PLN LIST is an email bulletin begun in 2001 for exchanging news and views about strategies of building and maintaining personal support networks for people with disabilities, and associated issues. PLN LIST came into being at the time Planned Lifetime Networks was incorporated in the Waterloo-Wellington region of southern Ontario. Members of the List are now distributed in communities across Canada, with some in other countries too.

PLN LIST is a free service maintained by Elizabeth & Gerald Bloomfield and hosted by the University of Guelph with technical support by Peter McCaskell. We welcome items of news and comment which should be sent to They will be grouped in batches for posting from time to time. Frequency depends on the volume of material submited and the urgency of announcing meetings or recommending advocacy.

Click for our archive of past PLN bulletins

a. If you wish to join or leave PLN LIST, please send a request including your first name and last name and your email address, to with "PLN" in the subject area.

b. When you have ideas and announcements to share with others, please send a message to  with "PLN" in the subject area.

12 June 2004

Look up  link to list of earlier bulletins for announcements and news that may be still current.

If you are concerned with Autism Spectrum Disorders, please note the wealth of news, announcements and other links in the Autism News Bulletins that are archived on the OAARSN website. Click for the list of OAARSN bulletins that are also concerned with general issues of disability and inclusion.


Canada Votes 2004 --
--and so can all our adults aged 18 and over!

Call Elections Canada at 1 800 463 6868 to find the local number for your region
John Toft of Ottawa shares his research on how our adults with autism can be supported to exercise their citizenship rights. He  contacted Elections Canada by phone to ask what the specific procedures are for helping developmentally handicapped adults vote. There is no short answer.
1. If the adult is ill or physically unable to go to the polling station, then the vote may be cast by a special ballot. For this you have to contact the Returning Officer for the particular Riding as soon as possible.
2. For developmentally handicapped residents in group homes, you may contact the Returning Officer and arrange for a mobile ballot to be set up at the group home, a similar process to that at Retirement Residences.
3. For those unable to read or with reading difficulties, the Deputy Returning Officer, in the presence of the Polling Clerk can assist in the voting process.

4. A friend, relative, spouse or common law spouse may accompany the developmentally handicapped adult to the voting compartment after that
friend etc. has sworn an oath about the person and their handicap.
5. If the developmentally handicapped adult is not on the voting register, you can still get that person included by contacting the Returning Officer for the Riding and visiting that officer in person with certain I.D. items. Contact the Returning Officer to see exactly what is needed.
Elections Canada will provide contact phone numbers and addresses of Returning Officers. You can also identify the Polling Station and Riding through that contact.
Find more information on Elections Canada website:


In this federal election,
For a discussion of important issues, while not endorsing particular parties, check out the website of the Council for Canadians at


Federal Election 2004:
What the Party Platforms Say on Disability


Thanks to the Canadian Association for this brief summary of what party platforms are saying about disability. 

CACL encourages everyone who lives with disability to effectively engage in the 2004 election. CACL is interested in knowing what is happening in your community and what candidates are saying across the country.  Please take the time to fill us in on the interactions you have had with candidates in your ridings. For more information please contact Anna MacQuarrie – 416-661-9611

Liberal Party:

  • A commitment to enable persons with disabilities to live in their communities.$1 billion investment over five years to support family caregivers.
  • A commitment to double the amount of medical and disability related expenses that can be claimed by a caregiver on behalf of a dependent relative to $10,000.
  • A commitment to work with the provinces and stakeholder groups to develop a comprehensive strategy to increase support for "informal" caregivers - spouses, children and close relatives and friends. This strategy would include various models of delivery.
  • Acknowledges families’ needs: respite - temporary breaks from the emotional and physical exhaustion of round-the-clock responsibility.
    • Information and training with respect to the needs of the care receiver.
    • Counselling and peer support.

Additionally, the last federal budget committed:

  •  A new deduction for disability support-related expenses for employment or education purposes signals a trend towards improving tax fairness for persons with disabilities and their families.
  • A $30 million investment in Federal Provincial and Territorial Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities and a commitment to act as a model employer.
  • A new up-front grant of up to $2000 for persons with disabilities increasing opportunities for post-secondary education.

Conservative Party of

 The Conservative Party has not yet released a specific policy platform outlining commitments to persons with disabilities and their families.  They have announced a commitment to family caregivers:

  • A commitment to double the size of the caregivers’ tax credit to cover $7,000 in allowable expenses.

 We have encouraged the Conservative Party of Canada to use the leaders’ debates to highlight their commitments to persons with disabilities and their families and to let Canadians know where they stand on these issues.


 Implementing public or non-profit-based home care throughout Canada, based on the patient per year than community-based home care, which plans for an aging population while relieving the burden on families, especially on women, who disproportionately care for elderly relatives.

  • Improving access to the CPP/QPP for women by expanding the current “drop-out” provision for child care to include other unpaid care, such as that for senior family members.
  • Removing the GST from family essentials, including medical equipment.
  • Working with the provincial and territorial governments to set up a single income support mechanism for persons with disabilities, including a system of national disability supports.
  • Developing a labour market strategy for persons with disabilities that includes a plan for increased participation in the federal government workforce and expanded measures to help other employers to make workplaces accessible and accommodate persons with disabilities.
  • Expanding the Special Opportunities Grant Program to recognize the extra costs associated with one’s disability and the costs of accommodations for training, postsecondary education and job opportunities.
  • Making the disability tax credit and medical expenses tax credit fully refundable.
  • Establishing an independent commissioner who reports directly to Parliament to monitor federal departments’ compliance to all policies for persons with disabilities and who advises ministers about the effects on persons with disabilities of upcoming legislation or regulations.

 Bloc Québécois

 The Bloc Québécois has not yet released a specific policy platform outlining commitments to persons with disabilities and their families. 
 Their platform does mention the need to make television and radio accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
We have encouraged the Bloc Quebecois to use the leaders’ debate to highlight their commitments to persons with disabilities and their families and to let Canadians know where they stand on these issues.


Vote Now! Disability Savings Plan

Sign the Petition and make it an election priority

Speech from the Throne, 2004:

 “Many Canadians with disabilities are ready to contribute but confront difficult obstacles in the workplace and in their communities. And too often, families are left on their own to care for a severely disabled relative. Here too, the Government of Canada has a role.”

Canada cannot afford to squander the talents of people with disabilities or turn its back on those who seek to provide care and a life of dignity for family members with severe disabilities.”

“The Government will also improve the fairness of the tax system for people with disabilities, and their supporting families, based on the findings of the Advisory Committee on Tax Measures, which will report this fall and will implement early actions in areas of priority.”

The recent Throne Speech indicates that issues affecting people with disability and their families will be a priority in this federal election.

As Canadian families, we have long wanted recognition in the tax system for the extraordinary costs associated with having a disability, or supporting our sons and daughters with disabilities to become contributing citizens.

The need is more critical than ever.  For the first time in history, persons with disabilities are outliving their parents.  At the same time, an aging population will strain our Governments’ ability to address many other social issues. 

The Disability Savings Plan will provide a flexible savings vehicle with a tax incentive that encourages families to make financial contributions during their lifetimes, without penalty by provincial programs.  The Disability Savings Plan will assist us to utilize our financial resources to secure a good life forourselves and/or our relatives with a disability – now and in the future.  It will provide recognition for our contributions – a tax deferment – and provide a mechanism to help, without jeopardizing provincial disability benefits.

Let’s build on the momentum from the Throne Speech and rally families across Canada

Let’s encourage Prime Minister Martin as well as all other candidates in the federal election to support the Disability Savings Plan.

Let’s secure the endorsement of each federal party now!




1)     Sign our on-line petition at

2)     Write Prime Minister Paul Martin and the leaders of the other federal parties (Samples at and follow the links)

3)     Talk to your candidates in the upcoming federal election: (See candidates briefing kit at and follow the links)

4)     Forward our petition to other families that you know.

Get more information and sign up for updates at or contact Jack Styan at

PLAN Institute for Citizenship & Disability
Suite 260 - 3665 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC
V5R 5W2
Tel:  604-439-9566
Fax: 604-439-7001


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