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Within Canada Indigenous persons living with a disability and their families are often faced with limited or no assistance when seeking appropriate and necessary supports regarding their specific disability and health related need(s).
Competition for limited resources within communities; lack of information on available external resources including the process and requirements to access; jurisdictional and mandate issues; remoteness and experienced discrimination are only a few of the factors that contribute to the barriers faced by this segment of our population.
In Canada Indigenous individuals and families living with a disability have become a marginalized group within an already marginalized population and the "invisible" members of the Canada's disability sector.
The frequency of disabilities among Indigenous Canadians (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) is conservatively estimated at twice that of the national rate or approximately 27.4%. Other research has suggested that the overall disability rates for Indigenous people in Canada is at approximately 31% and up to three times higher than the national rate within some age groups. It is also known that the prevalence of disabilities and the likelihood of becoming disabled within impoverished populations, such as the conditions seen within many Indigenous communities and racialized urban centres, are significantly higher than in populations that are not.
Between the years 2006 and 2011, the Indigenous population of Canada increased by 20.1%. In 2011 the Indigenous population of Canada was documented at over 1,400,000. In British Columbia the Indigenous population in 2011 was recorded at 232,290.
Understanding this and based on the 2011 demographics, we can conservatively estimate that there are over 382,000 (27.4%) Indigenous persons, of all ages, living with a disability within Canada, and over 63,000 residing in British Columbia alone.
The BCANDS 2017 Indigenous Disability and Wellness Gathering seeks to bring together a diverse representation of disability and health related stakeholders over a three day period to learn, inform, share, collaborate and create new and expanded partnerships to assist in addressing the barriers facing Indigenous individuals and families living with a disability. This includes community and organizational leadership, government representatives, individuals and families living with a disability, service providers and others, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
The BCANDS 2017 Indigenous Disability and Wellness Gathering will be held in Victoria, British Columbia in November 2017, complimenting the 3rd anniversary of the recognition and proclamation of Aboriginal Disability Awareness Month within the province.
Help to make this a memorable and successful event through your planned attendance. Most importantly though, through your insight, knowledge and partnership, help to make a difference in the lives of many by assisting to eliminate the barriers facing these very important members of our communities, provinces / territories and our country.
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