Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research

Assessing the Ability of Disability Organizations: An Interprovincial Comparative Perspective

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research

Assessing the Ability of Disability Organizations: An Interprovincial Comparative Perspective

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Despite much effort put toward Canadian social policy renewal in the past decade, innovations in programming have been stifled due in large part to a lack of funding and accountability issues. This is clearly evident in the disability policy field related to labour market programming for persons with disabilities where the packaging of programs has continually changed; however, the actual contents have largely remained the same. The focus on federal-provincial dimensions has come to marginalize the role of disability organizations in the process, yet it is these organizations that governments may enter into partnership with in new governance arrangements to foster new programming. This article reviews data from charitable tax returns for the time period 2005-2010 to assess the human, financial, and technological capacity of Canadian disability organizations in five Canadian provinces, in order to implement innovative programming.

RÉSUMÉ

Malgré beaucoup d'efforts au renouvellement de la politique sociale canadienne dans la dernière décennie, les innovations dans la programmation ont été étouffées en grande partie à l'absence de questions de financement et de responsabilité. Cela est très évidente dans le domaine de la politique handicap lié à la programmation du marché du travail pour les personnes handicapées où l'emballage des programmes a constamment changé mais le contenu réel est restés largement pareilles. L'accent sur les dimensions provinciales fédérales est venu à marginaliser le rôle des organisations de personnes handicapées dans le processus, mais ce sont ces organismes que les gouvernements peuvent entrer en partenariat avec de nouveaux modes de gouvernance pour favoriser la nouvelle programmation. Cet article examine les données de bienfaisance des déclarations de revenus pour la période 2005-2010 pour évaluer les capacités humaines, financières et technologiques des organisations de personnes handicapées canadiennes dans cinq provinces canadiennes à mettre en oeuvre des programmes novateurs.

Keywords / Mots clés : Disability; Policy capacity; Disability associations; Policy change; Canada / Handicap; Capacité politique; Les associations de personnes handicapées; Changement de politique; Canada

INTRODUCTION

The lack of innovation in labour market programming for persons with disabilities in Canada has been well documented (HRSDC, 2008; Graefe & Levesque, 2010). Efforts to move from the delivery of broad vocational programming to innovative and targeted measures that prepare persons with disabilities for entry into the labour market have been met with limited success in that there have been few new programs introduced. Rather, the past ten years have mainly seen the repackaging or continuation of programs long established under the Vocational Rehabilitation Development Program (HRSDC, 2010). Exactly how such repackaging or continuation of old programs can meet current needs of persons with disabilities is unclear; a point stressed by many front line service workers and disability organizations (Graefe & Levesque, 2006, 2010). These results are surprising given the significant efforts the federal and provincial governments have expended at renewing the Canadian social union since 1995, including negotiation of the Social Union Framework Agreement (SUFA) and various social policy agreements (e.g., Labour Market Programming for Persons with Disabilities) (Telford, Graefe, & Banting, 2008).

Two main reasons have been put forth to explain the lack of "on the ground" changes: federalism and funding (Boismenu, 2006; Graefe & Levesque, 2006). Simply put, Canadian federal and provincial governments have been caught in debates surrounding constitutional jurisdictions and accountability mechanisms. The fact that labour market programming for persons with disabilities has attracted little funding, especially when compared to the early learning and child care fields (Friendly & White, 2008), has further complicated matters. …

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