Welcome to IL Vernon's BLOG

IL Vernon is a resource centre for people with a variety of disabilities! IL Vernon focuses its services on providing information about community services. For more information, please visit http://ilvernon.ca

Saturday, February 11, 2012

More than just Mutts - Assistance dogs for people with a variety of disabilities

More than just Mutts!

I recently heard someone say 'How can you call that a service dog, the person they're helping isn't blind?'

You might be surprised to learn that assistance dogs assist more than just people who are blind. In fact, there are assistance dogs who assist people with a variety of disabilities, such as hearing, severe diabetes, physical limitations, autism, psychiatric, or seizure disorders.

You may have heard stories of pets alerting their owners to health dangers, stopping intruders, or alerting them to a fire. Assistance dogs are specifically trained to assist with certain activities or detect behavior and/or mood changes in their handlers. Training and socialization for the dog is extensive and intense until they are about two years old. Once the dog is matched with the handler, there is more training for the newly formed team to build a strong bond.

How can you identify an assistance dog? In most cases, assistance dogs will be wearing a vest that clearly identifies them as an assistance dog and a harness for the handler to easily control the dog. The West Coast Assistance Teams website outlines some general and specific assistance dog ettiquette:

Generally, when you meet a person with an assistance dog, please remember that the dog is working. You don't want anything to interrupt the dog from performing its tasks.

  • Speak to the person first
  • Do not make distracting noises aimed at the assistance dog.
  • Do not touch the assistance dog without asking permission.
  • Do not feed an assistance dog.
  • Do not ask personal questions about the handler's disability
  • Don't be offended if the handler declines to chat about the assistance dog.
For more information about assistance dogs, some options include:

Registered Disability Savings Plan

Registered Disability Savings Plan

As a person with a disability, have you worried about how to save for the future? One answer might be the Registered Disability Savings Plan, which is a long-term savings plan to help Canadians with disabilities to save for the future.

To be eligible for the RDSP, individuals must be under the age of 60, a Canadian resident with a social insurance number, and Eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (Disability Amount). There are two ways the RDSP can grow, the Canada Disability Savings Grant and the Canada Disability Savings Bond.
Canada Disability Savings Grant:
The Government will match your contributions by 300, 200 or 100 percent depending on the beneficiary’s family income and the amount of your annual contribution. A maximum of $3,500 will be paid each year, with a lifetime limit of $70,000. Contributions made to an RDSP on or before December 31 of the year in which the beneficiary turns 49 are eligible to receive matching grants

Canada Disability Savings Bond:
Depending on your beneficiaries family income you may receive, a Canada Disability Savings Bond (CDSB) of up to $1,000 per year.
You do not need to make any contributions to your RDSP in order to receive the bond. There is a lifetime limit of $20,000. Bonds will be paid into an RDSP on eligible requests made on or before December 31 of the year in which the beneficiary turns 49.

You can withdraw from your RDSP at any time however it is important to be aware of the 10 year rule - All grants or bonds received have a ten year waiting period. If you withdraw any of the grant or bond money received in the previous ten years, it must be paid back to the Government. So it makes sense to keep the savings in there for the 10 year waiting period.

One aspect that makes the RDSP unique, is the money in your RDSP can be used for any purpose. Even for people accessing Persons with Disabilities Designation through the Ministry of Social Development, money from an RDSP is not considered income, therefore will not affect the level of support you get.

For more information about this program, ask your financial institution, visit www.disabilitysavings.gc.ca or contact Crystal at IL Vernon at 250-545-9292.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Updating Measuring Up Vernon

With the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with disabilities, accessibility needs to be brought to the attention of policy makers and governments!  IL Vernon is in the process of updating our report Measuring Up from 2008.  Below is a draft in progress of the Measuring UP Report!

Measuring UP Vernon 2012 Draft

Photos to be added include the following:

 New sidewalk in 2012, curb cut still not in the direction in the pedestrian traffic

 Stop sign in the middle of the sidewalk

 Narrow sidewalk due to phone poll
 A person in a large electric wheelchair got stuck at this corner.  Needed two people to help him get his wheels unstuck.

 Asphalt not flush with curb cut and damaged
 Another damaged curbcut

 Broken pavement on the sidewalk
 Steep incline on the sidewalk from an access for an alley
 Edge on the side of the sidewalk tripping hazard
 Damaged curb cut
 patch on a curb cut

 Lamp post in the new bus terminus makes the sidewalk very narrow
 This is an example of a perfect curb cut! Two curb cuts in the direction of the pedestrian traffic!

 In front of city hall, Accessible parking space, with the curb cut in the wrong place for the passenger and/or driver.
We think this is suppose to be a ramp in front of the RCMP station in Vernon.  But too narrow to any large wheelchair or scooter.

Another example of asphalt not flush with the curb cut.  Due to it being winter in the picture, we had to dig out the dirt.

IL Vernon will be recommending City Council adopt a new Accessibility Committee to deal with these issues with a long term vision.