March of Dimes Pre-Budget recommendations to Finance Minister Duncan: Recycled assistive devices will save millions, improve service and help protect the environment
Recycle and maintain quality assistive devices rather than purchase-and-replace -- which wastes millions of taxpayer’s dollars. This is the message from March of Dimes to Hon. Dwight Duncan, Minister of Finance, during the 2011 pre-budget discussions.
The objective of the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) is to provide consumer centered support and funding to Ontario residents who have long-term physical disabilities and to provide access to personalized assistive devices appropriate for the individual’s basic needs.
ADP covers over 8,000 separate pieces of equipment and/or supplies. ADP pays up to 75 per cent of the cost of equipment, such as artificial limbs, orthopaedic braces, wheelchairs and breathing aids.
Current ADP policies neither encourage a consumer to seriously consider used equipment, even when cheaper and more appropriate, nor to maintain their equipment when replacement with new equipment is less costly than proper upkeep.
Jerry Lucas, March of Dimes Vice President, explains how recycling and refurbishing can save money: "Alberta’s wheelchair recycling program has been in place for roughly 20 years. According to their program managers, recycling is saving Alberta upwards of $5 million each year. It’s more effective and a far less costly approach."
By retaining ownership and recycling these devices, as currently is the case in Alberta and Quebec, the Program serves multiple consumers with a single purchase and prolongs the usefulness of the devices.
This measure incurs zero cost to the Ministry, results in cost savings to the Program and the taxpayer, and helps protect the environment.
According to the Auditor General of Ontario, in his 2009 Annual Report, Alberta is not alone in enjoying the benefits of recycled assistive devices: "Quebec’s recycling program is newer than Alberta’s program, but it has still resulted in a savings of about $4 million per year according to the evaluation report."
Please visit www.marchofdimes.ca/advocacy to download a full copy of March of Dimes’ Submission to the Minister of Finance.