GOING OUT TOGETHER! Campaign for Comprehensive Attendant Services
Sponsored by PIMO and the Montreal Attendant Services Board, the GOING OUT TOGETHER! Campaign for Comprehensive Attendant Services (ON SORT ENSEMBLE ! Pour un accompagnement à part entière) is designed to make the public and elected officials more aware of the need by individuals with mobility, cognitive, language, sensory and perceptual disabilities for attendant services, as well as the importance of establishing attendant services throughout Quebec, in line with the Comprehensive Attendant Service Policy (Politique À part entière).
Various consciousness-raising activities were organized from June 1 to 7, 2017, to promote discussion on the issue of attendant services as part of Quebec’s 2017 Week for Disabled Persons (Semaine québécoise des personnes handicapées).
In videos made for our social networking campaign, we asked people on the street in different parts of Montreal, “Who are you caring for?”. Their answers showed that many are already acting as volunteer attendants and others would be able to do so within their means and abilities, since everyone has some friends and family who require such services. Practically everyone, in fact, has needed or will need an attendant at some point in their life.
The vast demand for attendant services exceeds the government’s ability to handle it alone. Mutual assistance and volunteer work should be encouraged, with better support for structures that recruit and train such volunteers. Specialized attendant services should also be developed throughout Quebec to meet the needs of people with more serious disabilities or who require trained staff.
This is the model that we and the Montreal Attendant Services Board are recommending—and what we proposed to Montreal’s senior’s network and the Fédération des centres d’action bénévole du Québec during our June 1 press conference at UQAM, kicking off Quebec’s 2017 Week for Disabled Persons.
PIMO also launched a petition for funding structured attendant services throughout Quebec, including the ready-to-be-deployed Montreal model, at this same press conference.
The consciousness-raising activities organized for the Different Like Everyone (Différents comme tout le monde) event held the same day underscored the many facets of attendant services and helped us collect the petition’s first 298 signatures.
What does “attendant services” mean to someone who is blind or visually impaired, confined to a wheelchair, autistic, cognitively challenged or who has loss of autonomy linked to aging?
The participatory activities presented by organizations at this event provided an idea of what attendant services for a disabled person involve.
PIMO prepared various obstacle courses under the “STEP UP TO THE CHALLENGE!” banner, inviting visitors to use a wheelchair to get around on their own, encouraged by an experienced attendant who assisted them when necessary.
Disabled persons and their attendants wearing t-shirts with coordinated messages circulated among visitors to boost their awareness and ask them to sign the petition.
RAAMM and Autisme Montréal simulated real-life situations to help visitors understand the need for support by people with non-apparent disabilities.
We also wanted to make visitors aware of the need for volunteers. Members of Les Accordailles spoke with some visitors to see if they were interested in such workers. Volunteer recruitment posters were put up at the site.
A photo booth let visitors take pictures supporting our campaign.
The event was also animated with artwork by disabled artists featuring attendant services.
Passers-by were also able to visit a photo exhibition featuring attendant services for some 10 days following the event.
Thanks to the support of Montréal’s STM, PIMO and its partners presented their GOING OUT TOGETHER! booth at the Berri-UQAM metro station, where they distributed awareness-enhancement cards and obtained more than 300 additional signatures on the street.
The campaign continues. We will continue to reach out to the public and elected officials over the next year—a crucial period for developing attendant services.
The campaign will continue through June 2017 to collect the thousands of signatures needed to convince Quebec’s National Assembly to fund development of structured services throughout Quebec using the read-to-be-deployed Montreal model.
Public support is very important this year because PIMO will not receive help for its promotional efforts from Centraide. It will be more difficult without such assistance to convince the government to invest in attendant services. Furthermore, only those who can afford such services can currently obtain them. The vast numbers of people who cannot will remain confined to their homes. Is this the kind of society we want?
Please sign this petition yourself—and ask others to sign it—and mail it back to us. The petition will be posted on the Quebec National Assembly’s site in February 2018 and remain there for three months (maximum time allowed). That’s why it’s so important to get the word out—and get everyone you know to sign!
To be part of the solution and see what happens next, please visit PIMO Montreal’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PIMOMontreal.