My name is Godfrey Dubon and I am currently a student at George Brown College in the Community Worker Program. In my political science course at George Brown College, Professor Resh asked us to think about micro, meso, and macro levels of analyzing as a tool to overcome a human rights issue, and then to provide solutions. I identify as a person with a permanent disability and I am doing my school placement at a non-profit housing agency called Portland Place.
The human rights issue that I have chosen to bring forth is the issue of discrimination against people with disabilities. In my research, I have found that people with both visible and non-visible disabilities are being discriminated against, and there are not many places for them to ask for help, nor are there jobs available that can and are willing to support them to live decently. The purpose of this report is to bring to your awareness the fact that people are being differentiated against in our community due to a lack of opportunity and accessibility, especially within the housing and employment sectors.
The disability population experiences internal discrimination within their own communities, and external discrimination by the larger community in Toronto, Ontario. This letter is intended to illustrate these issues of discrimination through micro, meso, and macro levels of analysis and to propose suggested actions for change.The micro-level analysis helps to study how the daily individual lives of those with disabilities are impacted from facing discrimination in Toronto, Ontario. For the purpose of this letter, I have chosen to focus on discrimination in the workforce, and within a specific non-profit housing agency called Portland Place. I believe that the actions, behaviours, and interactions of Portland Place are unacceptable and negatively affect the lives and well-being of its residents and clients with disabilities. The perceptions of people with disabilities by some of the clients and staff are questionable because of poor treatment by management regarding the basic needs of their residents. For exampleIt is important that we address these issues because discrimination can lead to challenges that include social isolation, unemployment, mental/physical illness, poverty, homelessness, and lack of education. Firstly, when people feel judged or discriminated against by others, they tend to isolate and may not want to go out in public. It is imperative that we engage the community in education about discrimination, anti-oppression training, and social-recreational programming and opportunities to reduce stigma and social isolation and increase inclusion. Secondly, unemployment is a huge issue – we need more jobs out there that are accessible for those with disabilities and we also need to look at ensuring that people can access the appropriate accommodations when needed; employment agencies can assist by providing access to training programs, job matching, job coaching, etc. Thirdly, mental health can be affected by discrimination; discrimination can lead to depression, anxiety, etc. which may be left untreated if the person is not comfortable seeking help due to fear of or actual discrimination. Physical health can also suffer when people can’t access medical supports (whether because the space is not an accessible space, or perhaps they do not feel comfortable due to feeling discriminated against). We must ensure that all buildings are accessible and consider offering more accessible service options such as consults over the phone, online, or home visits. Anti-oppression training for healthcare staff is also important. Fourth, poverty/homelessness can result from a lack of available jobs for this population due to discrimination, and from mental or physical illness due to discrimination. For those who qualify, ODSP supports are minimal and barely enough to get by. We need more affordable and supportive housing with shorter wait times. Fifth, there is a lack of access to affordable education, and many people are not even aware of what kinds of accommodations are available to assist them in obtaining an education and being successful in its completion. Lastly, many people with disabilities struggle with legal issues, and, according to a new study, People with disabilities are more likely to be arrested by age 28 than non-disabled people (Mitchell, 2017). Access to restorative justice programs and legal aid services are imperative to help with re-integration into the community after a legal matter. The analysis of the meso level helps us to study the positive and negative connections with institutions that should be or are involved in this issue. The meso level specifies what actions each level of government is taking, the impact of these actions, and how they connect to issues of discrimination in people with disabilities in non-profit housing and the workforce. For example, the meso level looks at the effects of employment agencies and employers, housing agencies such as Housing Connections, educational institutions, healthcare agencies such as CAMH, legal agencies such as Legal Aid, and social/recreational programming on the population being discussed. Many institutions, organizations, or private or public health care can be overrun by the demands of people with disabilities. The macro level analysis studies the roots of the policies of anti-ideology, history, values, and trends, and their effects on people with disabilities. For example, Historically, people with disabilities have been isolated and shut off from society in the form of micro solutions, i.e. solutions specifically and exclusively geared to this group. Examples are special kindergartens, special schools, sheltered workshops, institutions and special housing, and special and therefore segregated transportation systems (Ratzka, n.d). For many people with disabilities, it is essential to find peers or friends that have similar issues or share similar situations; for example, the Push Girls, have created inspiration, empowerment, and support for other people with disabilities (Rockwood, 2015). Examples of institutions that should be involved at the macro level are employment and social development agencies such as Service Canada and Service Ontario, housing agencies such as Toronto Community Housing Corporation, family service agencies, mental health agencies such the Mental Health Commission of Canada, legal services, and all other institutions that are connected with human rights, because discrimination against people with disabilities is a human rights issue. The policies that should be connected with this issue are AODA and Anti-discrimination because.. In conclusion, this letter is intended to inform how the workforce and agencies such as Portland Place non-profit housing are connected to policies on the issues of discrimination and the impact they have on people with disabilities. It is also intended to outline solutions to this issue. Many people have been oppressed by the abuse of power from service providers such as employment agencies and non-profit housing agencies like Portland Place. It seems that laws do not apply at Portland Place, and the bureaucracy can sometimes make problems bigger than when they started. The architecture of Portland Place is like a jail mentality. The non-verbal and verbal language and communication can often be abusive at times and can negatively affect the daily life of its residents. I believe that it is important to address these issues so that people with disabilities will receive equal and fair accessibility and treatment so that they can live the their lives to the fullest. Yours Sincerely,Godfrey Dubon