FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 6, 2018

Historic steps in recognizing human rights of Canadians with disabilities
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TORONTO, ON - The Canadian Association for Community Living applauds the Government of Canada's announcements on December 3rd, International Day of Persons with Disabilities. They are a historic step for recognizing equality and human rights in Canada.

First, the government announced that with the support of all provinces and territories Canada has acceded to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This means that Canadians can now make complaints to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of violations of their rights guaranteed under the CRPD. As well, it means that Canada will allow the UN body responsible for the CRPD to undertake systemic inquiries into rights violations in Canada. In doing so, Canada has equipped persons with disabilities, both as individuals and as groups, with new avenues to seek justice and defend their rights. 

Second, the government announced its intention to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to empower the Canadian Human Rights Commission to monitor the federal implementation of the CRPD in Canada independently, and to ensure the Commission has the resources for this purpose. The CRPD calls for the appointment of an independent monitoring mechanism, and so this is another step in bringing Canada fully into compliance with the treaty.

CACL and others in the disability rights community in Canada have long called for the Government of Canada to take these steps.

"With these decisions, the Government of Canada signals its further commitment to uphold international law and ensure the rights of people with intellectual and other disabilities are given equal respect and recognition, and what a fitting day to make these announcements," said Joy Bacon, President of CACL.

"With these announcements, things are looking up for Canadians with disabilities,"  said Krista Carr, Executive Vice President of CACL. "We are very pleased to see the that Government of Canada is taking needed actions to defend equality and inclusion."

CACL looks forward to working with the Government of Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Commission. We must ensure these decisions deliver on the promise they hold for people with disabilities to fully exercise their rights and for ensuring that Canadians have the information they need to hold governments accountable for full and real implementation of the CRPD.

CACL is composed of ten provincial and three territorial associations, with over 400 local associations spread across the country and more than 40,000 members. CACL leads the way in helping Canadians build an inclusive Canada by strengthening families, defending rights, and transforming communities into places where everyone can belong.

Media Contact: Kurt Goddard, Director of Policy & Program Operations, CACL, kgoddard@cacl.ca 

 

 

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