CACL Press Release: April 16, 2020

Invisible and Forgotten in the COVID-19 Crisis: Canadians with Intellectual Disabilities

Editorial: Canadian Association for Community Living: April 16, 2020

While Canadians are well informed of seniors’ vulnerability to COVID-19 and all too aware of its devastating and life-threatening impact, the same cannot be said for individuals with intellectual disabilities, leaving them in harm’s way.

Whether they live in their own homes, with their families, group homes or residential facilities, the vast majority of individuals with intellectual disabilities require personal support workers. Without these supports, their very lives are at risk at the best of times, so it should not be difficult to understand their vulnerability to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many cannot fully isolate from others due to their disabilities or living arrangements and therefore have a higher risk of contracting the virus.

The personal support workers who continue to provide support are among the many unsung Canadian heroes, yet remain unrecognized and unsupported. They are deserving of additional wages as they risk their lives in the support of vulnerable Canadians. They continue day after day in their commitment to be in the homes of individuals with disabilities, without essential guidance from health professionals, access to needed protective personal equipment (PPE), or measures to address COVID-19’s impact when it strikes an individual they support and/or themselves. These resources and measures, which need to be available to families as well, must be brought to bear today, not tomorrow.

Recently, Minister Carla Qualtrough announced the COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group to which Krista Carr, CACL Executive Vice-President was appointed.

Ms. Carr stated, “I will be seeking a nationally coordinated approach with the provinces and territories that is immediately responsive to individuals with disabilities, their families and those who support them to ensure they are no longer invisible, forgotten, or treated as if their lives do not matter.”

See full CACL press release: