On Sunday, December 3, the world will once again mark the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This annual observance was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1992 “to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.”
In 2006, the UN went on to adopt the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Canada ratified the Convention in March 2010, and as stated on the Government of Canada’s webpage on the rights of people with disabilities (https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/rights-people-disabilities.html), “seeks to reduce barriers and increase opportunities for people with disabilities, to ensure their full participation in our society.”
The website also provides a brief overview of the Convention, as follows:
- protects the rights to equality and non-discrimination of persons with disabilities;
- explains the types of actions countries should take to ensure that rights are enjoyed by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others;
- calls on States Parties (countries that have ratified the Convention) to ensure non-discrimination for persons with disabilities in a variety of areas, including freedom of expression and opinion, respect for home and the family, education, health, employment and access to services;
- complements Canada’s existing protection for the equality and non-discrimination of persons with disabilities, such as the equality rights that are guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
With ratification, Canada committed to apply the rights found in the Convention and is bound by the Convention under international law.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities applies to people with any type of disability and addresses the many areas where their rights must be preserved. NBACL and students from the Social Work Program at St. Thomas University have collaborated to create a plain language webinar series that will give an overview of the CRPD: what it is, why it matters, and an explanation of some of the sections of the agreement. Click here to view the webinars.