The Impact of COVID-19: An Addendum to the Cost of Vision Loss in Canada Study

The Cost of Vison Loss and Blindess in Canada Study was published in May of 2020. The world has been changing quickly since that initial study. COVID-19 has brought new challenges and costs to the Blind and Vision Impaired community.

Please find the full report below followed by summarys in both English and French.

AIRA Vaccine Promo

Introducing the COVID Vaccine promo

As COVID-19 vaccination efforts expand, it has become clear that many websites and processes to register, set appointments, and navigate spaces for the vaccine are not fully accessible to those in the blind and low-vision community.   While it is the responsibility of government and healthcare entities to comply with the law and ensure that their platforms and processes are accessible, and while the community will continue its advocacy efforts, we cannot wait to get the vaccine. Therefore, we are introducing the COVID promo to assist the Explorer community in obtaining these crucial vaccines. For up to 30 minutes per day, Explorers may use Aira free for vaccine-related tasks.

To help our advocacy efforts, we would ask that you use the hashtag #CovidBLV in any and all social media postings and share some of the gaps and barriers you encountered. 

Our goal is to ensure that entities understand their obligation to make their websites and processes as accessible as possible. As they work to do so, we can assist people in the following ways regarding their COVID vaccinations.

● Researching if Explorer qualifies and determining places to register and receive vaccinations.

● Assisting with registering for and scheduling vaccination appointments using TeamViewer on the computer or TeamViewer Quick Support on the smartphone.

● Navigating locations where vaccines are provided, such as healthcare centers, public health facilities, mass vaccination locations, and drive-up sites.

● Assisting in scheduling second vaccination appointments.

● Taking post-vaccination selfies.

This promo does not cover:

● Non-vaccine-related COVID research

●Transportation to and from the vaccination site

● Registering others outside of the immediate family for vaccinationsCOVID testing

In order to provide this promotion, we will be limiting our Job Seeker promo to one 30-minute call per day through May, 2021.

If you have any questions, please contact our Customer Care Team at 1.800.835.1934 or via email at [email protected].

The staff and agents here at Aira wish you and yours the best of health.

A vial reading Coronavirus Vaccine COVID-19 Injection Only.

IDA Survey on Experience of Persons with Disabilities Adapting to COVID-19 Global Pandemic

A blue background with words reading - Want to play a key role combatting exclusion and discrimination against persons with disabilities during the pandemic? Answer #IDA_COVID_Survey A Survey by Persons with Disabilities for Persons with Disabilities.

A Survey by Persons with Disabilities for Persons with Disabilities

IDA Survey on Experience of Persons with Disabilities Adapting to COVID-19 Global Pandemic is available in English, Spanish and International Sign. More languages on the way!

Since the COVID-19 pandemic official announcement in March 2020, many surveys have been circulating at global, regional and national levels attempting to collect data on the experience of persons with disabilities. During this challenging time, documenting violations of human rights of persons with disabilities during the pandemic and gathering evidence of any good practice has been a key priority for the International Disability Alliance, our members and partners.

To hold governments accountable toward disability movement and with the support of the United Nations Partnership for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN PRPD), we have launched IDA survey on Experience of Persons with Disabilities Adapting to COVID-19 Global Pandemic, and invite all persons with disabilities around the world to dedicate some time to answer it, and share it widely within their networks.

What is different about this survey?

While many of you may have participated in surveys about COVID-19 before, there are a few things making IDA survey different:

  • The survey is using plain language and is available in International Sign, so it is more accessible;
  • The survey is for persons with disabilities only. Family members, support persons and allies can, of course, help persons with disabilities to answer the survey and also circulate it to persons with disabilities in their networks, but the survey is not documenting their experience;
  • The questions of this survey have been developed by persons with disabilities and their representative organizations themselves including by contribution of under-represented groups including women with disabilities, indigenous persons with disabilities and persons with psychosocial disabilities.
  • The survey is documenting various economic, social and cultural consequences of the pandemic as well as experience of persons with disabilities who have contracted COVID-19.

What should you do to participate?

You can create an account, or answer the survey as a guest. Creating an account will give you the option to save your answers and come back to continue the survey later.

If you face any technical difficulties answering the survey, please send an email to [email protected]

If you are not able to answer the survey through the online platform and need the word document, please email [email protected]

A CCB/FBC/IFA Request for Priority Access to COVID-19 Vaccinations

Please find below (in both word and PDF formats) a letter signed by the Canadian Council of the Blind, Fighting Blindness Canada and The International Federation on Ageing requesting priority access to vaccinations for those amongst us living with vision loss. The letter (30 letters in all) was sent to Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister of Health Hajdu, Minister for HRSDC Carla Qualtrough and personally addressed to all Provincial and Territorial Premiers and Ministers of Health. This letter is also appearing on Page 3 in todays, Wednesday, December 16th, Hill Times. Putting our request for immediate action in the hands of every Federal, Provincial and Territorial member and over 22, 000 other politically active and motivated recipients of the paper.

Please contact your local member of parliament (MP) and provincial and territorial members (MPP), requesting they support this important initiative.

Braille Literacy Canada affirms the importance of access to braille during the pandemic

Braille is literacy. Braille signage, elevator buttons, restaurant menus, and other braille materials provide equal access to information and are essential for blind people to have and use. This is especially true during times of pandemic when access to information may be especially vital. Braille must continue to be available to those who need it. Braille users can sanitize and wash their hands before and after touching braille. Surfaces which have braille such as elevator panels, signs, room numbers, can and should be cleaned as other surfaces are, in accordance with public health recommendations.  

An update about the COVID-19 Disability financial assistance

Creating an Accessible Canada
My Canada Includes Me.

Bill C-20, An Act Respecting Further COVID-19 Measures, received Royal Assent today, and also came into force. This Act includes the one-time financial assistance of up to $600 to people with disabilities. It’s a done deal.

As a reminder, to be eligible for the funding you must be a recipient of one of the following programs or benefits:

* A Disability Tax Credit certificate provided by the Canada Revenue
  Agency;Canada Pension Plan
* Disability benefit or Quebec Pension Plan disability benefit
* Disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada.

You can read more about this Act at: https://www.parl.ca/LegisInfo/BillDetails.aspx?Language=E&billId=10833096

Statistics Canada Survey

(French follows English)

As you may have seen, Statistics Canada has launched a survey on how COVID-19 is impacting Canadians with disabilities and those with long-term health conditions. The survey includes questions about employment, household expenses, support networks and access to services. It will be posted online until July 6th . The more people who answer the survey, the better the information will be. So we are encouraging you to reach out to your staff, volunteers, clients, partners and anyone else in your network to let them know about it.

We have included the link to the survey below. Please fill it out. And spread the word!

Thank you.

https://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/survey/household/5323-covid-series


Comme vous le savez peut-être, Statistique Canada a lancé un sondage sur l’impact de la COVID-19 sur les Canadiens en situation de handicap et les personnes avec des problèmes de santé à long terme. Le sondage est composé de questions relatives à l’emploi, les dépenses du ménage, les réseaux de soutien et l’accès aux services, entre autres. Il sera disponible en ligne jusqu’au 6 juillet. Plus le nombre de personnes qui répondent à l’enquête est élevé, plus les informations seront bonnes. Nous vous encourageons donc à communiquer avec votre personnel, vos bénévoles, vos clients, vos partenaires et toute autre personne de votre réseau pour leur en faire part.   

Nous avons joint le lien vers le sondage, ci-dessous. Veuillez remplir le sondage et faites passer le mot!

Merci.

https://www.statcan.gc.ca/fra/enquete/menages/5323-covid-series

Bill C-17 On Hold. Write your MP.

Bill C-17, which is the bill contains the COVID-19 payment for those with disabilities, has been held up in the House of Commons. Please see the below from Accessible Canada. CCB was part of the original letters and the open letter, now we encourage you to write to your MP too.

Hello All,

Enough is enough.

Sixty-six disability-related organizations wrote an Open Letter asking the federal, provincial and territorial governments to figureout how to get financial aid to the people with disabilities who need it most. That Open Letter was sent to every MP and every senator.

then over 50,000 letters were sent to the Prime Minister, Minister Qualtrough, Minister Morneau, all of the premiers, and other provincial and territorial decision makers.

Finally, when most of the country is switching to recovery mode, the disabilty community gets the news that those with a Disability Tax Credit Certificate will receive a one-time payment up to $600. This isn’t even close to what we have been asking for, but it is a start.

Well now we have another problem – shenanigans in the House of Commons.

Bill C-17 has four parts. One of them is the $600 support for people with disabilities with a Disability Tax Credit Certifcate. The other three parts of the Bill and the fact that the House of Commons isn’t meeting and operating regularly, are the sore points with the Bloc Quebecois, the NDP and the Conservatives. Bloc and the NDP suggested taking the one part about diability support out of Bill C-17. The Liberals made a bid to split the Bill so eppeople with disabiliteis could get their financial aid. The Conservatives refused to agree. The government needs all parties to agree to pass the Bill.

So, once again, we are pawns in the political game. This will definitely delay people receiving their disability benefits.

If this ticks you off as much as it does us, here’s your chance to tell the MPs enough is enough. Write to your MP and tell them to pass legislation so that people with disabilities can get their financial aid now.

Either follow the links to use the website, or you can copy the sample letter below.

SEND MY LETTER NOW

Pass Bill C-17 Now

Bill C-17 has four parts. One of them is the $600 support for people with disabilities with a Disability Tax Credit Certificate. The other three parts of the Bill and the fact that the House of Commons isn’t meeting and operating regularly, are the sore points with the Bloc Quebecois, the NDP and the Conservatives. Bloc and the NDP suggested taking the one part about disability support out of Bill C-17. The Liberals made a bid to split the Bill so people with disabilities could get their financial aid. The Conservatives refused to agree. The government needs all parties to agree to pass the Bill.

So, once again, we are pawns in the political game. This will definitely delay people receiving their disability benefits.

If this ticks you off as much as it does us, here’s your chance to tell the MPs enough is enough.

You can use the letter below to tell MPs to pass Bill C-17 or you can remove the text and write your own letter. We urge you to share your own stories of why people with disabilities should receive financial aid from the Government of Canada.

—————————————————-

Le projet de loi C-17 comprend quatre parties. L’un d’eux est le soutien de 600 $ pour les personnes handicapées avec un certificat de crédit d’impôt pour personnes handicapées. Les trois autres parties du projet de loi et le fait que la Chambre des communes ne se réunit pas et ne fonctionne pas régulièrement sont les points sensibles avec le Bloc québécois, le NPD et les conservateurs. Le Bloc et le NPD ont suggéré de retirer la seule partie sur le soutien aux personnes handicapées du projet de loi C-17. Les libéraux ont fait une offre pour diviser le projet de loi afin que les personnes handicapées puissent obtenir leur aide financière. Les conservateurs ont refusé de s’entendre. Le gouvernement a besoin que toutes les parties acceptent d’adopter le projet de loi.

Donc, encore une fois, nous sommes des pions dans le jeu politique. 

Vous pouvez utiliser la lettre ci-dessous pour dire aux députés d’adopter le projet de loi C-17 ou vous pouvez supprimer le texte et écrire votre propre lettre. Nous vous invitons à partager vos propres histoires sur les raisons pour lesquelles les personnes handicapées devraient recevoir une aide financière du gouvernement du Canada.

First Name/Prénom *

Last Name/Nom de famille *

Email *

Postal Code/code postal *

Country/Pays *

Federal Riding/Circonscription fédérale *

My MP

My MP’s email

Send to/Envoyer à:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Minister Carla Qualtrough

Minister Bill Morneau

Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party

Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party

Yves-François Blanchet, Leader of the Bloc Québécois

Subject/Sujet *

Message *

Dear federal politicians, and especially Conservative MPs,

Pass Bill C-17 now so that people with disabilities get the promised $600 in financial aid.

People with disabilities are the last in line to receive any COVID-19 support – and we need it immediately.

Our community members have been paying out of pocket for personal protective equipment because care providers continue to have difficulty accessing their own. They  have also been paying for services such as garbage pick-up, grocery delivery, respite care, accessibility equipment repair, or medical supplies. People with disabilities are making hard choices between keeping safe and paying for food.

How can your petty politicking be ethical in times like this? You have delayed long enough!

In 2019, the average CPP disability payment was $1,001.15 per month, and the maximum CPP disability benefit anyone could get was $1,362.30 per month. But some of the people receiving this low income will not receive the $600. Financial aid only goes to those receiving the Disability Tax Credit.

None of us feel that the amount or the reach of the bill is ideal, but we are in dire need. It would be a start.

Pass the bill.

——————————–

Chers politiciens fédéraux, et surtout députés conservateurs,

Adoptez maintenant le projet de loi C-17 pour que les personnes handicapées obtiennent l’aide financière promise de 600 $.

Les personnes handicapées sont les dernières à recevoir un soutien COVID-19 – et nous en avons besoin immédiatement.

Les membres de notre communauté ont payé de leur poche pour l’équipement de protection individuelle parce que les fournisseurs de soins ont toujours du mal à accéder au leur. Ils ont également payé des services tels que la collecte des ordures, la livraison d’épicerie, les soins de relève, la réparation de l’équipement d’accessibilité ou les fournitures médicales. Les personnes handicapées font des choix difficiles entre rester en sécurité et payer pour la nourriture.

Comment votre petite politique peut-elle être éthique dans des moments comme celui-ci?

En 2019, le paiement moyen d’invalidité du RPC était de 1001,15 $ par mois, et la prestation d’invalidité maximale du RPC que n’importe qui pouvait recevoir était de 1362,30 $ par mois. Mais certaines des personnes qui reçoivent ce faible revenu ne recevront pas les 600 $. L’aide financière est réservée aux bénéficiaires du crédit d’impôt pour personnes handicapées.

Aucun de nous ne pense que le montant ou la portée du projet de loi est idéal, mais nous en avons grandement besoin. Ce serait un début.

Votez la loi.

Sincerely/Cordialement,

Prime Minister Announces Supports for Canadians with Disabilities

The Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced support to help Canadians with disabilities deal with extra expenses during the pandemic.

This support includes a special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certifcateholders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020, as follows:
– $600 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate.
– $300 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.
– $100 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

There are also supports to do with employment as those with disabilities are also at higher risk of job loss during economic downturns.
– Creation of a National workplace Accessibility Stream through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities.
– Invest $1.18 million in five new projects across the country through the Accessible Technology Program.

To read the full statement can be read here :
https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/06/05/prime-minister-announces-supports-canadians-disabilities-address