globe: the wage gap. Not only are we talking about gender, but we’re talking about the overall division between adults with disabilities and adults without disabilities. According to the Survey of Labour Income Dynamics, Statistics Canada 2009 and Report on Equality Rights of People with Disabilities, Canadian Human Rights Commission, 2012, adults with disabilities receive a lower median after-tax household income than adults without disabilities. And here’s where the gender issue comes into play: Males with disabilities receive their income $9,557 lower for men. Women with disabilities receive their income $8,853 lower for women. These numbers prove that not only is there a prominent gender issue here, but there’s also the huge problem of the Canadian Government continuing to rob adults with disabilities’ income and no backlash about it. While there is an injustice towards disabled Canadian citizens, Canada’s government will not stop its ableism to just its own citizens, but it will extend as far as stopping people with disabilities from emigrating to Canada.
For those of us who are disabled and want to defy Trump’s rule, or escape the prejudices of their own country and live somewhere where they’ll be accepted, Canada will definitely close their ‘open arms’ if you will be a burden to them economically. Recently, a Costa Rican family applied for permanent residency in Canada, but was denied despite them living there for three years. The reason for the denial was because the child had Down Syndrome, and his genetic condition would be too expensive for the Canadian taxpayers. This is backed up by Canada’s Immigration and Citizen Act, as it states “a foreign national is inadmissible on health grounds if their health condition might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services.” In Canada’s eyes, excessive demand on health or social services would be $6,655 per year.
So basically, what does Canada do for people with disabilities? They don’t offer a good, safe, and equal place to live. This is a clear case of ableism folks, and no one yet has given a person in the disabled community their mega phone in order to expose Canada’s imperfections. While Canada has done a fantastic job on working on other marginalized groups and their issues, the disabled community continues to be erased and slept on.
So while we’re all fearfully scurrying off to Denmark, Scotland, and London, let’s look out for our fellow disabled folks, eh?