Report of the Persons with Disabilities Rep to the Prairie Region Triennial Convention, April 21-23, 2017. This report covers the 2014-17 PRC term.
Prairie Region Person’s with Disability Representative
Report for the period of Spring 2014 to Spring 2017.
The last 3 years have been jammed packed with events and meetings & meetings.
But rather report on every meeting & conference I attended – I’m going to report on what I heard & learnt.
The first year was all about defeating the “Harper” Government – which happened but are we really any better off?? Talk about keeping the Liberal government Accountable – so what action did we do?
In 2015 there was a lot of focus on Mental Health. This illness/disability effects so many of us and because most know so little about it many employers find it easy just to ignore it and hope it goes away. The greatest take away with conference is the networking – we have many experiences shared with others. I was very fortunate to walk away with other policies and action plans for back to work programs, duty to accommodate & even Employment Equity. But sadly to say – the “awesome” poster never made it to our Region.
Concluding my educational part of this year was the Women’s Forum on Domestic Violence at Work. I really wish most if not all PSAC member can have the ability to attend a conference as this. The Agenda was jammed packed with a panel of amazing speakers – maybe just maybe too much to take in all at once. The big take away for me was how Domestic Violence transcends over to the workplace. Another shocking fact was the percent of women who experience Domestic Violence and 1 out 5 of all Canadian women that live with a disability, 40% of them experienced some form of violence in their lives. And another study states that 60% of women with disabilities are likely to experience some form of violence in the course of their adult lives.
In 2016 the primary focus continued on “Mental Health” a much “hidden” disability, but thankfully with public awareness this disability is being shared more offend. Although sometime this disability does not get accommodate.
In June I attended a very motivating 2016 PSAC Prairies Regional Women’s Conference which recapped the facts about Violence in the Work Place & Mental Health. This Conference inspired the solidarity with our sisters not only in the Prairies buy also in our local Regions.
Lastly, I was at the National Human Rights Conference where much info came to light but one of my big take away is reviewing/updating the PSAC “Duty to Accommodate” Booklet.
The duty to accommodate relates to all grounds of discrimination found under human rights legislation which includes not only disabilities but also culture, religion, family status and so on. But what is “reasonable effort, short of undue hardship”. Remember that not only has the employer has the duty to accommodate but also the Union & the you “the employee”
This what Treasury Board has to say about “Disability Management in the Federal Public Services (Fundamental, Management Programs, Handling, Care, Info from our Practitioners, Wellness, Resources) http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/psm-fpfm/ve/dee/dmi-igi/index-eng.asp
Attending the Canadian Labour Congress “Rise Up” conferences which was again jammed pack with speakers was amazing but we need to be aware that 60% of ALL Human rights issues are with persons with disabilities, & the #1 being Brain injuries.
I’m sad to say I was unable to attend the 2017 spring Human Rights & Prairie Region Conference as I was with my sister during her illness and as she passed away.
I very pleased to share with my Region I am on a committee for a “Return to Work” (RTW) program. This committee acknowledges that each case must be rationalised individually. And of course to go hand in hand with the RTW program is the “Duty to Accommodate”. I hope to have something shortly to share with all.
Something that I’m sure all activists know is that we are lacking in membership engagement, that we need to give our Bargaining Teams more support, and that the Phoenix Pay System is broken – so why is our leadership always repeating this to us without any suggestion for support. What type of “Political Action” does our leadership want from us??
Sadly at the last conference for the National Human Rights it was really noticeable that our ideals and thoughts if they were not the ones on the facilitators list were just washed away. I always hear from this current leadership that we are being “heard” – but are they hearing, because I do not think they are listening.
In conclusion on Human Rights issues we need to do four things:
- Policy reform
Personally I would like to see this Union get recognized for something great – like “Quality, Affordable Day Care”.
Thank you for the amazing opportunity to represent you & support this region as the Person with Disability.