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Social Programs - Persons with Disabilities Disability touches all Canadians It does not distinguish between age gender or socio-economic class Persons with disabilities are our parents our brothers our sisters our colleagues our friends our neighbours and ourselves Approximately 42 million of us - one in six Canadians of all ages - have a disability see appendix A In many communities the rate is even higher For example approximately 30 per cent of Aboriginal adults report a disability more than double that of the national rate Feldman p67 The reality today is that persons with disabilities still face barriers that prevent them from participating fully in Canadian society This is an issue that confronts us within families in educational and training institutions in the workplace in community groups and in every other aspect of Canadian life The social and economic development of our country depends on all Canadians having an equal chance to contribute their gifts and abilitiesLucas p23 The Government of Canada and the provinces and territories recognize that removing the barriers to full participation faced by persons with disabilities is vital to that development Indeed governments have worked to remove the barriers that prevent full participation They have done so individually but also in partnership with other orders of government and with interested groups and individuals in all parts of Canada The purpose of this essay is to outline the past present and future initiatives taken by the Government of Canada to reach the equal treatment of all Canadians including those with disabilities and to attempt to relate these initiatives and programs to the economic goals and policies of Canada In order to examine the various programs designed to assist Canadians living with disabilities it is important to first understand the types of challenges that confront these persons There are three main categories of issues that persons with disabilities must deal with on a daily basis The first is the personal
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