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Advanced Education and Skills
December 3, 2012

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Joan Shea, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills:

Province Recognizes United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Mr. Speaker, today is the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities – an opportunity to foster understanding of disability issues and respect for the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Strategy for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities provides a framework to ensure Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can participate in unprecedented economic, educational, employment, and social opportunities. Since its launch, $6.5 million has been invested in initiatives that complement the strategy. This includes $650,000 for the Accessible Vehicle Funding and the Inclusion Grants. Other initiatives include the introduction of the Service Animals Act, legislative amendments that help adults with intellectual disabilities access Registered Disability Savings Plans, and increased parking fines and stronger requirements for blue zone spaces to be clearly identified.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, we recognize that accessibility and inclusion are universal themes that benefit all citizens. Perhaps more than ever, in 2012, we strive for increased accessibility and inclusion, for everyone. That is why, on this day it is important to recognize the ongoing work of those who support our efforts, such as the women and men of the Provincial Advisory Council for the Status of Persons with Disabilities, and others. Today, successful inclusion efforts are evident in every corner of Newfoundland and Labrador. At Memorial University, engineering students recently designed a guitar stand so a young woman with cerebral palsy, Kristy Lynn March, can play music.

This evening, the Department of Advanced Education and Skills policy on Supported Employment will be featured in a report on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The department will be reviewing this program to ensure it is as effective and efficient as possible in assisting persons with disabilities find long-term, meaningful employment.

With our partnerships for persons with disabilities – and through our policies and initiatives – the Provincial Government is working towards the ultimate goal of full inclusion, a goal we are all called to reflect on today.

2012 12 03             2:20 p.m.

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