Calgary, AB – Easter Seals Alberta is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2014 Former, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Honourable Norman Kwong Award, James M. Flaherty. The announcement was made on February 27, 2015 at Easter Seals Alberta’s Annual Awards Dinner where Mary Kwong – the wife of former Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Honourable Norman Kwong – was in attendance to present the award.
“People with disabilities can often be invisible in our communities and this award is recognition of a gentleman who took extraordinary efforts to remove barriers in Canada,” said Susan Boivin, CEO of Easter Seals Alberta. “We are honoured to be able to present this award to the family of the late James M. Flaherty on his behalf.”
Flaherty was born on December 30, 1949 in Lachine, Quebec and passed away unexpected at the age of 64 in April 2014. He entered politics in 1995 and during his term as the federal Finance Minister, Mr. Flaherty introduced a number of measures to assist people with disabilities to be independent in their communities and it for his tireless efforts in this area that we are recognizing Mr. Flaherty with the Former Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Honourable Norman Kwong Award.
During the delivery of the 2007 budget, Flaherty introduced the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). Today, the RDSP continues to be a long-term savings plan to help Canadians with disabilities and their families save. The RDSP resembles its other saving counterparts, the RRSP and the RESP, and is meant to ensure a secure future for people with disabilities. The Canadian Government assists families by contributing through grants and bonds that supplement contributions.
This was followed by several successive RFP’s for the Enabling Accessibility Plan – A federal Grants and Contributions program created in 2007 that support capital costs of construction and renovations related to improving physical accessibility and safety for people with disabilities in Canadian communities and workplaces. For Easter Seals Alberta, this fund has supported the construction of accessible staff suites within the new dorms for camp counselors with disabilities.
Also within this government, the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF) was launched. The CIIF was administrated out of Western Economic Diversification Canada and supports the rehabilitation and improvement, including expansion, of existing community infrastructure facilities. For Easter Seals Alberta, this fund allowed for the critical repairs to the support structures and replacement of the roof for Main Hall at Easter Seals Camp Horizon.
About the Former Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Honourable Norman Kwong Award
The Honourable Norman Kwong Award is a provincial honor provided by Easter Seals Alberta to a government official who has helped promote the cause of persons with disabilities and special needs. To be a recipient of this Award, the candidate must be or have been working on behalf of stakeholders, and represent constituents in any of the levels of government, and should, in their ongoing work (past or present), help provide awareness and assistance for persons with disabilities.
This award is named after the Honourable Norman Kwong, who was the 16th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta in office from 2006 – 2010. The former Lieutenant Governor of Alberta was also honourary Easter Seals chair from 1983 – 1985 and his wife Mary became honourary chair from 2005 – 2006.
About Easter Seals Alberta
Easter Seals Alberta is a non-profit organization that has been serving Albertans since 1951. Our mission is to provide services that foster inclusion, independence and recreation for individuals with disabilities and medical conditions. Our vision includes Inspiring Potential, Building Community, and Enriching Lives. Easter Seals Alberta also funds disability solutions through financial assistance, summer camp, research, advocacy, and public and consumer education. For more information, please visit our website www.easterseals.ab.ca.