"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

All in a Twitter

It's all in a twitter, I am.

It finally happened. I done went and did it! *

Admittedly, what finally made me branch out to Twitter was the need to keep an eye on my daughter's shenanigans, but as long as I was already there ...

Won't you please come tweet with me?

As I've mused before, I intend to use am using Twitter to throw out those interesting little tidbits I so often come across on the Road to Hell (it being paved with good intentions and all), but never actually get around to blogging about.

That's right - I have just already begun to Tweet. Hope to see you there!

Does this officially make me a Twit? 
Do my feathers look okay??

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Disability and Human Rights Public Discussion Panel

I will get this put on the sidebar, eventually, I promise but I wanted to get this up now because tonight ... well, I am happy to say that tonight is time for a little "me time".

So for now, I will just have to leave you with this.
Date: March 6, 2013 @ 7 pm 
Location: Weldon Law Building, Dalhousie University 
On March 11, 2010, Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Convention, created to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity” serves to strengthen the Charter right to equality, as well as ensure federal, provincial and municipal laws respect the equal rights of persons with disabilities in all facets of Canadian life.

The ratification of the CRPD has presented a powerful opportunity for us to examine the accessibility and inclusivity of our province, and identify areas that need to be improved. The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, in partnership with Dalhousie University, Schulich School of Law and the Disabled Persons Commission, is committed to advocating for the full realization of CRPD rights in Nova Scotia, and is eager to engage in meaningful dialogue with our community on strategies for moving forward.
As part of an ongoing effort to ensure the full realization of CRPD rights through an inclusive and accessible Nova Scotia, we cordially invite you to a public discussion of CRPD rights and their implementation taking place at the Weldon Law Building, Dalhousie University, on the evening of Wednesday, March 6th, 2013, starting at 7 pm. A panel of distinguished speakers with a wealth of expertise in the field of CRPD rights will share their knowledge, and lend their perspectives to what we hope will be an engaging and informative discussion. 
In an effort to ensure this event is as accessible and inclusive as possible, CART and sign language interpretation will be provided. An accessible entrance is located on Edward Street. 
For more information, please contact Melissa Brayley at 424-4971.

How Time Flies Crawls

Does anyone recall back in 2008 when I mentioned that the United Way of Halifax was putting out the call for a 211 service in the province?
211 is personal telephone access to information about the full range of social services offered in a local community. It is especially valuable to seniors, newcomers and persons with disabilities trying to navigate the maze of services delivered by multiple levels of government and private providers.

Today residents in large cities like Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary, as well as smaller cities such as Windsor, Niagara Falls and Simcoe have access to 211, 24-7. Callers always talk to people and never a machine. Three more 211 initiatives will launch in 2008 in Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Quebec City. The premier of British Columbia has recently announced the commitment to the first provincewide 211 service in the throne speech.
How about in 2009 when we discussed Aliant agreeing to sponsor such a service and then Nova Scotia Minister Jamie Muir wanting to see more money from proponents on the table so the province wouldn't have to go it alone on the operating costs?

Or, for you relative newcomers to the blawg (or those with shorter memories), how about in 2011 when the government finally agreed to provide $585,000 to establish the system, along with some additional operational funding?

Well, I just thought I would let you know that what some might have thought was actually accomplished back in 2011 has finally come to fruition ... as in .... IT'S HERE! *
Families now have a single point of access to more than 3,000 government, community and social programs provincewide, thanks to government investment in the new 211 information and referral system, which went live on February 11. 
.  .  . 
"With the launch of 211, we've reached a major milestone on the path to connecting Nova Scotians with the community and social services they need, as soon as they need them," said Chuck Hartlen, chair of the 211 Nova Scotia board and senior vice-president, customer experience, Bell Aliant. "Whether it's through 211's highly trained information specialists or the website, the service offers access to the most thorough database of community and socials services in Nova Scotia.
.  .  . 
211 is available in English, French and a variety of other languages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Nova Scotians can access 211 by phone, email at info@ns.211.ca, or online at www.ns.211.ca.
You can read the whole thing here.

*Only 5 years later

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mark Start Your Calenders Engines

As you're no doubt aware, I have been offering presentations on various legal-related disability issues for a few years now.

It all started when, as I was in the process of creating the Nova Scotia Legal Guardianship Kit, it quickly became painfully obvious how few families really understood the differences between guardianship, powers of attorney and personal directives.

The need that I had identified (and which led to the creation of the Guardianship Kit) was so much greater than *just* being unable afford a lawyer in order to commence a guardianship application. There wasn't just a cost issue, there was a true information deficit.

Many years ago, someone explained to me that "there's what you know, there's what you don't know and there's what you don't know you don't know." I pondered that for a while and soon cam to realize how true it is. I also came to realize that, sadly, it's what you don't know that you don't know that is the real killer.

For example, lawyers are not taught everything there is too know about the law - it would be physically impossible to fit that much information into our little pea brains. What we are taught, beyond some basics, is where and how to find the answers to legal questions. In other words, we're taught the legal research skills needed to find the answers to those things we don't already know.

All of which is all fine and good, but what happens if a lawyer (or anyone else, for that matter) misses a potential issue? Just who is going to research the answer to a question that they don't even realize exists?

"But what does this have to do with my presentations?" you ask.

Well, I realized that not only did families need information about the different legal options available to support an adult with an intellectual disability but there was a host of other things they needed to know about - things that, in many cases, they didn't even know existed.

Two examples? The Henson Trust and the RDSP. The Henson Trust, by the way, is a particularly good example because for far too many families, no one even realizes there is an issue until the parents have died and it is too late.

And that, my friends, is what led me to the creation of the two other presentations I offer; namely, "Protecting Your Child's Financial Future" and "Government Money Most Families Leave on the Table".

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~

All this to explain to you why I am so pleased to be offering, for the first time ever, all three presentations together in a one-day workshop this Saturday, Feb. 9th, in Truro.  

The event is being sponsored by Parents Supporting Parents and pre-registration is required by emailing parentssupportingparents@;live.ca or phoning 641-2020. There is a minimum donation of $5 per person to Bright Skies Day Camp for Kids with Special Needs (which, by the way, I thought was a very nice touch) and you can get more information by visiting my FaceBook page.

But the reason I am so happy to be offering all three presentations in one workshop is because there is a fair bit overlap between the topics - for example, the Henson Trust comes up in both the "Government Money Most Families Leave on the Table" and the "Understanding the Legal Options Available to Support an Adult with an Intellectual Disability" presentations and the subject of guardianship comes up in both  "Protecting Your Child's Financial Future" and "Government Money Most Families Leave on the Table", all of which can be more than a little confusing for audience members when a related yet unfamiliar topic arises during a presentation but I only have time to explain it in a very limited way.

And all this takes me to my next question - "Will I see you there?".

I hope so.