Mapping of Financial Support Programs for Children With Neurodisabilities Across Canada: Barriers and Discrepancies Within a Patchwork System

Salvino, C., Spencer, C., Filipe, AM et L. M. Lach (2022)

Journal of Disability Policy Studies

p. 1–10

A cross-jurisdictional pan-Canadian environmental scan was conducted to identify provincial, territorial, and federal financial supports available to families with children living with neurodisabilities. In partnership with the organization Childhood Disability LINK, flowchart-styled pathway documents were developed for each financial support identified, mapping out the processes required to access each support. A critical analysis was completed as it relates to structural barriers, accessibility of program information and geographic discrepancies. The results revealed that, despite almost universal availability of programs to support families of children living with neurodisabilities, significant barriers and inequity remain. This included considerable variation in access to financial support based on geographic and jurisdictional discrepancies, absence of adequate and accurate information about programs, and minimal support provided to families in the application process. We argue that the barriers and discrepancies identified were an inherent result of the Canadian federalist fragmentation of the delivery of social care and financial support programs for children living with neurodisabilities. A more unified response by Canadian provincial, territorial, and federal governments is clearly needed to take positive steps to address the consequences of federalist fragmentation and respond to the structural barriers and geographic discrepancies identified by this study.