Montrealers with disabilities protest to demand better living conditions
Published Monday, September 1, 2014 5:30PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 1, 2014 6:30PM EDT
A group of Montrealers with disabilities took part in a protest Monday to demand better living conditions.
The group of 60 or so demonstrators marched from Parc Lafontaine to the Premier Philippe Couillard's office demanding better living conditions.
People with disabilities often live below the poverty line, and face discrimination in many ways.
“It's really time for the Quebec society to step up and sort of get with the times in North America,” said Mimi Cummins who drove in from Abitibi for the protest. “Quebec is at least 20 years behind much of North America, especially the United States, as far as accessibility goes.”
More than 765,000people in Quebec have with disabilities, which is 10.4 per cent of the population.
Laurent Morisette, the president of Handicap-Quebec, lives on $920 per month
“It's not because we don't want to work, it's because we can't work,” he said.
In spite of that, in order to receive welfare, disabled Quebecers cannot be married or even have a roommate, said Veronique Dionne.
“I can't even have a friend live with me for company or I won't get any money,” she said.
Groups that work with the disabled have long asked for the rules to be changed.
They are also asking for more homecare. The government prefers to put disabled people into long-term facilities, said Richard Guilmette, who founded Handicap-Quebec and publishes its web magazine.
“It makes no sense,” said Guilmette. “Putting someone into a long-term facility costs the government $90,000 dollars a year. Full time help at home costs $28,000. Why would they think we'd be happier in an institution than in our homes?”
A spokesperson for Health Minister Gaetan Barrette said he's working on increasing home healthcare, but it's just not possible for everyone to stay home.
Not only do many with disabilities have trouble finding jobs, but if they do, they often have trouble commuting, said Cummins.
“If you look at Montreal's metro system, seven out of 68 are accessible whereas in most of the U.S. every single subway station is wheelchair accessible,” she said.