Indigenous Disability and Wellness Gathering
Victoria Conference Center - Victoria, BC
08-10 November 2021
The 2021 Gathering will be held in Victoria, BC and on the ancestral lands of the Lekwungen People. We will be celebrating BCANDS' 30th anniversary and the 7th anniversary of Indigenous Disability Awareness Month (IDAM) being recognized and proclaimed.
The Gathering brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments, leadership, service providers, community members and others to learn, connect, and collaborate in addressing the unique barriers Indigenous peoples with disabilities face. We will continue to take the necessary steps forward in dismantling both historical and current barriers, and the attitudes and perceptions that negatively impact Indigenous peoples living with disabilities. By forming new and expanded partnerships, we can collaborate and identify the best practices for the broader disability and health sectors.
Together, we will help shape a Canada that is inclusive and responsive to the needs of all peoples and abilities.
Why should we gather together?
Indigenous persons living with a disability often face many unique jurisdictional barriers, restrictive policies, and discrimination when seeking necessary supports for their specific disability-related needs. These factors, and others, contribute to the exclusion and the lack of recognition of Indigenous persons living with a disability as equal members in our society. This population continues to be marginalized, and COVID-19 further amplified these conditions.
Statistics Canada notes that the frequency of disabilities among Indigenous persons is higher than the national average, which is conservatively estimated at 30%. Other research suggests the overall disability rates for Indigenous peoples in Canada is 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 for Indigenous women in impoverished populations, significantly increases. In 2016, Statistics Canada also stated that 4 out of 5 First Nation communities have a median income below the poverty line.
BENEFITS OF ATTENDING THE 2021 GATHERING
Learn about the latest news and initiatives relating to Indigenous disability and wellness in Canada;
Participate in the 7th anniversary Indigenous Disability Awareness Month;
Learn from Indigenous and non-Indigenous leadership, service providers, advocates, governments about the barriers, priorities, and opportunities relevant to your organization and / or community;
Interact with Gathering Speakers, Delegates, Colleagues and Vendors in the Indigenous disability sector from across Canada;
Experience on-site disability and health information and resources at the numerous Vendor tables;
Enjoy a welcome Gathering bag with information and swag, three hot breakfasts, three hot lunches, beverage breaks, daily door prizes and more;
Enjoy the Tuesday evening Mix & Mingle Social, including traditional dance;
Attend the presentation of the BCANDS 2021 National Indigenous Partnership Award; and
Enjoy the numerous attractions beautiful Victoria has to offer
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough - tentative
Carla Qualtrough is the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. Previously Minister Qualtrough was the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, and prior to that was the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. Prior to her career in politics, Carla was successful lawyer, dedicated volunteer, and Paralympic swimmer. Committed to equity and inclusion, Carla has practiced human rights law at the federal and provincial levels. She chaired the Minister’s Council on Employment and Accessibility in British Columbia, and was an adjudicator with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal.
Carla has been visually impaired since birth. Passionate about the power of sport and physical activity to change lives, Carla has volunteered locally, nationally, and internationally, including with the International Paralympic Committee and for the Toronto 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games. She has been President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Chair of the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada. Carla was on the Board of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, and was Vice-Chair of the Delta Gymnastics Society. As an athlete, Carla won three Paralympic and four World Championship medals. Carla has degrees in political science from the University of Ottawa and law from the University of Victoria. Among many awards for her work, she has been named one of Canada’s Most Influential Women in Sport six times, received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and was the 2017 recipient of the BCANDS National Indigenous Partnership Award.
Steven Estey is a former Human Rights Officer at Disabled Peoples' International, a Canadian based non-government organization that works globally to advance the human rights of persons with disabilities. Steven is currently under contract with BCANDS as the Lead Consultant in the Society's work domestically and internationally on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
For more than 25 year Steven has worked with disabled peoples' organizations, human rights institutions, governments, intergovernmental organizations and United Nations agencies to advance disability rights. Steven has extensive experience in the areas of government relations, international cooperation, economic development, human rights and disability.
Erin Christensen is the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society's (BCANDS) Accessibility Lead. Erin has engaged and coordinated with First Nation leadership, organizations, and community membership across Canada around accessibility issues and the Accessible Canada Act. Erin is also the lead in annually promoting and raising awareness of National Indigenous AccessAbility Week across Canada.
Tabatha is the Acting Director of Policy, Research and International at the Canadian Human Rights Commission. For a number of years, she has been the Manager of the Commission’s international program. In that role, she has served as the Commission’s primary point of engagement with the United Nations, regional bodies, and the international network of national human rights institutions. Tabatha has represented the Commission before various United Nations bodies and has spoken at a number of domestic and international events on the role of national human rights institutions in monitoring the implementation of international human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Prior to joining the Commission, Tabatha served as a Labour Relations and Human Rights Advisor to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for several years.
In addition to her Bachelor of Commerce degree, Tabatha holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland.
The British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) is an internationally recognized, award-winning, and not-for-profit Indigenous disability organization. BCANDS provides disability related programs and services across Canada and holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations since 2018.
Advancing the unique disability and health priorities of Indigenous persons through collaboration, consultation, and the delivery of comprehensive client services.
An inclusive and accessible Canada for all Indigenous persons and families living with disabilities where their disability and health priorities / needs are identified, planned for and addressed through relevant, responsive and holistic programs, services and policies.
Programs & Services
BCANDS engages in a variety of services and initiatives to assist Indigenous individuals and families living with disabilities. Some of these include:
Indigenous Disability Awareness Month activities (IDAM)
National Indigenous AccessAbility Week promotion
Government liaison, consultation and collaboration
For more information: www.bcands.bc.ca