National evaluation of policies governing funding for wheelchairs and scooters in Canada: Évaluation nationale des politiques régissant le financement des fauteuils roulants, des triporteurs et des quadriporteurs au Canada

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Abstract

Background.

Wheelchairs, scooters, and related equipment are essential for the well-being of individuals with limited mobility and impact participation, health, and quality of life.

Purpose.

Our objective was to identify and evaluate policies governing equipment funding for Canadian adults. We reviewed funding legislation and program documentation for adult Canadians (≥18 years of age) covered by their provincial, territorial, or federal health care plan. Documents were obtained online or through administrative staff. Policy evaluation was guided by the Disability Policy Lens from the Canadian Disability Policy Alliance.

Key Issues.

Coverage ranges from full funding for all individuals within the jurisdiction to programs limited by strict eligibility criteria. Each jurisdiction defines “disability” or “basic/essential need” differently, contributing to further funding disparities.

Implications.

Funding policies differ substantially across Canada, resulting in unequal access to equipment dependent on province or territory. We identified eligibility, funding, definitions of mobility, repair and replacement, and prescriber requirement benchmarks that represent policy targets for improved access.

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