Planning For Inclusion? Persons with Disabilities and Emergency Preparedness in Ontario

Authors: Charlotte Pyke*, , Robert Wilton, Supervisor
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Disabilities, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: Disability, inclusion, emergency prepardness, inclusive planning
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Cleveland 1, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The opinions and expertise of persons with disabilities are often absent from emergency preparedness planning. As a result, when emergencies occur disabled people’s needs may go unmet. While there have been recent efforts to acknowledge the need for disability inclusive planning processes (in, for example, the development of a Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction framework), more research is needed to understand how efforts to include the perspectives and experiences of disabled people work (or do not work) in practice. In this research, we examine the development of disability-inclusive emergency preparedness plan in Ontario, Canada. We use semi-structured interviews with key informants from the provincial government and disability organizations to unpack the planning and consultation process. Our analysis indicates that while the plan represents an important attempt to include people with disabilities in emergency preparedness planning, it falls short in a number of ways not least because it rests on a narrow conception of disability as physical limitation. In particular, people with intellectual disabilities are absent from the planning process and final plan, a fact that reflects their broader marginalization within society. We draw on interviews with a small sample of self-advocates living with intellectual disabilities to identify how the plan could be revised to recognize the views and experiences of this population.

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