Annual Report: 2003-2004

During the past fiscal year, we have witnessed significant changes at the Federal level. The Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien retired from office and Paul Martin became Prime Minister and formed a new Cabinet with many new faces. Additionally, a new department was also created-Social Development, which has been tasked with addressing disability issues. These changes placed new demands on CCD: the cultivation of new champions of disability rights at the political level.

CCD responded to this challenge by initiating contact with the Prime Minister's office and with the Hon. Liza Frulla, the Social Development Minister. People with disabilities have informed Minister Frulla that our community had been overlooked for a long time by Liberal Budgets. The pressure was brought to bear on Minister Frulla and others in the Liberal Cabinet and our persistence paid off.

The Budget delivered some important initiatives for persons with disabilities. It provided an investment of $30 million to address the employment supports and training needs of people with disabilities. It also created a new Disability Expenses Deduction for employment and education disability related expenses, thus reducing the taxable income for people with disabilities. The Budget also expanded the tax credit for those who are providing care for individuals with disabilities.

Despite these inroads, disability supports continue to be a priority for CCD. Through the Connecting People to Policy Project, new ideas have emerged for addressing disability supports. Over the coming months this will be a key focus for us. For example, we are seeking funding to undertake research on the income issues of persons with disabilities - to take a comprehensive look at all the factors which impact our individual stability.

While progress is being made, a great deal remains to be done as discrimination continues to be a daily experience for persons with disabilities. CCD will have a great deal of work to do during the upcoming years as we make our consumer priorities known to the new government that is elected as a result of Election 2004. As in previous years, I trust that we will have the same consistent level of support from our member groups and partners in the disability community and we look forward to continued collaborative efforts as we seek equality of citizenship for all.

This year was a landmark year in terms of CCD's organizational development. We had the pleasure of welcoming our first organization from the North-the NWT Council of Persons with Disabilities-- to the CCD National Council of Representatives. This addition serves to strengthen our national movement. We look forward to working collaboratively with our Northern colleagues. It is also good to be able to report that people with disabilities in the Province of Ontario are working toward the development of a provincial cross disability organization of consumers. We look forward to future organizational developments in other parts of the North and Canada. By working together, we strengthen our movement.

On behalf of CCD, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone on the CCD team-CCD member groups, CCD National Council of Representatives Committee Chairs and Members and CCD staff -- for the all the work that was done during the past fiscal year. Our success is a direct result of your efforts and commitments.

Submitted by

Marie White
National Chairperson

National Coordinator's Report

It has been 20 years since I became the National Coordinator of CCD. At that time it was called COPOH. I cannot resist this opportunity to provide some brief reflections on the changes I have seen and the challenges that remain.

Certainly it is true that the situation of persons with disabilities in Canada is better than it was 20 years ago. We have made progress on many fronts and today individuals with disabilities play a greater part in community life at all levels. It is equally true that persons with disabilities continue to face discrimination, marginalization and exclusion. I believe that the consumer movement of persons with disabilities has been and will remain the force that drives our governments, community institutions and the private sector to be more inclusive and ensure full and equal participation. The disability rights consumer movement has made a huge contribution and it will continue to do so.

Repeatedly the disability community has lamented the slow rate of progress, but to its credit it has continued to find creative and innovative ways of moving forward and removing barriers to participation. Also to its credit, it has done so in a collaborative way, willing to work with governments, other equality seeking organizations and a huge variety of stakeholders. The Voice of people with disabilities now cannot be ignored. People with disabilities will be a part of policy discussions. We may not always get our issues addressed but at a minimum we are heard.

To have been a small part of this work has been a distinct privilege. To experience the long term commitment, passion and determination of numerous volunteers working for CCD has been energizing and exciting. Working for CCD has changed my life. I want to thank the many leaders within the movement that have shared their knowledge and supported me. The staff at CCD office, many of whom have also been with CCD for a long time, have been tremendously supportive and hard working. I want to thank volunteers and staff alike for their ongoing support.

Today we face a number of challenges. However, I know that they will be addressed and that the disability rights movement will find innovative solutions. The challenges include:

  • defining a strategic long term agenda that is broadly endorsed by the disability community and government alike
  • bringing new leaders into the movement
  • strengthening ties with other equality seeking sectors and
  • expanding the resource base for the disability voice

New opportunities do exist. The disability community will continue to be innovative, progressive and strong. CCD will speak out with clear purpose and support and CCD will be heard. Thank you all for allowing me to be a part of such exciting work.

Submitted by

Laurie Beachell
National Coordinator

Social Policy Review Working Group Committee Report

During the past twelve months, CCD's Social Policy Working Group has been working to advance public policy reform which will improve opportunities for people with disabilities in Canada.

Social Policy Working Group member, Harry Beatty and Laurie Beachell, CCD National Coordinator, were appointed to the Technical Advisory Committee on Tax Measures for Persons with Disabilities, an initiative which arose out of a commitment in the February 2003 Federal Budget. The mandate of the Committee is to: advise the Minister of Finance and Minister of National Revenue on how to address issues related to tax measures benefiting persons with disabilities. The Committee has an 18-month mandate (April 2003 - October 2004) and it has been meeting on a regular basis with the Ministers of Finance and National Revenue and departmental officials.

In December 2003, the Federal Government released a document titled "Advancing the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities"-its first attempt at a comprehensive overview of the status of persons with disabilities in Canada in a range of areas. Harry Beatty developed the report titled: "Advancing the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities: A Critical Analysis and Recommendations" which contained 28 recommendations and which was presented to/approved by Council at its June 2003 meeting. CCD shared this report with Human Resources Development Canada. On 20 August 2003, Minister of Human Resources Development Jane Stewart responded to CCD and indicated that HRDC would take CCD's recommendations into account when preparing its next report on disability.

In her response, Minister Stewart stated, "Your critical analysis contains a number of important recommendations regarding federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions. In this regard, the Government of Canada continues to work with other jurisdictions to address priority issues that include implementing a comprehensive labor market strategy for persons with disabilities and identifying gaps in the disability supports system. Your critical analysis also recommends approaches that should be used in the next report on disability and in the collection of information about disability issues. It also urges the government to seek input and advice from the disability community. I am pleased to inform you that work is well underway on the next report, and Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) officials will ensure that the views of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) and others are sought regarding areas that you have identified. As a first step, your recommendations are being carefully considered."

On 4 November 2003, CCD Chairperson Marie White and Mary Ennis, a CCD Vice Chairperson, presented to the Standing Committee on Finance in Halifax, informing the Committee of CCD's priorities for Government spending: disability supports, employment initiatives, income supports.

On 8-9 March 2004, CCD and the Canadian Association for Community Living held a community forum to highlight some of the outcomes of the project, "Connecting People to Policy" -a project funded under the federal government's Voluntary Sector Initiative. The forum brought together people from various sectors-organizations of people with disabilities, academics, government officials, organizations of Aboriginal People-to share ideas and knowledge about disability policy. This was the culmination of this 18-month project which had as its main focus increasing the capacity of the disability community to engage in informed discussions around disability supports.

Cam Crawford, Sherri Torjman and Michael Prince prepared discussion/issue papers for the Connecting People to Policy Forum to provide a degree of focus for the assembled group as they discussed action around the issue of disability related supports. These papers are available from either CCD or CACL.

In his paper, "Employment, Disability and the Place of Disability Supports in the Context of a Long, Medium and Short-Term Strategy", Cam Crawford identifies the goals for a medium and long-term strategy for increasing the employment of persons with disabilities. Some of the desired 10-year outcomes that Cam Crawford identifies are as follows: Employers will generally have positive experiences concerning hiring, retaining, and promoting people with disabilities; environmental barriers and disincentives will have been identified and removed; in much the same way as all Canadians can access publicly insured health care services when needed, people who need disability supports have access to such supports regardless of level of income, eligibility for social assistance or other factors not related to need. These are just a sample of the desired outcomes listed in the paper.

In his paper, Mapping a Disability Strategic Action Plan: A 10-Year National Agenda on Advancing Inclusion" Michael Prince outlines a long term plan on disability issues. He argues that a strategy is necessary:

  1. To avoid continued policy drift and reacting to decisions and events,
  2. To infuse the disability community, the general public, with a clear and strong sense of purposeful direction,
  3. To re-energize the commitment to leadership on disability issues made by First Ministers in 1996,
  4. To ensure advocacy efforts, and actual reforms, are moving together in mutually supportive ways.

He suggests that the general features of a disability strategic action plan could be as follows:

  1. phased in over a ten-year period (e.g. 2005-06 to 2014-2015);
  2. A simultaneous consideration of the three "building blocks" of employment and learning, supports, and income, including the sequencing of priority reforms and their expenditures;
  3. A mix of policy instruments (that is, a combination of service, direct expenditures and intergovernmental transfer payments, tax measures, legislation, and information and knowledge initiatives);
  4. Guided by an ambitious long-term vision and set of commitments, to stimulate and challenge all institutions in society, informed by an inclusive understanding of disability
  5. Recognition of and respect for jurisdictional and fiscal consideration along with citizenship (that is, cooperative and flexible federalism, a series of down payment investments in certain areas and advancing inclusion as a shared national goal).

In her presentation, "Options for Disability Supports" Sherri Torjman outlines 3 options for expanding access to disability supports:

Option 1-Expand existing tax credits;

Option 2-Modify Existing Tax Credits (i.e. pay an allowance);

Option 3-Create New Policy Instrument (i.e. F/P/T Disability Supports Fund).

On 8 March 2004, CCD and CACL held a reception to recognize the work hat has been done by the members who serve on the PARLIAMENTARY Sub-Committee on Disability Issues. This Sub-committee has championed many important disability issues including reform of the Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit and the Disability Tax Credit. Their efforts have been beneficial to the community of persons with disabilities and we support their continued efforts on our behalf. Dr. Carolyn Bennett and MP Wendy Lill expressed their continued commitment to the advancement of disability rights.

On 9 March 2004, CCD and CACL jointly met with Minister Frulla, who in our meetings with her, seems supportive of our efforts to advance the inclusion of persons with disabilities. Following the meeting, and acting on advice of the Minister, CCD and member groups undertook a targeted approach to Members of Parliament to seek their support for an additional investment in the Multi Lateral Framework Agreement on Employment and Persons with Disabilities. In the March 2004 Budget $30 million dollars were announced.

CCD spoke out on the Federal Government's 23 March 2004 Federal Budget. From CCD's perspective, this Budget did four things for Canadians with disabilities:

  • it provided a modest investment ($30 million) to address the employment supports and training needs of people with disabilities.
  • it made Canada Special Opportunities Grants for students with disabilities non taxable thus ensuring the principle that support for disability accommodation is not treated as income.
  • it created a new Disability Expenses Deduction for employment and education disability related expenses thus reducing taxable income for people with disabilities.
  • expanded the tax credit for those who are providing care for individuals with disabilities.

CCD was clear in its position that this movement-the first in approximately 10 years-was welcomed and that it hoped this was the beginning of a trend for reinvestment in the area of disability supports.

During this fiscal year, Mary Reid, long time member and recent Chairperson of the Social Policy Working Group, has resigned from the Working Group, due to heavy work commitments. Mary's expertise and knowledge was a great asset to the Committee's work and she will be sorely missed from its membership. However she continues to be available to the Committee for advice and guidance on request for the same. The Committee would like to extend its sincere appreciation to her for her years of dedication both to it and to CCD in general.

Submitted by

Marie White, Chairperson
Social Policy Review Working Group

Health Reform Committee Report

Home Supports Project:

Following a number of unsuccessful attempts, the Health Reform Committee was successful in December 2002 in obtaining funding from the Office of Disability Issues to conduct a National Snapshot of Home Support, developed in partnership with Dr. Kari Krogh of Ryerson University. Kari is Chief Researcher to the project, and Maureen Colgan of Winnipeg was hired to co-ordinate our work. A research team was established and includes Kari, Maureen, Mary Ennis, Laurie Beachell, Paul Gauthier and Joe Theriault, the latter two from British Columbia. Ryerson University assumed responsibility for developing a web site for the project and posting the considerable amount of information which ensued. Kari also brought additional funding to the initiative through another grant she had received.

CCD has prioritized disability-related supports as a key issue for action, and home supports are an essential component of these supports. This current project was undertaken to develop a snapshot of home supports available to persons with disabilities in Canada so that comparisons across jurisdictions can be made. This information, in turn, will assist persons with disabilities to educate provincial decision-makers in the changes that need to occur in home supports programs.

CCD worked with the Provincial Co-ordinators to develop the information-gathering tools and related documents for use during the project. The Provincial Co-ordinators, in turn, supervised the gathering of information in their respective provinces. One particularly important achievement is that we successfully engaged all ten provinces and three territories in this project. It is an accomplishment for CCD to be able to work on a project which is inclusive in some way of all parts of Canada.

A template for information on policies, programs, services, assessment tools, appeal mechanisms, etc., was developed and information on same gathered from across the country. A number of consumers of home support services in each province were invited to complete an on-line survey about their personal home support needs and services, and one-on-one interviews were also conducted with consumers in different regions. While there was some representation from our native population, much more needs to be done relevant to the needs and services of native Canadians as well as of persons with developmental disabilities. Hot topics were also identified in each province, and focus groups were held for in-depth discussion of same. Several individual interviews with consumers of home support services across the country were also filmed. In short, we used a number of methods to obtain the information we sought.

Data collected is currently being analyzed, recommendations for policy change being developed, and consideration being given to how our report can best be used to influence policy change.

We are still refining our web site and will be encouraging Council and member organizations to review the site and provide us with some specific feedback as we move towards production of a public database on stated policy that can be accessed by policy makers and consumers alike.

Canadian Home Care Association (CHCA) Conference:

Mary Ennis, Maureen Colgan and Kari Krogh attended the November 30 -December 2, 2003, CHCA Conference, From Policy to Practice: The Home Health Care Challenge, held in Toronto. The conference included a large number of sessions on topics such as leadership and governance, strategic planning and policy, health, human resources, application and practice, accountability and quality, and so on. The intent of the conference was to provide a platform for delegates to share Pan-Canadian ideas and explore new solutions for caring for people at home and to enhance their personal skills. It was also intended as a venue to discuss strategies to turn the policies emerging since the release of the Kirby and Romanow Reports and the signing of the Health Accord to practice and build a strong and effective health care system.

There was, however, very little evidence of A exploring @ new solutions during the conference. The majority of presentations were allotted 30-45 minutes on the agenda with little opportunity for questions, and virtually no time at all for discussing the pros and cons of practices, processes and action plans. A large part of the conference revolved around caring for seniors with only minimal mention of persons with disabilities and their needs. Home care as they discussed it, emphasized home-based therapies and palliative care rather than supports for independent living.

While one would think that consumers of home care/support services had been consulted while at least some of the work cited during the conference was conducted, there was next to no evidence of this during the actual presentations. We were left with no idea of the role consumers played in any of the research, process development, or decision-making that occurred, and continues to occur relevant to the various topics. The centrality of home support to citizenship for persons with disabilities was not even mentioned.

We also saw little evidence that service users or informal care providers were actively involved in describing issues from their perspectives, nor did they seem involved in exploring solutions. Rather than consumer involvement during the event, we were repeatedly reminded of the corporate sponsors, i.e. private health care, that helped fund the event. The atmosphere seemed to reflect business agendas, and the motivational speaker spoke of increasing inefficiencies. It might well be an appropriate time to introduce the CHCA to the slogan A nothing about us without us @ . Otherwise, we may find ourselves facing action plans and policies which not only fail to reflect our needs, but may even be detrimental to our attaining them.

Access to Primary Health Care:

Another project, albeit not a CCD initiative, that was approved for funding is the Access to Primary Health Care project. The Principal Researchers for this project are Mary Ann McColl of Queen = s University and Deborah Stienstra of the University of Manitoba. CCD = s role in this project has been to assist the researchers locate participants who are interested in sharing knowledge with them.

The project was funded in the amount of $100,000 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Although a greater amount of dollars would have ensured a broader project, the funding at least gives us a start on addressing a critical issue for consumers.

Submitted by

Mary Ennis, Chairperson
Health Reform Committee

CCD International Development Committee Report

The CCD International Development Committee has been very active during the last twelve months, undertaking activities in the following areas: representation, advocacy, public education, consultation, knowledge development.

UN International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities

The proposed UN Convention on the human rights of persons with disabilities has been one of key areas where the International Development Committee has been devoting much of its time and energy.

From 9-11 April 2003, Steve Estey, Chairperson of the CCD International Development Committee, participated in meetings in Quito, Ecuador on human rights and persons with disabilities. This meeting was one in a series of regional meetings, organized all around the world by the United Nations, leading up to the Ad Hoc Committee meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York in June of 2003. The Quito meeting provided an opportunity for governments and NGOs from both North and South America to participate in the convention development process.

A similar meeting was held in May 2003 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Again Estey was invited to participate and to share with delegates some of the lessons learned at the meeting in Ecuador.

In June, both Mary Ennis and Steve Estey attended the meetings of the UN Ad Hoc Committee to consider proposals on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities. The Government of Canada invited Mary Ennis to be a member of the official Canadian Government delegation to the Ad Committee. Steve Estey worked with Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that are spearheading the civil society campaign for the new Convention.

The June meeting was significant because it recommended to the General Assembly that it go ahead and begin the work needed to develop a new Human Rights Convention for disabled people. The resolution called for the creation of a working group to prepare a first draft for consideration at a subsequent meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee (scheduled for late May 2004).

In December, Steve Estey and Committee member David Shannon met with the Sub-Committee on Disability Issues to discuss the proposed UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. Unfortunately, the House prorogued before Sub-Committee Chairperson Dr. Carolyn Bennett had the opportunity to write to the Government in support of the Convention.

In early January, Steve Estey participated in the above mentioned Working Group meetings at the United Nations. At this meeting, a draft text for the convention was drafted and those interested can obtain a copy from the CCD office.

From 29 February to 1 March 2004 in Ottawa, CCD held a national community consultation on the draft UN Convention on the Human Rights of Disabled People. The meeting introduced the key issues surrounding the convention. A large portion of the agenda was devoted to looking specifically at the draft text formulated by the UN Ad Hoc Committee's Working Group in January 2004. After reviewing the draft text, some issues for further consideration were identified, regarding the existing text, including:

  • The need to clarify a number of disability related terms such as independent living;
  • A desire to see the purpose of the Convention spelled out more clearly;
  • There was discussion about whether the convention should focus on individual rights or barrier removal;
  • Consumers also pushed for more robust language on deinstitutionalization and inclusive education, respecting the rights of Deaf people to be educated in their own language, sign language.

Participants were supportive of: The Canadian delegation including representation from the disability community. The convention promoting the duty to accommodate, as it is defined in Canadian law; and a strong monitoring mechanism.

As a follow up CCD agreed to begin the process of developing a statement of principles that could become the Canadian disability community's position statement on the Convention.

A background paper entitled, "The UN Convention on the Human Rights of Disabled People: What Canadians need to know" (February 2004), prepared by Steve Estey, was distributed to participants before the consultation and is now available to anyone who is interested in learning more about the convention. CCD encourages its member groups to share this public education document widely through their networks.

DPI North American Caribbean Regional Meeting

On behalf of CCD, Mary Ennis participated in a North American Caribbean Regional meeting. National Assemblies from the North America-Caribbean Region of DPI came together in Antigua, January 12-16, 2004, to exchange information on their work and the issues impacting consumers in their countries as well as to engage in capacity building. Steve Estey facilitated a full-day session on the U.N. Convention.

Day one focused on reports from each National Assembly and was followed by three days of capacity building sessions around universal design, independent living, community-based rehabilitation, education, women, children & youth, and, as mentioned previously, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The final morning concentrated on the development of a Regional Strategic Plan. It was decided to focus on four areas: re-establishment of the Caribbean office, improved communications/technology, education and the U.N. Convention.

Discussion arising from the sessions prompted immediate action in a couple of areas, and before the week was over proposals for funding had been drafted to address two of the Caribbean region priorities. The first was a proposal to Caricom (Caribbean Community - a regional economic grouping), which is funded by the Caribbean Bank to work on economic development. Physical access is virtually non-existent throughout the Caribbean; and as tourism is the sole growth industry, it stands to reason that it will be greatly enhanced through increased accessibility. This is the tack that our Caribbean counterparts have taken in the first proposal. The second proposal focuses on securing computers and software for those groups in the region who do not currently have access to them. Like Canada, the Caribbean National Assemblies of DPI lack sufficient funds to come together like this more often. Thus this effort to improve communications within our region overall is sorely needed.

The week was an excellent opportunity to make connections, share information, learn from one another and mobilize the community. CCD's commitment at the end of the week was to share as much information as possible with our colleagues in other parts of the region.

The meeting was sponsored by the Abilis Foundation, Disabled Peoples' International, and the Antigua & Barbuda Association of Persons with Disabilities, and further supported by the Antigua & Barbuda Girl Guides Association, the Antigua Barbuda Defense Force, the country's Ministry of Health & Social Improvement, its Ministry of Planning, and Antigua Computer Technology.

DPI 2004 World Summit

Mary Ennis and Angie Allard are members of the DPI 2004 World Summit Advisory Committee and have been working with DPI colleagues to develop an exciting conference with a challenging program. One of the themes of the 2002 Sapporo Platform, which was adopted by DPI, is "Diversity Within." This theme addresses the inclusion at all levels within DPI of women, youth and other minorities. The purpose of the 2004 DPI World Summit is to ensure that the voices of women, youth and minority groups are heard and to ensure that the issues of the groups are on the political agenda.

Networking with Other Organizations

Steve Estey and Mary Ennis attended a meeting of CAILC's International Committee in Halifax on 20 October 2003 to discuss opportunities for collaboration.

The committee recommended that CCD accept an initiation of membership from the Canadian Commission of UNESCO. This was supported by Council and the International Committee has selected Jim Derksen as its representative to the Commission.

Committee member, Jason Mitschele, attended the AGM of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation in Ottawa in May 2003.

Steve Estey continues to serve as Board Chair at Mines Action Canada. In this capacity he was part of the official delegation to the fourth meeting of States parties (i.e. those who have signed the convention) in September of 2003.

Membership in Other Organizations

On behalf of CCD, the Committee participates in the activities of a number of organizations: Mines Action Canada, Canadian Council for International Cooperation and UNESCO.

Committee Membership

Committee Members are: Steve Estey Chairperson, Mary Ennis, Jason Mitschele, David Shannon, Yutta Fricke, Angie Allard, Jim Derksen.

Submitted by

Steve Estey, Chairperson
CCD International Development Committee

Transportation Committee Report

The CCD Transportation Committee continues to work to develop an accessible national transportation system. On behalf of CCD, the Transportation Committee has been undertaking advocacy and litigation.

CCD Committee Chairperson Pat Danforth represents CCD on the Minister of Transport's Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation. Pat is now the consumer chair of the Advisory Committee. In May, the CCD Transportation Committee responded in writing to a consultation document addressing the effectiveness of ACAT. CCD continues to advocate for binding regulations as the best means to secure access to transportation for persons with disabilities.

On 28 October 2003, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) released its ruling regarding CCD's complaint concerning VIA Rail's purchase of inaccessible passenger rail cars. CTA's ruling gave a very clear message to transportation service providers - access to transportation for Canadians with disabilities cannot be ignored. CCD considers the CTA decision was a significant ruling and one that advances access by persons with disabilities to federally regulated modes of transportation. The decision confirmed VIA's Renaissance trains do not meet the Agency's voluntary code for rail car accessibility. The Agency ordered the railway to make substantive modifications to remove obstacles to the mobility of travelers with disabilities. At present, people with disabilities can not travel on the trains.

The winners in this decision are Canadians with disabilities. CTA withstood numerous challenges from VIA Rail and took a stand in support of what is right-accessible transportation services. Canadians with disabilities stood up to a Goliath (VIA Rail) and won the fight. The Canadian Transportation Agency remained true to its mandate and ordered VIA to make the Renaissance cars accessible.

The CCD Transportation Committee was active with the media on the day the decision was released. Some of the media that carried stories are:

The National Post,

The Globe and Mail,

The Winnipeg Free Press.

The CTA decision can be found at Go to the website and click on rulings.

VIA Rail decided to appeal the CTA decision supporting CCD's complaint about VIA's inaccessible passenger cars. On December 3, 2003, International Day of Disabled Persons, CCD highlighted our alarm over VIA's decision to appeal. Pat Danforth, Chairperson of CCD's Transportation Committee, took part in the news conference held to commemorate the UN's International Day of Disabled Persons and raised the organization's concerns about VIA's decision to appeal the CTA decision.

On December 18, 2003, the Federal Court heard arguments on whether a stay should be granted on the CTA decision in the VIA Rail case. CCD's legal counsel argued that a stay should not be granted. CCD believes that VIA should continue to plan for the retrofit that was called for by the CTA. CCD believes that all work on moving the Renaissance cars toward access should not come to a stop while VIA pursues an appeal of the positive CTA decision in the Federal Court of Appeal. CCD believes that VIA is attempting to use its superior resource base to whittle away CCD's ability to pursue this case. Laurie Beachell CCD's National Coordinator was cross-examined for a half day on the points in CCD's affidavit. It appears that VIA will not be undertaking structural modifications to the Renaissance cars to address safety issues. Instead they will be undertaking "dead heading", which is placing empty rail cars between the crumple zone and a car that will be occupied by passengers. A stay of the CTA decision was granted to VIA, however, their decision not to retrofit for safety at this time is a small victory for CCD and we believe for all Canadians. We do not want to see a retrofit for safety and then have to rip it out to retrofit for access, when CCD ultimately wins this battle.

In March, CCD learned that the Federal Court of Appeal is going to hear VIA's appeal of the CTA's decision on CCD's complaint about VIA's inaccessible Renaissance cars. The Court Challenges Program has granted CCD funding to continue to work on this issue.

The CCD Transportation Committee is also undertaking a Charter challenge of airlines' failure to allow an attendant to travel on the ticket of the consumer that they are assisting. This case is on hold because Air Canada has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The CCD Transportation Committee is undertaking a research study to compare Canada's access standards with those of the United States, Britain, Australia, and some European countries.

The Transportation Committee consists of: Pat Danforth (Chairperson), Eric Norman, Ron Ross, Georgie Davies, Bill Crawford, John Dunn. This Committee did not waver in its resolve to fight this issue to a conclusion, which we as persons with disabilities can only describe as logical and right.

Submitted by

Pat Danforth, Chairperson
Transportation Committee

Human Rights Committee Report

The CCD Human Rights Committee has undertaken a wide variety of activities in support of the equality rights of persons with disabilities. A summary of this work is provided in this report.


Latimer Case and the United Church of Canada- The Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Conference of the United Church of Canada met in Thunder Bay 30-31 May 2003 and considered a resolution calling for clemency for Robert Latimer. CCD became aware that this resolution would be considered and provided Conference delegates information on the Latimer case from the disability rights perspective. In addition, on behalf of CCD, two MLPD members, Rhonda Wiebe and Dean Richert, attended the Conference to present the disability rights analysis of the case to the delegates during the proceedings and to network informally with the delegates. As a result, the resolution in support of clemency for Robert Latimer was tabled and a motion supporting consultation on the Latimer issue was passed. Rhonda Wiebe shared her presentation to the Conference with the CCD office. A summary was carried in the CCD Chairperson's Update.

Creating New Knowledge

"Legalizing Physician-Assisted Death: Can Safeguards Protect the Interests of Vulnerable Persons?"-- The CCD Human Rights Committee decided that consumer-directed research needed to be undertaken on whether or not effective safeguards could be developed if assisted suicide were to be legalized. The result is a new CCD publication, "Legalizing Physician-Assisted Death: Can Safeguards Protect the Interests of Vulnerable Persons?" which was written by Orville Endicott, under the sponsorship of CCD through a grant from the Canadian Bar Association Law for the Future Fund.

This publication addresses the following issues: the devaluation of the lives and freedoms of persons with disabilities, potential abuses, types of safeguards, existing safeguards in current Canadian law; proposals to change Canadian law; the international scene. To order a copy contact CCD at

"20 Years of Litigating for Disability Equality Rights: Has it Made A Difference" -Disability rights lawyer Yvonne Peters prepared the aforementioned report. Yvonne presented the results of this report to Council in January 2004. In this report, Yvonne states, "Over the past 20 years, CCD has acquired extensive experience as a test case litigator in human rights and equality rights cases. Given that the litigation of legal challenges represents only one aspect of CCD's broad mandate, its litigation accomplishments are impressive…It is more than true to say that persons with disabilities have come a long way since Jean Chretien advised them that their rights were too nebulous and undefinable to be included in Canada's Constitution. They have broken down the doors of Parliament and succeeded in gaining Constitutional protection of their rights…They have been instrumental in bringing about some of Canada's leading human rights and equality rights cases…The breadth of the challenges yet to be surmounted by persons with disabilities is starkly illustrated by the government agency of VIA Rail which recently decided to appeal a ruling, rendered by the Canadian Transportation Agency, requiring it to improve train access for persons with disabilities. It is profoundly disappointing after 18 years of s. 15 being in effect, and six years after the ruling in Eldridge, governments still persist in disputing the rights of persons with disabilities to basic access." To order a copy of the report, contact the CCD office.

Yvonne is also developing a plain language report on the cases that CCD has litigated. This guide will be published on CCD's web site.

Legal Cases

Continuation of Work Related to the Cory Moar Case- Following the inquest into the murder of Cory Moar, a young Winnipeg man with disabilities who died as a result of abuse by family members, the Allan Simpson Memorial Fund decided that it was important for the Winnipeg community to have an opportunity to discuss the issue of violence and abuse from the disability rights perspective. CCD, along with other disability organizations, had standing in the inquest. Allan Simpson was a Past Chairperson of CCD.

On 30 April 2003, the Allan Simpson Memorial Fund sponsored a community strategy session addressing abuse and violence against persons with disabilities. CCD and the Fund organized the event. Cam Crawford of the Roeher Institute gave the keynote address, highlighting the recommendations from his study In Harms Way.

On 13 May 2003, Provincial Judge Robert Kopstein released the report from the inquest into the death of Cory Moar. Judge Kopstein's recommendations are appended to this report.

Auton Case- CCD is a co-intervenor, with CACL, in the Auton case, which is at the Supreme Court of Canada. In the summer of 2003, the Human Rights Committee began to work on the Auton case. It studied whether or not CCD should seek to intervene in this case. It was decided that CCD should intervene because there are many important questions under consideration in this case. For example, the Auton case touches on some important issues relating to disability supports and how far the court can go to require a government to provide disability supports. On 28 November 2003, on behalf of the CCD Human Rights Committee, Jim Derksen and Laurie Beachell participated in a conference call meeting with the legal team working on the Auton case to discuss the many difficult issues raised by the case.

In this case, some parents, whose children are autistic, sought support from the BC government for communication skills training for their children. The government refused to provide the support that the parents felt their children required. In a fight to protect their children's rights the parents took their concerns before the court.

CCD's working group for this case was made up of Jim Derksen and Yvonne Peters, with Laurie Beachell as staff support.

BCCPD also applied to intervene in this case; but was not granted standing. Discussions were held between CCD and BCCPD on the Auton case. It was agreed that each organization had a unique perspective on the case.

This case was still in process at the end of the 2003-04 fiscal year.

Falkiner Case- During this year, the Human Rights Committee was also active on the Falkiner case. The Falkiner case is another Supreme Court case. The case concerns consumers and others, being disallowed from social assistance because they reside with another person. The Falkiner case is often referred to as the "spouse in the house" case. CCD is waiting for the Court to render its decision in this case. This case was also still in process at the end of the fiscal year.

Pay Equity Case-- On 11 December 2003, Laurie Beachell met with ARCH staff persons to discuss whether or not CCD should become involved in the Newfoundland Pay Equity case. CCD became involved in this case in order to provide to the Court a disability rights analysis of the duty to accommodate and positive action to remedy discriminatory laws, policies or practices.

Educating the Community

Public Education for 3 Dec -- On 3 December 2003, International Day of Disabled Persons, CCD's Human Rights Committee hosted a public education event in Winnipeg. At this event Yvonne Peters presented the highlights of the research that she was undertaking on behalf of the CCD Human Rights Committee. Yvonne addressed the following questions: What has the disability community gained from 20 years of Charter protection? What are the challenges that are yet to be overcome?

Informing Council

Human Rights Committee Presents Workshops for Council-- On 14 June 2003, the CCD Human Rights Committee presented a workshop to the CCD Council which provided an overview of the work that CCD has done since its founding in 1976 to advance the human rights of persons with disabilities and suggested some options for future directions. Jim Derksen, Chairperson of CCD's Human Rights Committee, and Yvonne Peters were the presenters for this workshop.

The Council directed the CCD Human Rights Committee to undertake the following tasks:

  • Enhance the Committee membership by adding human resources from the consumer and legal communities.
  • Develop criteria and principles for work that will be undertaken in the following areas: legal education, litigation, law reform. This work will be done by working groups and sub-committees.
  • Develop work plans to guide CCD's legal education, litigation, law reform.
  • Expand the web site to have a component on legal education.

A follow-up to the June workshop was done at the January Council meeting. During the workshop, Jim Derksen and Yvonne Peters presented further options that the Committee could undertake. Work on these matters will be on-going in the coming months.

International Issues

UN Convention- Jim Derksen has been assisting the CCD International Committee with its work on the UN Convention to protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Jim participated in the community consultation that was conducted by the International Committee.

Emerging Issues

Canadian Museum for Human Rights- An issue that will likely be on the CCD agenda during the next fiscal year and future years is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which will be located in Winnipeg. This is a very exciting project that holds a great deal of potential for the disability community. The Museum plans to undertake a vigorous human rights education program. This will assist the disability community in its efforts to educate other Canadians about disability rights and it will be an important resource in the development of emerging leaders in our community. In its materials, the Museum states, "The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will have a lasting impact on Canadians, our perceptions of ourselves and the world. As an institution for understanding and advancement of human rights, it will garner national and international attention…The National Student Program of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will sponsor 100,000 high school students and their chaperones from across Canada to visit the Museum each year…Through the Education and Public Programs, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will produce a series of beneficial effects that will resonate throughout Canadian society, both tangible and intangible. …It is estimated that over a ten-year period, one million students will have visited the Museum." Museum officials indicated that there will be future consultations with the community and there will be the opportunity for on-going participation by CCD.

Submitted by

Jim Derksen
Human Rights Committee Chairperson


On 13 May 2003, Provincial Judge Robert Kopstein released the report from the inquest into the death of Cory Moar. The recommendations are as follows:

  1. There should be recognition that the failure of adults to disclose abuse may occur by reason of factors such as fear or other psychological trauma that inhibit free will, or compromise competence to seek help. Notwithstanding any presumption of law or fact that, absent evidence to the contrary, persons over 16 years of age are deemed competent; that presumption should not operate as a filter to screen out from protective measures abused persons, whether they be disabled according to definition or not.

  2. The Province should establish and maintain an emergency facility similar in nature to Osborne House for abused adults who do not meet the criteria for admission to Osborne House [a shelter for abused women and their children].

  3. Social workers knowledgeable in the assessment of suspicions of abuse and knowledgeable in dealing with abused persons should be available to medical staff in the emergency rooms of hospitals, and to police personnel in cases where abuse is suspected.

  4. Training should be provided to community service providers, and health care providers to assist in the detection of abuse against persons who are their clients or patients, and to assess the needs and the urgency associated with intervention.

  5. Where there is a suspicion by a health care provider or abuse worker employed by a health care provider, that a suspected victim's ability to disclose may have been compromised by a factor or factors that diminish the exercise of his or her free will, and there is good reason to suspect abuse, there should be, subject to safeguards for the safety of the suspected victim, no penalty for reporting. Criteria for reporting suspected abuse, however, without the consent of the suspected victim, should be developed and formalized through a consultative process involving, inter-alia, experts in the field of human abuse, and persons who have been victims of abuse, including a victim or victims of abuse from among the disabled as nominated, perhaps by The Society of Manitobans with Disabilities. The criteria should ensure that before reporting any case, safeguards are in place to protect the suspected victim from adverse consequences at the hands of the suspected abuser(s).

  6. The Province should examine the legislation of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia dealing with persons in need of protection, and consult with the authorities in those provinces to determine the advisability of introducing, in Manitoba, for the benefit of abused persons, similar legislative provisions.

  7. Information about the provisions of The Domestic Violence and Stalking Prevention, Protection and Compensation Act, should be publicized both generally, and more particularly, among community service providers and health care providers, and consideration should be given to adding to section 4(2) of that Act, the provision that an application may be submitted by a community service provider or health care provider. If necessary, to its application in the context of adults like Cory Moar, such other modifications as may be appropriate should be considered.

  8. A campaign to substantially enhance public awareness of the right not to be abused, should be launched by the Government with contact information as to support services available. Information so published should include assurance that information volunteered by those who seek advice or support will be received in confidence.

  9. The Manitoba Government and the Provincial Regional Health Authorities, including the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, should consider establishing a system-wide electronic information data base in which to house records of patients' histories of attendance at health care institutions for emergency medical treatment. The design of the system should enable emergency medical personnel, at a glance, to be altered to the possibility of abuse from factors such as frequency of new injuries, the nature of the injuries, and the explanations as to how the injuries were sustained, as given by the patient and those who may accompany him or her.

  10. Should medical staff have reasonable grounds to suspect abuse, the assistance of a social worker, trained in dealing with abuse, should be summoned to advise the patient of his or her right not to be abused and to provide information as to the confidential resources and facilities that are available to the patient to assist him or her if, in fact, he or she has been abused.

  11. Similar to the electronic data base recommended for healthcare facilities, the government should consider the establishment of electronic linkages within the network of community service providers. The linkages would include personnel of both government departments and accredited agencies who are service-providers and who have personal contact with clients to whom they render services. The program would be designed to store information about observations relevant to the possibility of abuse and the client's explanation of injuries observed. Whether from a service provider's observation alone or from the accumulated observations of other providers accessed through a stored information program, a service provider would, where appropriate, advise the client of his or her right not to be abused, and of the confidential services and facilitations available to him or her.

  12. Resources within a community, other than the police, should be identified and designated to assist people, in confidence, concerning domestic problems that have or may result in the abuse of others. When designated, a public awareness campaign of the existence of the resource should follow.

  13. For the purpose of planning for the allocation of resources to address abuse, statistics of assaults dealt with under the Criminal Code should identify those cases in which the victim or alleged victim is a disabled person. For that purpose it would be necessary to have precise definitions of the characteristics that would class a person as disabled. Not a difficult task if the victim was blind or did not have the use of one leg. More difficult, however, would be the task of classifying those with less than an obvious mental disability. In consultation with the disabled and their advocates, such definitions should be developed.

CCD Awards 2003/2004


May McIntyre


Judy Hellevang


Norman Vall


Derek Legge


Jean-Marie Grenier


Earl Flynn

Dudley Pearn


Roger Baggs


Doug Momotiuk


Disabled Women's Network Ontario


Jason Mitschele
Jennifer Finlay
Alison Beattie

Constance McKnight

Nancy Blain

Heather Tracey


Charles Boyd


Penny Leclair

Stephen Kakfwi

CCD Events


Marie White and Federal Candidates at Candidates Forum
June 2004



Nancy Blain
a CCD award recipient
June 2004



Carmela Hutchison, Judy Wasylysia-Leis and Ross Eadie at CCD Candidates Forum. June 2004


CCD Brief, Presentations and Publications

Human Rights Convention for People with Disabilities

Jan 2003

Re: Disability Tax Credit Consultation

January 2003


February 2003

CCD Budget Commentary
by Laurie Beachell
February 2003


CCD Presentation to the Sub Committee on the
Status of Persons with Disabilities Re: CPP

February 12, 2003


by Orville Endicott for CCD
sponsorship of the Canadian Bar Association "Law for the Future Fund"
February 2003

CCD Report on DPI, 6th World Assenbly to HRDC/ODI
February 2003

Connecting People to Policy A National Initiative to Build the Capacity of the Disability Community to Participate in and Contribute to the Policy Process

March 31, 2003

ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY of Key documents and Background to
Connecting People to Policy……

March 2003

by Yvonne Peters for CCD
March 2003

by Harry Beatty for CCD
April 7, 2003

CCD Response to the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation
on backgrounder
May 2003


by Yvonne Peters for CCD
June 14, 2003


by Harry Beatty

June, 2003

UN Efforts to Elaborate a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities

By Steven Estey and David Shannon
November 5, 2003

20 Years of Litigating for Disability Equality Rights: Has it made a Difference
By Yvonne Peters
December 2003

Report of the CCD Event in Support of Allan Simpson Memorial Fund
December 3, 2003

Pre-Budget Consultation
November 2003

A Voice of Our Own
CCD Chairperson's Update
Health Inspector
Transport File