Thank you for publishing our appeal to physicians in the January/February 2001 edition and we appreciate Dr Leduc’s response illustrating the main reason too many parking placards are being issued: physicians such as him are not treating these applications “with the same vigilance they apply to other important medical documents.”
Across Canada there is an astronomical increase in the number of placards issued; in Nova Scotia the number has increased 1000% in 3 years. Many parking lots are unable to accommodate these numbers, and while most placard holders are able to park in a regular-sized spot, our concern is for those who do not have this choice.
To support our appeal we quoted the BC Municipalities Parking Survey which asked, “Who can receive a disabled parking permit in you community?” The response was “30% people with physical disabilities.” Contrary to Dr Leduc’s contention, we have not “grossly misinterpreted these results.” We have quoted them verbatim, surprising though he may find them. Physicians are authorizing parking permits for the disabled to many individuals who, according to SPARC’s criteria, cannot walk a distance greater than 100 metres yet may be observed walking around a shopping mall (complaints expressed by people with disabilities at a Showcase of Human Rights held by the BC Human Rights Commission at Robson Square Media Centre, September 1999). Thus when filling in the application, many well-meaning physicians are, similar to Dr Leduc, “usually” taking “the word of the patient on this” rather than giving a diagnosis or referring the individual to someone who can.
These applications may not seem an important medical document but “the fundamental principle upon which the parking policy is based is the right of every individual to have access to the community.” Limiting the number of permits issued is the only way to protect those with the greatest need.
Surrey Access For All Committee
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