Friday, 26 July 2013

A petition against lack of communication with people with disabilities — revised Friday at 5:15 p.m.

We’ve started a petition today against the Disabled Adult Transportation System on their new policy, set to roll into gear Sept. 1. DATS is changing their cancellation policy from 30 minutes to two hours without any consultation with their users. We petitioning the policy — and the lack of communication DATS had with their users: they only shared the news in the DATS newsletter — after the policy was changed.

We’ve seen this lack of consultation rodeo before. In June, Alberta Health Services made wide sweeping changes to home care without — you guessed it — any consultation. In fact, (I know from personal experience as I am a home care user) when existing home care programs were asked to submit proposals, we were told if we called our MLA or the media our proposal could very well be disqualified. Why does the word bullying comes to mind?

Perhaps we’re seeing a trend. I think we need to make a statement and encourage all levels of government to have better consultation with people with disabilities before making significant changes. But, first things first: the DATS policy. If we get enough signatures by Aug. 1 on the lack of consultation with users on the new DATS cancellation policy we will deliver the petition to Edmonton City Council. One never knows: maybe City Council will reverse DATS cancellation policy. After all, we will have talked to people to get their input. 


Anonymous said...

I e-signed your petition, however I do have a comment. In order to be consulted we the disabled need to be FAR better organized as a group with a common cause (disabled rights and supports for the disabled) rather than just a whole bunch of individuals that happen to have disabilities.

Unfortunately, I am not prepared to "practice what I preach" in the sense of helping set such a group up; it's not my nature. However, I'd be more than happy to join one if one got going.

--- Douglas Martin

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your post and I too am tired of being treated like our needs don't matter. The fact that this cancellation policy may work for Dats, the client needs aren't considered. What really concerns me is their policy to keep us on the vehicle up to 90 minutes AFTER pick-up and NOT provide a drop off time is ridiculous. If they want to appear as part of transit, they need to act like it. No one taking ETS would tolerate what Dats users are forced to comply with.

Dats users need to speak up and demand reasonable consideration!

Sylvia Boucher

Anonymous said...

This new 2 hour cancellation rule certainly ideally benefits DATS but it is unworkable for clients. There are many occasions when clients do not know 2 hours in advance that they will have to cancel. For example, say you have just woken up sick and you have an early morning pickup in less than 2 hours – what can you do!? In an ideal world two hour notice is wonderful for DATS but the disabled live in less than ideal world and two hours notice makes life even more difficult. Increasingly DATS has fit their system to their own needs and not those of their clients (e.g. lengthy pick-up windows allotted to drivers {1/2 – 1 hr.}, 1 ½ - 2 hrs grace for travel times encouraging inefficient, sloppy scheduling) and the client waits, waits, waits. The current notice of ½ hr. Is certainly more than adequate and should not be changed.

Nancy Gilmore