(Montreal) February 5, 2015 The DisAbled Women’s Network / Le Réseau d’action des femmes handicapées (DAWN-RAFH) Canada, along with other disability rights groups are outraged to learn via “Le Devoir” that the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) was floating the idea of using funds normally dedicated to providing services for disabled students to pay down a deficit caused by recent government cut backs.
In a story published on January 31st, in Le Devoir reported that the UQAM Committee on Services for Students discussed removing $900,000 from the budget allocated for disability services and transferring the amount into general revenues to balance the budget. Le Devoir obtained university documents to support its reporting.
As a national disability organization, DAWN-RAFH Canada, is concerned that this action would once again target a vulnerable population, and would result in a roll back of hard-won rights.
“It seems that the very policies that are supposed to guarantee the rights of disabled people, and which the government is so proud of, are now being put under severe strain,” said Bonnie Brayton, National Executive Director of DAWN-RAFH Canada. “How can we talk about people actually exercising their rights or about genuine inclusion when we are setting up barriers to the integration of people with disabilities in higher education?” Brayton added.
Disability organizations contend that there is an ongoing problem with budget equity in all levels of government in terms of properly supporting the inclusion of people with disabilities. Emily Duffett, Chair of the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), noted that such actions represent a step backward in inclusion and support for persons with disabilities.
“It is important to make sure that governments and post-secondary institutions review their processes to ensure that funds dedicated to services for people with disabilities are used for that purpose. Any actions to the contrary will not be tolerated by disability organizations,” Duffett insisted.
DAWN-RAFH Canada is a national, feminist, cross-disability organization whose mission is to end the poverty, isolation, discrimination and violence experienced by Canadian women with disabilities and Deaf women.
Tel: 514-396-0009 Ext. 2505