Annual Report: 2008-2009

Executive Committee

  • Marie White, Chairperson
  • John Rae, 1st Vice Chair
  • Carmela Hutchison, 2nd Vice Chair
  • Roy Muise, Treasurer
  • Claredon Robicheau, Secretary
  • Susan Ralph, Member-at-Large on Executive

Member Organizations and their Representatives

  • British Columbia Coalition of People with Disabilities – Valerie Thoem
  • Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities – Margot Brunner-Campbell
  • Saskatchewan Voice of Persons with Disabilities – Maurice Bourassa
  • Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities – Terry McIntosh
  • Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec – Chloé Serrradori/Richard Lavigne
  • Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities – Claredon Robicheau
  • PEI Council of the Disabled – Tony Dolan
  • Coalition of Persons with Disabilities of NFLD and Labrador – Susan Ralph
  • DisAbled Women's Network Canada/Réseau d'action des femmes handicapées du Canada – Carmela Hutchison
  • Canadian Association of the Deaf – Doug Momotiuk
  • National Educational Association of Disabled Students – Jewelles Smith/Tim McIsaac
  • National Network for Mental Health – Roy Muise
  • Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada – Nancy Blain
  • People First Canada – John Cox
  • Citizens With Disabilities-Ontario – Al Buchan
  • Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians – John Rae
  • NWT Council of Persons with Disabilities – Brian Carter

Members-At-Large on Council

  • Doreen Gyorkos — Member-at-Large on Council
  • Robin East — Member-at-Large on Council


  • Laurie Beachell, National Coordinator
  • Clare Simpson, Comptroller
  • April D'Aubin, Research Analyst
  • Julia Baires-Arauz, Office Manager
  • Maureen Colgan, Administrative Assistant

National Chairperson's Report

As I have said repeatedly for the last three years "Social Policy is Homeless" at the national level. However, there have been some positive initiatives such as the creation and coming into effect of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a truly milestone document, which reflects the values of the Canadian disability movement. As well, the Registered Disability Savings plan, although modest in comparison, is a good program that will provide a significant benefit for those that qualify. These aside the question I ask myself is why have we not moved further? Why, after 35 years of the disability rights movement, are we will fighting for basics like; access to transportation, a liveable income, accessible and affordable housing, basic disability-related supports like technical aids, homecare or alternate media provision.

Yes, progress has been made but other disadvantaged sectors have gained much more over the past 30 years. Is lack of progress on disability issues a result of long and strongly held negative perceptions of people with disabilities? Maybe! Is it because of the complexity of our issues? Again maybe! Have we not been able to make our issues understandable? I don't think so! Then what is it that impedes our substantive progress? To be honest I do not have the answer. Maybe we need to create forums for our community to grapple with these issues. I am not suggesting that we "blame the victim." We have done good work, that is clear, and we continue to do so but is there are there way for us to make a substantive leap forward? Relentless incrementalism has been the name of the game for us. I would like to challenge all of us to begin thinking about what we hope to achieve in the next ten years and to be developing a plan to reach our objective. But first we need to review our past and do an analysis of what has worked and what has not. Simply repeating what we have done before and expecting a different result is not exactly good logic.

So as we move forward over the next year I suggest to all members of CCD that individually, and if we can collectively, we think about our history, our successes and our failure. We can take this period of "homeless social policy" as an opportunity for some reflection. It may be that there are new ways of advocating to be explored.

I thank you for your support. I look forward to working with you to continue the battle to build a more Inclusive and Accessible Canada.

Marie White
National Chairperson

National Coordinator's Report

Marie White has best defined the key message of our association: "Social Policy is Homeless." Certainly moving forward a significant social policy agenda at the federal level, at the current time is very difficult and I must admit that I am at a loss as to how to position issues in the present environment. It may be the best we can do is to deliver a strong message that those who historically have been disadvantaged must not be made worse off. In fact it is in times of economic downturn that governments should be focusing their efforts to protect the vulnerable. This is not the message CCD wants to be carrying forward but it may be that this is our task for now.

Our second task may be to develop well-researched and sound proposals for reform that can be put forward once the economy improves and once the federal government recognizes again that they have a responsibility to address the needs of Canadians with disabilities. That is why initiatives like our CURA research project are so important. It will arm us with more than anecdotal stories about the lived experience of persons with disabilities. It will provide us with hard data and analysis of reform options. This seems to me to the challenge of the future for our associations. We are no longer in the business of identifying problems but we must be in the business of identifying solutions. Governments and key decision makers can list our problems as fast as we can. What they need help doing is finding strategic solutions to long-standing problems.

CCD remains a strong and focused organization. CCD National Council and Committees are clear in the issues that need to be addressed and in some instances we are able to move forward. Certainly the gains of the VIA Rail case and One Person/One Fare are significant. Equally exciting is the coming into effect of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I expect that the Government of Canada will ratify the Convention this calendar year and truly this exciting new tool is the result of the exemplary work of the disability community here in Canada and abroad.

Working at CCD remains a privilege. Certainly those that know me know that I am a "glass half full" kind of person, but I am also continually inspired by the dedication of the many volunteers that lead and direct CCD. This job is a delight and while there are days when I wouldn't mind less work, I wake in the morning keen to go to work not knowing what the day will bring. At times work is an endless stream of reports, funding and administrative coordination, but often is about talking and working with a variety of informed and energetic individuals who truly want to change the world. I thank the CCD volunteers and staff for their support and for allowing me to be part of this exciting challenge. As a result of your dedication CCD has made a difference and will continue to do so.

Laurie Beachell
National Coordinator

Social Policy Committee Report

Committee Chairperson: Marie White

Committee Members:

  • John Rae
  • Roy Muise
  • Roy Hanes
  • Sandra Carpenter
  • Gary Birch
  • Michael Huck

Having realized that social policy is homeless in Canada, CCD has been working to put our priorities—poverty, employment and disability-related supports—on the Federal Government's agenda.

Advancing the National Action Plan on Disability

In January 2009, Marie White participated in a Pre-Budget Consultation with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and shared the National Action Plan priorities: new investment in disability-related supports, poverty alleviation initiatives, pro-active employment measures and activities to support an inclusive and accessible Canada.

In face-to-face meetings, CCD presented the Plan to staff in the Prime Minister's office and officials in the Department of Finance.

We were also on the conference circuit: John Rae presented the plan at the 2008 NEADS conference—"Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow". Marie White presented the Plan to the RI conference in Montreal.

During the Federal Election, CCD sought commitments from the leaders of Canada's Federal political parties on the national disability strategy outlined in the community's Action Plan. The Liberals, NDP and Green parties all adopted components of the Plan, so our voice was heard. Unfortunately, the Conservative Party did not respond to the Plan during the Election.

At the January 2009 Council meeting, the National Council of Representatives decided to hold End Exclusion 2009. Working with the Canadian Association for Community Living and Canada Without Poverty, the Committee has been putting plans in place for a Leader-to-Leader dialogue scheduled for 1 October 2009.

CCD developed a YouTube video on the National Action Plan to make this information more accessible to people who prefer their information via this medium.

Eliminating Poverty

CCD appeared twice before the Senate Committee on Poverty, calling upon the Government of Canada to address the poverty of Canadians with disabilities by taking a greater role in addressing the income security of persons with disabilities.

CCD continues to be a part of the CPP-D Roundtable, suggesting ideas for improving the administration of the program.

CCD offered to the Federal Government advice regarding the implementation of the Registered Disability Savings Plan and the regulations developed under the Act which created the Plan. CCD has been publicizing the RDSP throughout its network. As part of its work on poverty, CCD continued to build an alliance with Canada Without Poverty, formerly known as the National Anti-Poverty Organization (NAPO).

Disability-Related Supports

CCD continues to seek increased investment in disability-related supports.


In March, Marie White appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on the Status of Women which was examining Employment Insurance (EI). CCD called for the EI Sickness Benefit to be reformed to provide 52 weeks of coverage—a recommendation from the National Action Plan.

An Accessible and Inclusive Canada

CCD submitted a brief to Canada Post which focused on the need for greater attention to the principles of Universal Design by the Crown Corporation.

This year, CCD also submitted a brief on the Canada Building Code.


The CURA research project celebrated its first anniversary. The Legal Theme and Demographic Theme have been pursuing their work plans and the Policy Theme moved into action at the beginning of 2009.

At the January 2009 Council meeting, the National Council of Representatives agreed that CCD should focus more on immigration. To this end, David Baker, Judith Sandys, John Rae and Roy Hanes are undertaking research for CCD that will assist the organization in advocacy work on this topic.

International Development Committee

Chair: Steven Estey


  • Jim Derksen
  • Mary Ennis
  • Yutta Fricke
  • Chris Lytle
  • John Rae
  • Mary Reid
  • David Shannon

CRPD Ratification

The Committee continued to monitor government progress on ratification. Along with the aforementioned activity, there has been ongoing work to support the development of an on-line community consultation which is expected to occur in mid 2009.

Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Canada

The International Committee assisted CCD prepare its September 2008 submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council which became part of the documentation that was considered during the review of Canada's human rights record by UN States Parties. This is known as the Universal Periodic Review. Steve Estey, representing CCD, along with human rights advocates developed a national project to conduct community consultations about Canada's submission to the UPR. These took place in five cities across Canada in January and over 200 people participated. CCD and people with diabilities participated in each meeting, and this led to the development of strong recommendations on disability, especially focusing attention on the need for Canada to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Increasing Networking Opportunities

CCD, along with a number of other organizations interested in international human rights issues, met in April 2008 to explore the possibility of forming the Canadian International Human Rights Network (CIHRN).

Raising Awareness in Development NGOs

Committee members Chris Lytle and Yutta Fricke attended the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC), where Yutta presented a session on development and disability.

Knowledge Transfer

The Committee has been involved in the planning for the new Canadian International Human Rights Network.


CCD is a member of Disabled Peoples' International, Mines Action Canada (Mary Reid represents CCD on the Board), and the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (Chris Lytle is on the Board).

CCD Transportation Committee

Committee Chairperson: Pat Danforth, BC

Committee Members:

  • Ron Ross, Ontario
  • Claredon Robicheau, Nova Scotia
  • Robin East, Saskatchewan
  • David Baker, Ontario
  • Susan Ralph, Newfoundland

During the year, CCD continued to pursue its long-term goal of regulation of the Federal transportation system which would ensure access to persons with disabilities.

One Person/One Fare

In May 2008, the Federal Court of Appeal denied Air Canada and WestJet leave to appeal the One Person/One Fare decision, but the airlines decided to take the case to Supreme Court of Canada. CCD opposed the airlines' move to appeal the CTA decision in the Supreme Court. The Court listened to CCD and rejected the airlines' attempt to have the decision overturned. In January 2009, the One Person/One Fare decision came into effect and the Committee has been monitoring implementation.

In June 2008, CCD, via the Chairperson's Update, congratulated Robin East on the positive outcome of his complaint to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), which resulted in Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz being ordered to ensure that sufficient space is provided for certified service animals at the seat of a person with a disability.

VIA Rail

The Committee received a VIA Rail consultant's report outlining VIA's plan for remedying the undue obstacles to mobility identified in CCD's CTA complaint. CCD expressed the view that VIA should correct these barriers as expeditiously as possible.

CTA Advisory Committee

Pat Danforth represents CCD on the CTA Advisory Committee and participated in an Advisory Committee meeting in March 2009.

Death-making Concerns Committee Report


  • Rhonda Wiebe
  • Dean Richert

Committee Members:

  • Anne Kresta
  • Hugh Scher
  • Jim Derksen
  • Nancy Blain

The Committee was created by CCD Council in June 2008. Four members have been recruited to the Committee: Nancy Blain, who is a CCD Council Member, Jim Derksen and Hugh Scher, who are both former chairs of CCD's Human Rights Committee and Anne Kresta, who is part of the Community Living movement.

Terms of Reference

The Committee has defined its terms of reference and these are appended to this Report.

Committee Name

The Committee is looking at a new name. Some names under consideration are: CCD Ethics Committee, Fundamental Justice Committee, End of Life Ethics Committee.

Current Issues

The Committee met by conference call on 3 March 2009, to begin its work on the following issues: the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba Statement on Withholding and Withdrawing Life-Sustaining Treatment, MP Francince Lalonde's Private Member's Bill on assisted suicide, the Dufour case (a Quebec assisted suicide case where both parties are people with disabilities), a paper describing CCD's past work on the issues under the Committee's purview.


Death-making Concerns Committee Terms of Reference

Purpose: Provide CCD with advice and leadership on death-making issues and/or devaluation of persons with disabilities leading to end of life or withholding of services or treatment.


  • Identify death-making issues of concern to persons with disabilities that could be addressed through public education or law reform.
  • Monitor ongoing public response to ongoing cases and new cases.
  • Present recommendations to CCD National Council on issues of national concern related to death-making and persons with disabilities.

Committee Composition

The Committee will consist of not more than 10 members, 51 % of who must be persons with disabilities.

In forming the Committee, CCD shall strive to reflect the diversity of the disability community including gender, race, and regional representation.

Required skills: In forming the Committee, CCD shall strive to recruit members with backgrounds in some of the following areas:

  • Human rights and equality rights knowledge
  • Knowledge of disability rights
  • Devaluation of persons with disabilities
  • Legal expertise
  • Research expertise

Appointment of Co-Chairpersons

CCD National Council appoints all chairs or co-chairs of committees. Rhonda Wiebe and Dean Richert were appointed Co-Chairs of the Death-making Concerns Committee by CCD National Council in June 2008.

CCD Council Appointment

CCD National Council shall appoint one of its members to serve on the Death-making Concerns Committee.

Appointment of Other Members

  • Co-Chairs of the Committee shall invite others to serve on the committee as individuals.
  • A final list of Committee members shall be presented to CCD Council for their ratification.
  • Each member, including the Chair shall serve for a two year term and may be reappointed.

Report to Council

The Chair shall prepare a report on the work of the Committee to be presented at each meeting of the CCD National Council.

Authority of Committee

The Committee has the authority to develop and manage its work plan, on the condition that the CCD National Council is kept informed about Committee activities and that CCD polices and procedures are followed.

Access to Technology Committee Report

Committee Chairperson: Kier Martin

Committee Members:

  • Gary Birch
  • Cathy Moore

This year the Committee focused on presenting CCD's cross-disability message to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Appearance before the CRTC

Kier Martin presented CCD's brief at the CRTC's hearings on the accessibility of telecommunications and broadcasting services for persons with disabilities. CCD called for regulations that would ensure accessibility of these services for persons with disabilities.

Community Consultation on Issues Under CRTC's Jurisdiction

On 17-18 September 2008, CCD held a disability community consultation on the accessibility of telecommunications and broadcasting services for persons with disabilities. The consultation assisted the community develop a common message for the November CRTC hearing on accessibility, identified emerging issues and new priorities and examined new ways of addressing existing and emerging issues.

Barrier Prevention

The CRTC is looking into network neutrality. The network neutrality principle promotes an internet that is free of restrictions on content, sites or platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, on the modes of communication allowed and communication that is not unreasonably degraded by other communication streams. CCD and ARCH hired Phyllis Gordon to prepare a disability rights submission on the topic of network neutrality. CCD wants to ensure that the internet has the capacity to meet the communication needs of persons with disabilities.

Human Rights Committee Report

Committee Chair: Dean Richert

Committee Members:

  • Jim Derksen
  • Pat Danforth
  • Peter Tonge
  • Stefanie Marinich
  • Gwen Brodsky
  • Frances Kelly
  • Ravi Malhotra

CCD intervened in the Federal Court of Canada case of Brown and the Canadian Human Rights Commission v. National Capital Commission (NCC) and Public Works (PW), concerning an inappropriate accommodation developed for the York Steps. The York Steps were constructed in 1999 by the NCC to provide a convenient throughfare between Ottawa's Sussex Drive and MacKenzie Avenue. Despite an abundance of information on the needs of all persons, the NCC persisted in erecting the Steps without regard for the access needs of persons who cannot use steps. Eventually an unsatisfactory accommodation, an elevator, located a lengthy distance from the steps, which did not meet the needs of persons with disabilities, was put in place. As a result, Bob Brown filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled in Mr. Brown's favor. NCC and PW launched a judicial review.

As the decision of the Federal Court in the Brown case was disappointing, Mr. Brown decided to appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal. CCD was also disappointed by the decision because it misinterpreted aspects of the VIA Rail decision. While CCD sought to intervene in this case, its request was denied by the Court. Had our request to intervene been granted by the Court, CCD would have emphasized the strong statements made on access by the Supreme Court in the VIA case. We do not want this decision watered down.

CCD was granted leave to intervene in the Moore Case, which will be heard in the BC Court of Appeal. In this case, CCD will share its views with the court on what are appropriate comparisons when undertaking an equality rights analysis.

In May of 2008, the Committee met with representatives of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, including Jennifer Lynch, the Chief Commissioner. The purpose of the meeting was to address CCD's concerns about the Commission's new business model and how it presents barriers to people with disabilities who may want to make human rights complaints. The meeting had a positive outcome with the Commission and the Committee agreeing to remain in regular contact.

Since the cancellation of the Court Challenges Program (CCP), promoting better access to justice for equality seekers has been a priority for the Committee. CCD has been working with a coalition of organizations seeking reinstatement of the CCP. In June, CCD assisted the coalition circulate a press release drawing attention to the Federal Government's out-of-court settlement with the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada and calling for the restoration of the CCP as a funder of both Language Rights and Equality Rights cases.

In September, the combined efforts of CCD's Human Rights Committee, International Committee and CURA research project, Disabling Poverty/Enabling Citizenship, resulted in a submission by CCD to the United Nations Human Rights Council in response to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Canada's human rights record. CCD's report focused on barriers Canadians with disabilities face in the areas of disability-related supports, income security, employment, citizenship, access and inclusion. Since submitting its report, CCD has been participating in consultations about Canada's review. Like other equality seeking organizations, CCD has been participating in the UPR, because it provides an opportunity to highlight human rights issues that the Government of Canada needs to address. In February, CCD wrote to Prime Minister Harper calling for a transparent community consultation process leading up to the June meeting of the Human Rights Council where Canada will indicate which of the UPR's recommendations it will accept.

During this fiscal year, CCD retained Yvonne Peters on contract to support the work of the Committee.

CCD Awards 2008/2009

Pat Danforth
Donna Martyn
Brad Choquette
The Co-creators of the Freedom Tour: Valerie Wolbert, Susie Weiszmann, David Weremy, Mark Blanchette, Kevin Johnson
Véronique Vézina
Stephen MacDonald
Dorothy Kitchen
Michelle Murdoch
Dr. Chris Summerville
Marie Harnois
Scott Simser
Zelda Rempel
Chris and Marie Stark
Julia Flumerfelt

Jim Derksen, CCD's Newest Honorary Member

by April D'Aubin
CCD Research Analyst

At CCD's Annual General Meeting, which was held on 7 June 2009, the National Council of Representatives made Jim Derksen an honorary member of the organization. CCD has only three other honorary members: Peggy Allan, Irene McGinn and David Baker. For CCD, Jim has been a true visionary leader, identifying emerging trends and helping our organization meet new challenges in a principled manner consistent with our human rights philosophy. CCD made Jim an honorary member in recognition of the significant contribution that Jim has made to the development of an accessible and inclusive Canada.

At an early stage in his life, Jim began to work on removing barriers to the full and equal participation of people with disabilities. At the University of Winnipeg, where he was a student, he met other students with disabilities different from his own and learned about the barriers they encountered. Always a problem solver, he began a service transcribing books onto audiotape, providing visually impaired students and others access to print material.

Jim joined the Company of Young Canadians learning community development skills, which he transferred to the disability rights movement. He played key roles in the development of the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD), the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), Disabled Peoples' International (DPI) and the Canadian Disability Rights Council (CDRC). Mr. Derksen served as Chief Executive Officer of various voluntary organizations: MLPD, E-Quality Employment Inc., and CCD. Mr. Dersken was Chief Development Officer for DPI. Through this work, he became an expert on disability public policy: human rights, employment, accessible transportation, international development, to name only a few areas where Jim has in-depth knowledge, which he generously shares with CCD and other organizations.

In 1980, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, which was then known as the Coalition of Provincial Organizations of the Handicapped (COPOH), seconded Jim to the Special Parliamentary Committee on the Disabled and the Handicapped. This took him to Ottawa when the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was being developed. Jim successfully persuaded politicians on both sides of the House as well as Department of Justice officials that people with disabilities should be included in Section 15 of the Charter. Canada was the first country to provide constitutional protection for the rights of persons with disabilities and Jim had a very large role in bringing about this historic first.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Council on Welfare, the United Nations and the Government of Canada have consulted with Jim on disability issues. He co-chaired the Federal Minister of Transportation's Advisory Committee on Transportation of the Handicapped and served on the Canada Employment and Immigration Advisory Council.

In 1986, Jim joined the Manitoba public service, pioneering many new initiatives. As Coordinator for the Decade of Disabled Persons, he implemented the Manitoba Plan of Action for the Decade of Disabled Persons, a provincial strategy on disability. His last assignment with the Manitoba Government was as Executive Director of the Disability Issues Office. Jim retired from the provincial government in 2004.

Although Jim retired from his position with the Provincial Government, his volunteer work commitments continue to be extensive. He is on three CCD committees: Human Rights, International Development and Ending of Life Ethics. Jim also assists CCD with our work in support of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. In February of this year, Jim appeared in CCD's first YouTube video, where he discussed the key points of the End Exclusion National Action Plan.

He is a frequent, and very welcome, visitor to the CCD office. During these visits, Jim generously shares his knowledge and insights with CCD staff on current projects.

Jim is one of CCD's longest serving and most dedicated volunteers. In making Jim an honorary member, the National Council is acknowledging Jim's phenomenal contribution to CCD and sincerely inviting him to continue his in-depth involvement in the organization for many more years.

Financial Statements

To view the financials, please see the Microsoft Word version of this annual report, or contact CCD to obtain the report in alternate format.