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Posted: November 18, 2019

BCANDS 2020 National Indigenous Disability and Wellness Gathering

British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS)
We are very pleased to be holding our third Indigenous Disability and Wellness Gathering on the ancestral lands of the Lekwungen people of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. The 2020 Gathering will be held in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia during the sixth anniversary of Indigenous Disability Awareness Month being officially recognized and proclaimed. 

Frustration, isolation, desperation and finally resignation are words that describe the reality for many Indigenous (First Nation, Metis, Inuit) persons living with a disability, and their families, across Canada. Indigenous persons living with a disability often face complex and multi-jurisdictional barriers, restrictive policies and discriminatory attitudes when seeking appropriate and necessary supports regarding their specific disability related need(s). These factors, and others, continue to contribute to the exclusion and the lack of recognition of Indigenous persons living with a disability as equal members within our communities andthe continued marginalization of thisgroup within an already marginalized population.

The frequency of disabilities among Indigenous Canadians, as noted by Statistics Canada in 2018, is 22% (off-reserve data only). However, the actual rate of disability within Canada’s Indigenous communities(both on and off reserve) is conservatively estimated at 30%. Other research has suggested that the overall disability rates for Indigenous peoples in Canada is even higher, and up to three times higher than the national rate within some age groups. Additionally, it is known that the prevalence of disabilities and the likelihood of becoming disabled for Indigenous women and impoverished populations, such as the conditions seen within many Indigenous communities, significantly increases. In 2016, 80% of Canada’s First Nation communities (4 out of 5) had a median income below the poverty line (Statistics Canada).

In 2016, Statistics Canada reported that there were 1,673,785 Indigenous people living across Canada. When we consider these statistics and apply a 30% disability rate, we can conservatively estimate that there are over one half million Indigenous persons, of all ages, living with a disability across our Nation. 

The 2020 Gathering seeks to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments, leadership, community members, service providers and others from across Canada to connect, learn, form new and expanded partnerships, collaborate and identify the best practices within the disability and health sectors. 

Together, at the 2020 Gathering, we will continue to take the necessary steps forward in breaking down both  current and historical barriers and the attitudes and perceptions that have negatively impacted Indigenous peoples living with disabilities. In doing so, together, we will help shape a Canada that is inclusive and responsive to the needs of all people, of all colours and of all abilities.  

Please considering being a part of this important event!
BCANDS Belanger

Date: November 16 - 19, 2020
Event Type: Conference
Location: Victoria, BC
Region: South Vancouver Island
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