Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 2015
Source: Standard, The (St. Catharines, CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 St. Catharines Standard
Author: Linda Crabtree
Page: C6


Birthdays still excite me. Even though I'm heading for 73, I look
forward to the day when I can say I've survived yet another year with
this frustrating neuromuscular disease I've coped with all my life.

Someone once suggested people with disabilities were a "special
interest group." As you get older, you often join that group. It's
called life.

We are all, if we're lucky, part of that group of people often
disabled and growing older.

And don't think we seniors don't notice what is going on out

We are the ones who read newspapers, watch the news on TV and listen
to local talk radio.

We also volunteer to make things better. And I'm one of the ones who
talk about things I don't like. Here are a few:

What happened to all the marijuana-growing companies that were
supposed to be springing up everywhere to boost the economy and help
people who need relief from pain and other debilitating illnesses?

Out of 1,200 applications, Health Canada has licensed 23 across the
entire country - 15 for production and eight for cultivation only.

What happened to the long-term care law that was supposed to provide
better care for the 78,000-plus residents in nursing homes in Ontario?

Inspections have been made, but not one home has been fined for
non-compliance. Try living in one of those homes for a month or two
and you'll soon figure out there isn't enough of anything, including
sprinkler systems.

If there's a fire and you're living on the second floor in a
wheelchair, chances are you're a goner. And we feed our convicted
criminals better.

And there's the Ontario e-Health program to get all the medical
facilities online so my GP will know what my respirologist has
prescribed and the hospital can, at a glance, see what my conditions
are and what I'm taking for them.

After the billion-dollar fiasco in 2009, what is being done to correct

I hope it is being restructured. Its website says it is, but my GP is
still hauling huge files around.

What happened to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities
Act, a.k.a. AODA?

Our province is supposed to be accessible to people with disabilities
by 2025. We're six years into it and a cool 60% of the businesses with
20 or more employees haven't bought into the law. Most likely don't
even know or care it exists.

Ontario's 1.8 million people with disabilities shop, and we need jobs.
We need an accessible environment. The government is planning to cut
back on AODA enforcement.

But there's one bright light here: After lobbying for two years, the
AODA Alliance chaired by David Lepofsky had the government set up a
toll-free hotline to report any disability law violations.

Stick with it until you reach the office of the Accessibility
Directorate of Ontario, located at the Economic Development Ministry.
Phone 1-866-5152025; TTY for those who are deaf: 1-800-268-7095.
There's no guarantee anything will be done, but we have to speak up or
we'll get what we deserve.

And here's one close to home.

Not only were some local street corners with directional buttons
controlling street lights not cleared of snow, but now that the snow
is receding shopping carts are dumped at intersections where I live,
like a corral for blue ponies.

The last time I looked at the corner of Louth and Benfield near the
plaza on Fourth Ave., there were seven. How are we expected to get to
the button through a craze of metal carts, push the button and then
back up in time to cross the road?

We can't. And Walmart, please send someone out to round up carts on a
daily basis. They are a very real barrier to people using wheelchairs,
scooters and those who are visually impaired, plus people pushing baby

Being an eternal optimist, I'm looking forward to medical marijuana
being readily available at a reasonable price; safe, healthier
long-term care homes; medical records online and accessible schools,
streets, shops and homes.

I am warmed by the thought that things have improved during the past
73 years. But we still have a long way to go.
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MAP posted-by: Matt