Alberta is a Province of contrasts. While Alberta’s role in sterilizing people with Developmental Disabilities as late as the 70s is infamous, Alberta also deserves kudos to for providing the world’s first inclusive post-secondary education program for people with developmental disabilities in the 1980s, and the On Campus program continues today, 23 years later at the University of Alberta. Alberta now boasts inclusive post-secondary education programs at 17 colleges and Universities across the Province and maintains an international leadership role in the field. Unfortunately, these programs sit precariously on the chopping block today as Alberta faces financial difficulties.
Ironically, cutting these programs will do little to save cash for Alberta. The cost of these programs is miniscule part of the Province’s budget and cutting these programs will merely shift the costs to other programs and other Ministries since the people who are currently served need help and would be eligible for other services. In many cases the alternatives, such as residential care, incarceration, or mental health services will exceed the current costs of these programs. Alberta appears willing to pay huge amounts of money to lock people with developmental disabilities away in institutions rather than pay considerably less to give the same people good lives.
Please consider adding your voice to those who want to preserve inclusive post-secondary education. For more on this issue and how you can help, please see the Inclusive Post-Secondary Education website.