Oh Canada

I know have an opinion on where it is best to be disabled. I know from recent experiences that discrimination legislation in Canada particularly western Canada is still in flux. What that means is that your experience for accommodation and protection under the law if you have a disability will vary.

From my experience in Canada, Ontario is the best province to have a disability in. The discrimination laws and accommodations available are, well accommodating. Ontario makes sure your rights are protected and that you have the equipment you need to study or work. At least they did when I lived there a number of years ago.

Alberta on the other hand has been an experience. You have to actively advocate for your rights and what you need. In a word you need to stand up and “fight” for what you need. The discrimination laws in western Canada are in flux and definitions remedies etc are different in the western provicnes. I’ve observed that in agriculture based cultures if its not right you kill it and bury it. Harsh perhaps but.

When I lived and worked in the US the conversation what do you need to get your job done and the gear was provided. I’ve lived with my disability long enough to know what works and what doesn’t. In Canada I have to crash and burn then build a business case and sometimes I’m accommodated and sometimes I’m not. I’ve changed jobs because of an organizations willingness to accommodate my disability or not.

I’ve found it very hard coming back to Alberta after living in Ontario and the US. Its been a very unenlightened experience. I’m glad I’m back in a city as small town red neck Alberta was not fun. Calgary has been a great experience so far, but I grew up here so I’m familiar with things here.

After all is said and done I prefer the Americans with Disabilities act in the US. There has been tones of backlash and people have resented it but overall the discussions the ADA has forced Americans to have has provided a much more enlightened and more consistent accommodation experience. I found people in the US far more aware of disability issues and more open to discussion and accommodation than in Canada. Terrible generalization but this has been my personal experience. I know the US experience will vary from region to region but the under pinning laws and values are still there.

I have worried about Canada recently. When I grew up it was a badge of honor to be a Canadian. Canadians were known as peace keepers and those who would aid humanity. Since I’ve spent time in the US Canada has taken up active military roles engaged in torture and somehow in my opinion lots the things that made Canadians Canadian. When I grew up we would thumb our noses at Americans because they were rude and stupid. After coming back from the US I can tell you there isn’t any difference. In fact I think the folks in the US were nicer.

I realize the world has changed but Canada seems to be in a state of self discovery figuring out who they are and what they stand for. I will continue to add to the discussion in my small way and see what happens.

Posted in: Living
Kyle Bergum

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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