One in two Canadians affected by disability

 Toronto Rehab strikes a pose on big problem of disability

Ontario Rehab flash mob campaign for disability awareness (photo Toronto Rehab)
Toronto Rehab is conducting a unique flash mob campaign to raise awareness of disability. 1 in 2 will be touched by disability, “either personally or in their immediate family.” (video after the story break)
In Toronto, the flash mobs have been doing street theatre with people in t-shirts marker “1″ and “2″ to illustrate how pervasive disability is.
“We want to take the campaign to the streets at a grassroots level, in addition to more formal channels,” Jennifer Ferguson, vice-president of marketing & communications, explained in a phone interview.
“Reactions were mixed – some people just walk on by, but others stop and take a moment to look and read, and told their friends “there’s something weird going on,” she added. (City TV News
Perhaps you thought it was just kids on Easter Seals right? If we are lucky enough to live to 65 – and who doesn’t want to be – 40% of us will have a disability. More of us are living to 75 these days – the age at which half the population has one or more disabilities.
Toronto Rehab Flash Mob at Old City Hall (image Toronto Rehab)

Toronto Rehab is trying to make the public aware that disability is a problem and there are things that can be done to help.
Last year, CBC Charlottetown told me “disability is your issue.”
That attitude has to change. Disability affects one in two Canadians and costs taxpayers billions in health care, lost productivity and lost potential.
Instead of marginalizing people with disabilities on the fringe where they are unhappy, rehabilitation can put people with disabilities back into society and back to work in many cases.
The cost of not doing something is enormous. People with disabilities can be one of the largest groups accessing health care. If they can work, being on disability pension is a waste of human capital, to say nothing of the lost tax revenues.

New techniques, therapies and assistive technology can put people with disabilities back to work, often taking care of themselves.
“This is a huge issue for our society,” Jennifer Ferguson said. “Toronto Rehab is at the forefront of trying to develop new treatment techniques and new technologies to support people as they age and become disabled so that they can live more independently and at home for as long as possible.”  (Toronto Star)
I first noticed this campaign on TV last night. Sun TV was running ads showing leading edge technology for disability rehab. It was exciting. Instead of sitting pitiably in wheelchairs, people were being helped to walk again.
With stories from City TV and Toronto Star.

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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