Clients fear closure of disability council

It hasn't been easy for Craig Carty, who came over from Jamaica more than 20 years ago to start a new life in Canada. Medical issues bog him down on a daily basis and he's been diagnosed with dyslexia.

It hasn’t been easy for Craig Carty, who came over from Jamaica more than 20 years ago to start a new life in Canada.

Medical issues bog him down on a daily basis and he’s been diagnosed with dyslexia.

On top of that he had to learn Canadian English, which is notably different from the Jamaican patois he grew up speaking.

As he gets older and sicker, it gets harder, he said, but he’s worked hard to rise above the challenges he faces.

Carty has been a client of the Yukon Council on Disability for the past two years.

He said they’ve helped him find a family doctor, coordinate his appointments, figure out ways to pay his bills and give him outlets to deal with his personal issues. So when he found out the organization might be closing its doors on March 31 because of a lack of funding, he decided to speak up.

“When you have no one else to go to and you have personal issues, you need an outlet like that,” he said.

“If they close down, a lot of people won’t have anywhere to go and it’ll leave a gaping hole. It’s not easy living in the Yukon, it’s a harsh place.

“Someone needs to step up and help them.”

The non-profit recently announced the territorial government had ended its three-year agreement with the organization.

The organization receives most of its funding through Yukon’s advanced education branch, as one of five employment assistance service providers.

“We were asked to put in a proposal this year, which we did, but our mandate isn’t following the guidelines of an (employment assistance service) as tightly as the funding requires,” executive director Charlene Donald told the News on Tuesday.

“We work strictly with people with disabilities, and some of those people will be case managed for years without employment being the end goal. That just doesn’t fit in with the department’s funding guidelines, because they’re basically funding with an end goal of employment.”

Carty said he’s witnessed the social problems that plague most cities, including Whitehorse.

He told the story of a friend with a 20-year-old son who is refusing to get the help he badly needs.

Now he’s going to have to call and tell her the disability council might be closing, he said.

“With this program going away I know it’ll be even harder,” Carty said.

“There are a lot of people on the sidelines who need help, and some of them fall through the cracks. I’m one who fell for years, right up until the time I got here.

“The Yukon Council on Disability helped me cope with tough situations and showed me how to become more self-sustainable. Let them do their job.”

Doug Graham, Yukon’s new education minister, said he would address the issue on Monday.

A spokesperson for the department said a news release would be issued that day, too.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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