Historic Steps in Recognizing Human Rights of Canadians with Disabilities

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Fredericton, N.B.—The New Brunswick Association for Community Living (NBACL) applauds the Government of Canada on their accession to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

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.

The government also 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.

“NBACL, along with the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), and others in the disability rights community in Canada, have long called for the Government of Canada to take these steps,” said Sarah Wagner, Executive Director at NBACL.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international treaty signed in 2006 between countries under which they agree to address the human rights of people with a disability. It sets out with great clarity the obligations of countries to promote, protect and ensure the rights of people so that they may enjoy real equality and full inclusion in our societies.
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Canada ratified the Convention in March 2010 and it has now been ratified by 177 countries. All provinces and territories had to agree to Canada accepting the Convention. Canada and its provinces and territories are legally required to meet obligations to support and promote the rights of people with disabilities.

The Convention contains a number of Articles that address specific issues affecting the lives of people with a disability. These include issues such as education, employment, health care and participation and inclusion within society. Through the United Nations, each country that has ratified the Convention has to report on progress being made to meet the goals and obligations that the Convention sets out.

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

With files from CACL                                                       -30-

The New Brunswick Association for Community Living (NBACL) is a provincial, non-profit organization working to ensure that persons with an intellectual or developmental disability live meaningful lives and participate in society as valued and contributing members. NBACL works with the individual, their families, employers, educators, governments and communities to change lives, change communities, and defend rights.

Media Contact: Ken Pike, Director of Social Policy, NBACL kpike@nbacl.nb.ca



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