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Address to “Searching for Home: A National Forum” By the Canadian Association for Community Living & BCACL Vancouver, January 26, 2012 PUBLIC POLICY: WHY.

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Presentation on theme: "Address to “Searching for Home: A National Forum” By the Canadian Association for Community Living & BCACL Vancouver, January 26, 2012 PUBLIC POLICY: WHY."— Presentation transcript:

1 Address to “Searching for Home: A National Forum” By the Canadian Association for Community Living & BCACL Vancouver, January 26, 2012 PUBLIC POLICY: WHY IT MATTERS, WHAT IT’S ABOUT, AND HOW TO ADVOCATE

2  Public policies are never neutral or universal  Policies always connect to particular interests and groups of people, certain ideas and values, and specific organizations  Policies interact with each other, often in ways unintended or unappreciated by decision makers  Policies have positive and negative effects, rights and wrongs, opportunities and obstacles 2 SO, WHY DOES POLICY MATTER?

3  Determine programs and services that affect the material living conditions of individuals, families, groups  Contribute to the formation of identities of people as dependent or deserving or not  Shape relationships between people in terms of inclusion/exclusion, or respect/stigma  Structure clientele as a potential basis for political awareness, debate, and action 3 AND, POLICY MATTERS BECAUSE

4  Courses of action or inactions by public authorities  Made by governments: federal, provincial, municipal, Aboriginal  And made by public sector agencies in education, health, housing, social services  Existing policies may act as enablers or barriers  The absence of policy can also have positive or negative consequences 4 WHAT IS POLICY?

5 1.People: citizens, officials, neighbourhoods, communities 2.Purposes: a position, goals, objectives, intentions, claims, hopes, expectations 3.Procedures: ways and means of designing, delivering programs and laws 4.Products: income benefits, services, supports, rights and responsibilities, words and symbols 5.Power: roles of authority, ideas of legitimacy, and relations of advocacy and influence 5 CORE ELEMENTS OF POLICY

6 1.People: people with intellectual disabilities, families, and friends 2.Purposes: “real homes” with “real choice” on where and with whom they live, housing control and safety 3.Procedures: financing, planning, land use and zoning 4.Products: social housing, cooperatives, group homes, home ownership, and housing supports and services 5.Power: roles of all levels of government, non-profits, private developers, banks and other financial institutions 6 HOUSING POLICY

7  Deficit reduction agendas for most provinces and the federal government: emphasis on greater efficiencies in delivering policies and programs  Financial constraints on city governments and other municipalities  Devolution of most housing policy by the federal government to the provinces  “Advocacy chill” – the lack of resources to community groups to undertake policy research and engagement in policy processes; the active discouragement of advocacy by governments 7 CURRENT POLICY AND POLITICAL CONTEXT IN CANADA

8  A practical social activity concerned with:  Developing and gathering knowledge of various kinds about issues, groups, programs and gaps between needs and results  Consulting and working with other agencies and community groups  Creating ideas and recommendations on desired policy directions and preferred program reforms  Responding to government plans, announcements and inactions 8 POLICY ANALYSIS

9  Helping public policy ideas make their way into public awareness, general acceptance, and implementation by governments and other organizations  Speaking up and out about what:  governments and other public authorities are doing, or not doing  the public sector and other sectors should do, when, and how  governments or public organizations should stop doing 9 POLICY ADVOCACY

10  Both are part of the character of political citizenship  Applied activities in building relationships, decision making  About making commitments and being involved and knowing when to walk away from a process or issue  Practising democratic politics  Exercising human rights and duties 10 POLICY ANALYSIS & ADVOCACY

11 Policy IssueJurisdiction and ReformOngoing Policy Work AccessibilityONT, AOD Act (2005)Developing standards, monitoring EmploymentNL, “Employment first” policy Across all provinces and territories, and federally Financial securityCanada, RDSP (2008)Currently under federal review Human rightsCanada, UN Convention (2010) Central mechanisms, progressive realization Income assistanceSK, SAIDIdeas of a refundable Disability Tax Credit, a national basic income Supports for adults with developmental disabilities BC, Twelve-point plan for CLBC (2012) Between BCACL and allies and the provincial government and CLBC 11 DISABILITY-RELATED POLICY ANALYSIS AND ADVOCACY IN CANADA

12  Policy is about people and their lives  Policy analysis and advocacy (individual, issue, policy or systemic) are democratic politics  Disability groups face challenges in doing policy development and policy advocacy work  Alliances and coalitions are important strategies  Recent successes in some policy making and advocacy campaigns  UN Convention offers principles, a language to talk about issues, and obligations on states to advance the human rights of persons with disabilities 12 SOME REFLECTIONS

13  Search for a real home is:  a personal dream  a practical need  a public interest  Housing policy is:  social policy  economic policy  disability policy 13 SOME REFLECTIONS

14  Federal role will likely be modest  Recent federal action was time-limited for 2 years  Perhaps advocate for another affordable housing initiative by Ottawa with cost-sharing with the provinces and territories targeted to low-income households who include a persons with a disability  Main focus on provincial governments and their housing agencies  Place of housing in poverty reduction strategies of provinces with such strategies 14 POSSIBLE DIRECTIONS

15  Who does this policy (program of proposal) affect?  From where does this policy get its justification? What specific kind of reasoning is a government using?  How are individuals, families and neighbourhoods included, supported, and empowered in the policy development processes?  How does this policy enable people to express their skills, and capacities, to have real choice and inclusion?  How is the experience and knowledge of people with disabilities valued and incorporated into decision making? 15 QUESTIONS TO ASK OF ANY HOUSING POLICY

16 Thank you! Michael J. Prince Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy University of Victoria 16 YOUR COMMENTS, IDEAS....

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