Write to your MP supporting the Vulnerable Persons Standard and asking that its terms be incorporated in the law regulating assisted suicide/euthanasia. Read more.
Sign Up for a Voice of Our Own
A quarterly newsletter from CCD.
Annual Report: 2010-2011
- Tony Dolan, Chairperson
- Roy Muise*/John Rae,** 1st Vice Chair
- Susan Ralph, 2nd Vice Chair
- Mary Ennis, Treasurer
- Claredon Robicheau, Secretary
- Terry Green, Member-at-Large on Executive
Member Organizations and their Representatives
- British Columbia Coalition of People with Disabilities—Valerie Thoem/Pat Danforth
- Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities—Dave Storey/Doreen Gyorkos
- Saskatchewan Voice of People with Disabilities—Maurice Bourassa*/Bev Duncan***
- Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities—Terry McIntosh
- Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec—Richard Lavigne
- Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities—Claredon Robicheau
- PEI Council of the Disabled—Tony Dolan/Anne M. McPhee
- Coalition of Persons with Disabilities NFLD and Labrador—Susan Ralph/Michelle Murdoch
- 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—Devon Sivill/Natalie Fougere***
- National Network for Mental Health—Roy Muise/Jean Beckett
- Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada—Nancy Blain
- People First Canada—John Cox
- Citizens With Disabilities-Ontario—Terry Green
- Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians—John Rae
- NWT Council of Persons with Disabilities—Brian Carter*/Kam Hogan***
Members-at-Large on Council
- Susan Ralph
- Mary Ennis
- Laurie Beachell, National Coordinator
- Clare Simpson, Comptroller
- April D'Aubin, Research Analyst
- Julia Baires-Arauz, Office Manager
- Maureen Colgan, Administrative Assistant
- Vangelis Nikias, CRPD Project Manager
* Resigned during the year
** Elected during the year
*** Appointed during the year
The past 12 months have been both a challenging and a successful period for the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD). Our motto is "A Voice of Our Own" and this past year, CCD's Voice has been heard by many different decision makers. In my report, I will share with you some of the ways that CCD ensured that the disability rights voice was heard by Canada's decision makers.
Speaking Out on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Canada ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in March 2010. CCD has commenced the work to make it a living, breathing document for both people with disabilities and also for Canadian Leaders. CCD has been educating various leaders about the disability community's expectations with regard to implementation and monitoring of the CRPD. CCD has shared its views on the implementation with Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and we have also communicated with social policy caucuses of both the Liberal and New Democratic Parties.
In August 2010, at a Council of the Federation Meeting in Winnipeg, Jim Derksen and Laurie Beachell had the opportunity to meet with the Premiers and they used this opportunity to discuss and promote the CRPD with the Premiers who committed to hold a meeting on CRPD by their officials. On March 15, 2011 Provincial and Territorial Ministries responsible for disability and Human Rights met in Winnipeg and focused on the CRPD. Community members were invited to make presentations to the Ministers, though they themselves decided to meet behind closed doors without the community. Jim Derksen, Yvonne Peters, Steve Estey and Laurie Beachell did have opportunity to meet with individual Ministers.
Vangelis Nikias joined the CCD staff this year in the role of assisting our organization to promote the Convention. Vangelis has a long involvement with CCD. He is a former chairperson of the CCD Human Rights Committee. Vangelis will be sharing CCD's perspective on the CRPD with CCD's member organizations and other groups, to encourage people with disabilities to speak out about the CRPD.
Speaking Out on Access to Justice
In December 2010, CCD intervened in the case of Mowat v. Canada (Attorney General), which was before the Supreme Court of Canada. This case will decide if those who experience discrimination should be reimbursed for their legal costs related to filing human rights complaints. People with disabilities make up the largest proportion of complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, so this case is vitally important to our community. We argued that complainants should be reimbursed for the legal fees to preserve access to the remedies offered by the Canadian Human Rights Act.
The Human Rights Committee has secured research funding to examine the duty to accommodate, so in the coming year, we will be laying a strong foundation to advance this concept which is of critical importance to the disability community.
Speaking Out on Poverty
CCD work on poverty which is being undertaken by the Disabling Poverty/Enabling Citizenship research project and the Social Policy Working Group is being recognized. In From the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness by the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology reflected CCD's recommendations on poverty as did the HUMA Committee Report on poverty, which was titled Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada. (HUMA stands for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.) CCD made its policy recommendations on poverty eradication known through last year's community gathering, End Exclusion.
Speaking Out on Access to Technology
John Rae and Gary Birch have done an admirable job pulling together a new and dynamic Access to Technology Committee. Under their guidance CCD has made submissions to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on the license renewals for some major broadcasters supporting 100% described video and quality captioning of televised programming. This Committee is breaking new ground for CCD and, with the information shared by our members through the Evolution of Access Project, we can expect that decision makers in the technology world will be hearing more from CCD in the months to come.
Speaking Out on Election Issues
CCD has a long history of speaking out in support of access to the components of citizenship by people with disabilities. Voting is a very important right of citizenship. This year, CCD was very actively engaged in issues related to the electoral process.
We worked with Elections Canada to assist them test an assistive voting device. An assistive voting device enables people with various disabilities to independently verify their vote.
We communicated with the Parties and MPs to encourage them to run accessible campaigns.
Throughout the entire period of minority government, CCD has been in a state of election preparedness. When the election was called, we swung into action, using a disability lens to analyze the platforms released by the Conservatives, Liberal, New Democratic and Green Parties.
In the coming months, we will be calling on you to help us educate all Members of Parliament about what is needed for Canada to be truly accessible and inclusive.
With me on the Executive Committee there are currently the following members: Marie White (Past Chairperson), John Rae (First Vice Chair), Susan Ralph (Second Vice Chair), Claredon Robicheau (Secretary), Mary Ennis (Treasurer), and Terry Green (Member-at-Large on the Executive Committee). CCD has the following Committees: Social Policy, Human Rights, Ending of Life Ethics, International Development, Transportation, Access to Technology and they present their undertakings in subsequent reports. As you will discover in these reports, CCD is tackling an amazing array of issues and doing so with passion and principle. While there are challenges ahead, we are well positioned to meet them and advance our objective of an accessible and inclusive Canada.
I appreciate the support given to myself as Chairperson and to the Council and its sub-committees. We have a very small staff complement lead by Laurie Beachell. They remain committed and dedicated to our cause and work tirelessly to fulfill our mandate.
We have seen much progress with our issues in the past few years and also some setbacks. We are now starting to work with the new government and as with previous governments, we will be reaching out to previous allies and creating new ones to advance our cause. We ask that all our member organizations reach out to your respective MPs and Cabinet Ministers and familiarize them with our issues.
We cannot be overlooked and expected to wait until the deficit is under control. We are still marginalized and poor, we still do not have equal access to the labour market, decent housing, transportation and the supports needed to provide us with equality of citizenship. We are up to the task of making ourselves heard on what we are justly entitled to as Canadians. We will not be left out!
National Coordinator's Report
This has been a year of high expectations, due primarily to Canada's ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in March 2010. Sadly, not much has moved forward on either the establishment of a CRPD implementation plan or a designation of a CRPD monitoring body. The good news on this file has been the fact that CCD has been able, through a Government of Canada Interchange Program agreement, to secure additional staff resources. Vangelis Nikias joined the CCD team in November 2010, and his primary function will be to help educate our members and others about the CRPD.
Advancing a disability agenda in the past year has been a significant challenge because of the partisan nature of federal politics. Disability issues used to be viewed as nonpartisan issues and of importance to all. But in the climate of the past year, everything became caught in the partisan wrangling at the federal level. As a result, while we continued to hear expressions of interest in disability issues from all parties, we saw very little action that would improve the status of persons with disabilities.
You will find elsewhere in this report a list of CCD's 12 Accomplishments in 2010-11. And yes, there have been accomplishments and yes, they are a foundation for advancement in coming years; but the disability issue recommendations that came forward in Senate and Parliamentary Committee reports were generally ignored by the Government. Canadians with disabilities continue to disproportionately live in poverty, are excluded from the labour market and are experiencing the creation of new barriers that create isolation.
Worthy of note is the fact that it is 30 years since the International Year of Persons with Disabilities and the milestone and foundational Obstacles Report. If the long view is taken, certainly substantive change has occurred. Many barriers have been removed and many persons with disabilities are now able to participate more fully in Canadian society. People with disabilities are better off now than they were 30 years ago. The key to creating change has been the persistent and articulate voice of persons with disabilities. It is that voice that time and time again has been the catalyst for change.
In our work going forward, the single most important thing is the ongoing support for the voice of people with disabilities. This must be promoted, protected and fostered by all levels of government; and the small investments made in enabling this voice has paid huge dividends over time in regard to creating a more inclusive and accessible Canada. It has been my privilege to be a part of this work and I thank the board, committee members, member groups and staff for their support and for providing me with this opportunity to be a part of a transformation of our society.
Human Rights Committee Report
In the last year, the CCD Human Rights Committee was involved in a number of human rights cases and other initiatives to advance the human rights of persons with disabilities in Canada.
Alberta v. Caron
In the Alberta v. Caron case, CCD joined forces with other equality-seekers (The coalition of intervenors included: the Poverty and Human Rights Centre, the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund and the Charter Committee on Poverty Issues.) to argue in favour of the Court's discretion to award advanced costs to litigants who would otherwise be unable to litigate their public interest claims. The coalition appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada on April 13, 2010. Gwen Brodsky and Melina Buckley were counsel for the coalition.
The case was begun by Mr. Caron who was issued a traffic ticket in English. In the interest of preserving his constitutionally protected French language rights, Mr. Caron went to trial and argued that the ticket was invalid because it was not in French. Initially, Mr. Caron received funding from the Court Challenges Program to pursue the protection of his language rights. However, Mr. Caron's access to such funds was cut off by the cancellation of the Court Challenges Program in September 2006. He then turned to the Court for an order that would require the Crown to provide advanced costs to cover the cost of the litigation.
Where a case raises special circumstances and is important to the public interest, and where a party to the litigation does not have the financial resources to pursue the case, the court has the discretion to order other parties to the litigation to cover such costs to avoid unfairness or injustice. With the dismantling of the Court Challenges Program, seeking advanced costs may be a useful legal strategy for CCD and other equality-seekers.
Mr. Caron's request for an order of advanced costs was upheld by the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal. The case went on appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Of particular interest to CCD and its coalition partners in the Caron case was the court's interpretation of the criteria that requires a party seeking advanced costs to establish that the issue being litigated raises special circumstances and represents a rare and exceptional case. To ensure that this criteria is interpreted in an equitable and generous manner, the coalition argued that the court must consider the "interests of justice" at stake, and must do so in light of the rule of law, the norm of substantive equality and the principle of access to justice as well as the legal principles underlying Canada's international human rights obligations.
The issue of advanced costs is important to organizations like CCD because it can help to increase access to the courts. Due to the elimination of the Court Challenges Program, restricted access to legal aid and the decreased availability of any other sources of funding, it has become more and more difficult for equality-seekers to advance and enforce their Constitutional rights. The factum of the Coalition argued that, in the interest of justice and equality, legal claims that advance the full social and political participation of marginalized and minority groups should be considered as exceptional cases deserving of advanced costs.
Mowat v. Canada (Attorney General)
On December 13, 2010, CCD appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada as an intervenor in the case of Mowat v. Canada (Attorney General). The case was about compensation awards for victims of discrimination. CCD made written and oral arguments. David Baker, of bakerlaw, and Paul Champ, of Champ and Associates, represented CCD.
In this appeal, the Supreme Court was asked to decide if those who experience discrimination should be reimbursed for their legal costs related to filing human rights complaints. This case involved Ms. Donna Mowat, who filed a human rights complaint after she experienced sexual harassment at work. According to the Federal Court of Appeal, Ms. Mowat, whose sexual harassment complaint was largely successful, was entitled to only $4,000 in compensation, although her legal fees to bring her complaint forward were nearly $200,000.
The CCD Human Rights Committee argued that the human rights legislation must be accessible to people who experience discrimination and that compensation awards should include a complainant's legal fees. This is particularly important for people with disabilities who represent the largest proportion of complainants before the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
Update on the Moore Case
On 29 October 2010, the Court of Appeal of British Columbia released its decision in the Moore Appeal. This decision was very disappointing to both the Moore family and the intervenors involved in the case to advance disability rights. The BC Court of Appeal ruled against the Moore family. In May 2009, Gwen Brodsky, Karey Brooks and Yvonne Peters attended the B.C. Court of Appeal for five days representing CCD in its intervention in the Moore case. CCD supported the Complainant's application for leave to have the Supreme Court of Canada consider the matter. The Court has not yet responded to the request for leave.
The case began when the North Vancouver School District closed the only intensive accommodation to provide basic education to students with learning disabilities. The District claimed it had to end the service because of "chronic underfunding" from the Ministry of Education. Jeffrey Moore was one of the students affected by the closure and his parents sought redress for the discrimination experienced by their son from the BC Human Rights Tribunal. The Moores argued that the government had a legal obligation to provide equal services to students with learning disabilities and the BC Tribunal concurred. The Tribunal decision was overturned by the BC Supreme Court, and that decision was upheld by the BC Court of Appeal.
CCD disagreed with the lower Court's analysis of educational services. It argued that the central issue in this case is the legal duty to accommodate persons with disabilities in a manner that achieves substantive equality. The key argument conveyed to the Court by CCD was that the remedial purpose of accommodation is to render structures and services equally accessible to persons with and without disabilities.
Update on Hughes Case
Rev. Peter Hughes encountered barriers on two separate occasions when he went to cast his ballot in a Federal by-election and a General Election, so he made a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. CCD had Interested Party status in this case.
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision acknowledged the assistance that CCD provided in its oral and written submissions. The decision set out a 12 point order which required Elections Canada to undertake a number of activities to avoid similar complaints. The actions required by Elections Canada include:
- Paying $10,000 to Mr. Hughes for the pain and suffering he experienced,
- Consulting with voters with disabilities regarding access issues, and in particular, consulting with CCD,
- Ceasing from the practice of situating polling stations in locations that do not provide barrier-free access, subject to the standard of bona fide justification and the duty to accommodate,
- Conducting a review of policies and guidelines dealing with accessibility developed by Elections Canada,
- Including a requirement in lease agreements that polling locations provide level access and are barrier-free,
- Reviewing, revising and updating training material and programs with respect to accessibility,
- Developing a process for dealing with, and responding to, written and verbal complaints concerning access, and
- Providing regular progress reports to the Tribunal on the activities it ordered to rectify the complaints.
The actions required by the Tribunal are monitored by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Elections Canada has been consulting with CCD. Yvonne Peters, Jim Derksen and Laurie Beachell have been reviewing Elections Canada's plans for barrier removal and providing comments on their work.
Research Collaboration Underway
CCD and the B.C. Poverty and Human Rights Centre collaborated to develop a proposal to examine the duty to accommodate and how it can be more effectively used to address long-standing systemic barriers encountered by persons with disabilities. Funding for this project was obtained from the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Bar Association Law for the Future Fund, and the CCD CURA "Disabling Poverty/ Enabling Citizenship". Shelagh Day, Gwen Brodsky and Yvonne Peters have been named as the principal researchers. The first task of the research was to prepare a paper which identifies current difficulties with the law and the duty to accommodate. Further research is forthcoming.
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
There have been discussions with the representatives of other CCD Committees with regards to the role that each Committee will be undertaking in relation to CCD's work on the CRPD. The Human Rights Committee will be applying the CRPD to the issues under consideration in the interventions undertaken by CCD. The Committee will also be sharing its views on how Canada's progress on implementing the CRPD should be monitored.
The members of the Committee are: Dean Richert (Co-chair), Anne Levesque (Co-chair), Pat Danforth, Jim Derksen, Ravi Malhotra, Peter Tonge, Gwen Brodsky, Frances Kelly.
Yvonne Peters is on contract with CCD to monitor emerging legal cases and to advise the CCD Human Rights Committee.
Respectfully Submitted by
Anne Levesque and Dean Richert,
Co-Chairs CCD Human Rights Committee
Social Policy Working Group Report
Social Policy has been homeless for many years in Canada and CCD's Social Policy Working Group has been working to encourage the Government of Canada to bring social policy in from the cold. CCD has been working on this objective both independently and in coalition with other organizations, such as Canada Without Poverty and Campaign 2000.
The members of this Committee are: Marie White (Chairperson), Roy Muise, Roy Hanes, Sandra Carpenter, John Rae, Gary Birch and Michael Huck. Michael Huck was a corresponding member of the Committee. He recently tendered his resignation for personal reasons. On behalf of the Committee, we extend our appreciation for the many years of work that Michael has done on behalf of CCD.
During the last year, CCD's Social Policy Working Group has been working on a number of strategic initiatives—the priorities identified in the disability community's National Action Plan: access and inclusion, poverty, labour market, and disability-related supports. If adopted by the Government of Canada, these strategic initiatives would mean positive change in the lives of Canadians with disabilities through decreased poverty, increased job opportunities and greater access and inclusion in Canadian communities. This report will present the highlights of the work the committee has been doing on these issues.
A Voice of Our Own is CCD's motto. To ensure that Canada's federal decision makers have the benefit of CCD's collective wisdom, CCD has been writing letters to all Members of Parliament. Over the past twelve months, Canada's MPs have heard frequently from CCD on issues under the purview of the Social Policy Committee. We have also had a number of Press Releases that drew the media's attention to our issues. These materials are available on the CCD web site.
Access and Inclusion
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)—In April 2010, CCD hosted a community celebration in Ottawa to mark Canada's ratification of the CRPD in March 2010. HRSDC Minister the Hon. Diane Finley, Defense Minister the Hon. Peter MacKay, NDP Disability Critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Liberal MP Mike Savage, Liberal MP the Hon. Carolyn Bennett and Bloc MP Yves Lessard joined leaders from the disability community at CCD's event.
The Social Policy Working Group has been working with CCD's Human Rights and International Development Committees to determine responsibilities for the different tasks that need to be undertaken now that the CRPD has been ratified.
CCD has been promoting an increased understanding of the CRPD among the Canadian public. Like everyone in the disability community, I want to see the CRPD bring about reform that will improve the lives of people with disabilities. To this end, I presented a keynote address at the Government Conference on Human Rights and Persons with Disabilities, which occurred on 23 March 2011 in Ottawa. A key point I raised was:
With the implementation of CRPD, we believe we are entering a new era where the focus, attention and action is on promoting, protecting and ensuring the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and promoting respect for their inherent dignity. CRPD is our new expectation.
We know things cannot change all at once, The CRPD talks about progressive realization and we are well aware that our rights will not be realized all at once. But equally true is our belief that we must move to this realization faster than we have over the past 50 years—relentless incrementalism just won't cut it anymore.
The CRPD ensures a disability focus beyond traditional departments and so all must have a disability lens. Beyond the inter-departmental focus, let me be very clear—disability is absolutely non-partisan…it transcends the lines we define as political; the platforms which define each party from each other. It is our collective responsibility to make social, economic, cultural, and political citizenship accessible and inclusive of all citizens of our country.
For its efforts in relation to the domestic implementation of the CRPD in the coming years CCD's Social Policy Committee will be taking its direction from the priorities our community established in the National Action Plan, as listed previously.
End Exclusion—CCD, along with the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) and Canada Without Poverty, invited the disability community to come together in November to examine how poverty impacts on people with disabilities. The Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, addressed the participants.
The preliminary research results from Disabling Poverty/Enabling Citizenship were shared by the theme leaders and their team members: Yvonne Peters, Debra Parkes (Legal), Cam Crawford (Demographics), Michael Prince, Lucie Dumais, Michael Mendelson and Sharon Murphy (Policy). Most of the research team for the Disabling Poverty/Enabling Citizenship project were in attendance at this event and were further informed on community members' views on poverty and their related priorities.
Guest speaker Cindy Blackstock explained how poverty affects Aboriginal people in Canada and she also discussed Jordan's Principle, which instructs provincial and federal officials to put aside jurisdictional wrangling about responsibility when an Aboriginal child with disabilities is in critical need of services. Another guest speaker Calvin Wood, People First of Canada, shared experiential reflections on poverty and disability. Calvin's presentation is available on the CCD web site.
Election Preparedness—As Canada has been in a minority government situation since the last election, the Social Policy Working Group has been maintaining an on-going state of election preparedness. Our focus has been on promoting the priorities in the National Action Plan to Canada's Federal parties and encouraging them to draft election platforms inclusive of Canadians with disabilities. CCD has also encouraged candidates to run accessible election campaigns.
During the election, CCD shared its analysis of the Parties' Platforms. Consistently throughout the campaign, CCD reminded the Parties that people with disabilities must see themselves reflected in public policy initiatives of the country. If these policies are not inclusive of Canadians with disabilities, they will fall short of their mark. We appreciate the work done by the CCD member groups to get the election message out to grassroots Canadians with disabilities.
Immigration—CCD has been drawing attention to the discrimination faced by the Barlagne family who immigrated to Canada from France but were denied permanent resident status because they have a daughter with disabilities.
CCD is also monitoring other immigration cases that are brought to our attention. On behalf of CCD, Vangelis Nikias has been encouraging CBC to broadcast more information about disability discrimination in Canada's immigration system.
Committee member Roy Hanes graciously gave permission to CCD to post on its web site his paper "None Is Still Too Many: An Historical Exploration of Canadian Immigration Legislation As It Pertains to People with Disabilities". CCD also published, with Roy's permission, a summary of this paper in Abilities magazine.
As part of CCD's website redesign, there is now a subsection devoted exclusively to immigration. In that section, you will find, in addition to our papers and press releases, a YouTube video in which Laurie Beachell and Marie White discuss CCD's position on immigration.
Technical Advisory Group—Laurie Beachell and Marie White have been serving on the Technical Advisory Group which is commenting on HRSDC's plans with respect to a replacement for the Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS), which provided statistical data on people with disabilities. The Government of Canada decided to discontinue PALS, which was very disappointing to the disability community, and develop a new approach to data collection. CCD has been working to make the new approach as effective as possible. Data is essential for the development of public policy which will be responsive to the needs of people with disabilities.
Affordable Housing—In May 2010, CCD encouraged MPs to vote in favour of affordable housing (Bill C-304).
Disabling Poverty/Enabling Citizenship Research Initiative—CCD successfully completed the mid-term evaluation of the Disabling Poverty/Enabling Citizenship research project by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The project is now in its final two years. The reports produced to date are available on the CCD web site.
Working with Others—Where appropriate, CCD works collaboratively with the other Canadians who are seeking to eradicate poverty. CCD continues to be a member of Canada Without Poverty.
The CCD Message on Poverty—In From the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness by the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology reflected CCD's recommendations on poverty as did the HUMA Committee Report on poverty, which was titled, Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada. (HUMA stands for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.) In the coming months, the Committee will continue to promote these recommendations with the Government of Canada.
Labour Market—In January, on behalf of CCD, Jim Derksen met with the Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), and the Hon. Steven Fletcher, Minister of State for Democratic Reform, to discuss labour market issues. During the Federal Election, CCD made Canadians and Federal politicians aware of the reforms that are needed to improve employment opportunities.
Disability-related Supports—The Basic Income Proposal suggests a mechanism for securing revenue for disability-related supports: the Federal Government assumes responsibility for income support for people with severe disabilities and the savings to Provincial treasuries from this change would be used by the Provincial Governments for disability-related supports. The Basic Income Proposal was considered at End Exclusion. With the view that the Basic Income Proposal is a step toward poverty eradication and improving access to disability-related supports, CCD is now lending its support to the Basic Income Proposal.
Reducing Drug Costs—In September, CCD spoke out in support of pharmacare for all Canadians. Such a measure would greatly benefit many Canadians with disabilities.
Respectfully Submitted by
on behalf of the CCD Social Policy Working Group
International Development Committee Report
During the last twelve months, CCD's International Development Committee focused primarily on activities relating to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), advancing CCD's long-term objective of having CIDA adopt a policy on disability and development, and participating in other organizations focused on an international agenda.
The work of CCD's International Development Committee has been greatly enhanced by the addition of a new staff member, Vangelis Nikias, who is on a three year Interchange Program from the Government of Canada. While working with the Federal Government, Vangelis was appointed as a government representative to the Canadian delegation that participated in the drafting of the CRPD. At CCD, Vangelis is working to create public and disability community awareness of the CRPD. Vangelis is traveling to CCD's member groups and other organizations to share CCD's perspective on the CRPD. For example, Vangelis has addressed the Alberta Disability Forum.
The volunteers working on CCD's International Development Committee are: Steve Estey (Chairperson), Jim Derksen, Mary Ennis, John Rae, and Yutta Fricke.
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
During the year, there have been both in-person and conference call meetings to discuss how CCD will respond to the CRPD both in the Canadian context and internationally. International Development Committee members have been dialoguing with other CCD Committees and also with human rights experts from other communities. The purpose of this work has been to assist CCD to engage with the CRPD in a way that translates to improvements in the enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities. A recommendation on Canadian monitoring of the CRPD was developed for consideration by the CCD Council. In the coming months, the Committee will be examining such topics as Canada's first report to the Experts Committee, opportunities for the disability community to have input into the Canadian government on CRPD implementation, and a shadow report, to name a few.
Council of the Federation Meeting and Ministers' Meeting—In August 2010, the Council of the Federation met in Winnipeg and Jim Derksen and Laurie Beachell had the opportunity to meet informally with the Premiers to discuss the CRPD. At the end of their meeting, the Premiers, through the Council of the Federation, made the commitment that a Provincial/Territorial meeting would be held. On 15 March 2011, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for disability and human rights met in Winnipeg and focused on the CRPD. Significantly, community members were invited to make presentations to the Ministers. The following from CCD met with the Ministers: Jim Derksen, Yvonne Peters, Steve Estey, and Laurie Beachell.
A Call to Action—CCD and CACL have been encouraging the Government of Canada to develop a plan for implementing the CRPD. Early in the new year, CCD and CACL co-authored a public declaration, "A Call to Action: UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities," which shared the organizations' views on CRPD implementation, monitoring and reporting. In February, 126 disability organizations added their voices to the "CCD-CACL Call for Action", which was published in Abilities magazine.
Working with HRSDC on the CRPD—Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) is the lead Government of Canada department responsible for the CRPD. CCD and CACL shared the Call to Action with the Minister of HRSDC the Hon. Diane Finley.
Meeting with the Hon. Peter MacKay, Minister of Defense—In November, Tony Dolan, CCD Chairperson, Steve Estey and Vangelis Nikias met with Minister MacKay in Ottawa to apprise him of CCD's views on CRPD implementation, monitoring and reporting.
Meeting with Liberal and NDP Caucuses on CRPD—On the 7th and 9th of February, Steve Estey, Vangelis Nikias and Anna MacQuarrie met with MPs from the Liberal and NDP caucuses to heighten their awareness of the CRPD.
Government Conference on the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities—Just as CCD has been promoting the CRPD to elected officials, it has also been undertaking education about the CRPD with Federal Government staff who will be implementing policies and programs. On 23 March 2011, Marie White, Steve Estey and Vangelis Nikias presented at the Government Conference on the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities, organized by HRSDC for Federal Government employees.
International Representation—Steve Estey was at the United Nations in September for the CRPD Conference of States Parties.
Monitoring International Response to the CRPD—The Committee is tracking how other governments are responding to the CRPD. CCD will use this information when it approaches the Government of Canada on issues such as monitoring mechanisms. The Canadian government has not yet announced what mechanism will be used to monitor the CRPD in Canada.
Interorganizational Collaboration—On the CRPD, CCD has been working collaboratively with the Canadian Association for Community Living, particularly Anna MacQuarrie, Michael Bach and Dulcie McCallum.
The UN Human Rights System
The CRPD is one of the UN's human rights treaties. During its work on the CRPD, the CCD International Development Committee also began to monitor some of the mechanisms in the UN human rights system.
Universal Periodic Review (UPR)—Some years ago, when the UN was undertaking its review of Canada, CCD submitted a report on Canada's human rights record with respect to Canadians with disabilities. Since that time, International Development Committee members have been monitoring the UPR process.
Promoting a Policy on Disability and Development
For many years, the CCD International Development Committee has been advancing the idea that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) should adopt a policy on disability and development, which would ensure that a disability lens is used when Canada partners with developing countries for the purpose of international cooperation. If operationalized correctly, a disability policy would help to ensure that people with disabilities benefit from projects invested in by CIDA. Since the ratification of the CRPD, CCD has witnessed a renewed interest among CIDA officials to consider the development of this long overdue policy. During this year, CCD representatives have met twice with CIDA officials about a policy on disability and development.
CCD is a member of three international organizations: Disabled Peoples' International (DPI), Mines Action Canada (MAC), and Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC).
Disabled Peoples' International (DPI)—Marie White has been CCD's representative to the North American Caribbean Regional Council where she has served as Regional Information Officer. The Regional Council named Marie to the DPI World Council.
CCD wrote to DPI expressing concern about the ongoing sustainability of DPI, because they are largely reliant on CIDA funding. As we all know from media coverage, the Canadian government has defunded a number of international organizations. The good news is that CIDA informed DPI that it will receive project funding.
Mines Action Canada (MAC)—CCD continues to be a member in good standing of MAC.
Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC)—This year, CCD participated in two CCIC consultations concerning their reorganization. Following a funding reduction by CIDA, CCIC was forced to reduce its staff and raise its membership fees. For organizations like CCD, which do not have development funding and a large budget, the increase was very small, but the larger, well-funded organizations, such as World Vision, have agreed to a substantial increase in membership fees.
Respectfully Submitted by
on behalf of the CCD International Development Committee
Ending of Life Ethics Committee Report
The CCD National Council of Representatives established the Ending of Life Ethics Committee to respond to actions in Canada related to end of life policies and laws that could devalue the lives of Canadians with disabilities and put such persons at risk. The CCD National Council of Representatives appointed us, Rhonda Wiebe and Dean Richert, as Co-chairs of the Committee. We recruited the following disability community members to the Committee: Jim Derksen, Nancy Blain, Hugh Scher, Marc Workman, and Anne Kresta, thus the Committee benefits from expertise in the areas of palliative care, law, disability rights, community living and inclusion. The Committee has met by conference call during the year.
A particular concern for the Committee is the legalization of assisted suicide in Canada. Over the years, there have been a variety of Private Member's Bills that have sought to make assisted suicide a legal option. As a disability rights analysis shows, it has been people with various disabilities and chronic illness who were targeted as the intended recipients of legalized assisted suicide. The most recent Private Member's Bill to legalize assisted suicide was Quebec MP Francine Lalonde's 2009-10 Bill C-384, which was defeated. CCD opposed this Bill, as it has opposed her previous Bills and those of Svend Robinson. For example, CCD has corresponded with all MPs to share a disability rights analysis explaining why assisted suicide legislation, in the form it has been proposed to date, devalues people with disabilities. One of the effects of the conversation generated by Bill C-384 was that a group of MPs established an ad hoc committee to examine end of life issues.
CCD was invited to appear before the ad hoc Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care on 16 June 2010, and Rhonda Wiebe and Jim Derksen presented CCD's position. CCD submitted a brief to the Committee and a press release was distributed to the media and member groups. CCD published these documents on its web site.
In their appearance before the Committee, Rhonda and Jim defended people with disabilities in the public policy environment on several fronts. First, they opposed any process to amend the Criminal Code to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia. Second, they opposed any policy, such as the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons Statement on Withholding and Withdrawing Life Sustaining Treatment, which uses a lack of ability as a criterion for ending life. Third, they explained that in order to challenge stereotypical attitudes about people with disabilities, the disability movement has been seeking a greater involvement in the education of medical professionals. Fourth, Rhonda Wiebe and Jim Derksen explained that CCD seeks health care, including palliative care, where the needs of people with disabilities are accommodated. For example, people with disabilities in palliative care need to have access to their own technical aids and personal care attendants, who they have trained according to the Independent Living model.
As this was an ad hoc Committee, no official reports have been published as a result of its work.
While in Ottawa for the meeting with the ad hoc Parliamentary Committee, Rhonda Wiebe also had the opportunity to meet with Senator Sharon Carstairs, who chaired the Special Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, which published the report Of Life and Death. The same issues that were raised with the ad hoc Committee were also raised with Senator Carstairs.
The Committee networks with other Canadian organizations addressing euthanasia and other end of life issues, thus, through this informal outreach, CCD is able to monitor emerging trends and remain aware of cases, where the lives of individuals with disabilities are at risk. Due to limited resources and for strategic reasons, CCD must make a very careful and considered decision about involvement in any particular case. CCD was aware of the Baby Joseph case but decided not to become formally engaged in a legal capacity. Although CCD did not become involved, other organizations, such as the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and the Canadian Association for Community Living spoke out in the media about the case, thus the public had the benefit of both the anti-euthanasia and the disability rights perspective on the events which occurred in the Baby Joseph Case.
Respectfully Submitted by
Rhonda Wiebe and Dean Richert, Co-chairs,
on behalf of the CCD Ending of Life Ethics Committee
Transportation Committee Report
During the fiscal year 2010-11, the CCD Transportation Committee monitored Canada's federally regulated transportation system and spoke out on a number of key issues of concern to people with disabilities.
CCD Meets Hon. Chuck Strahl, Minister of Transport
On 17 February 2011, Pat Danforth, Chairperson of the CCD Transportation Committee, accompanied by Laurie Beachell and Vangelis Nikias, met with the Federal Minister of Transport to make him aware of the barriers that people with disabilities experience when they travel in Canada. Pat Danforth informed Minister Strahl about barriers such as the:
- greater use of small planes, specifically the CRJ's, with inaccessible cargo holds that cannot accommodate mobility devices. The CRJ with over 60 seats, presents a barrier because it has the same size of door as the CRJ with 50 seats,
- installation of new technology—touch screen technology used in ticket and baggage claim dispensers and in-flight entertainment systems, new security body scanners, etc.- all of which create new barriers to persons with disabilities,
- individual complaint model at CTA results only in individual solutions not systemic change,
- potential withdrawal of service by Greyhound to small communities in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario thus limiting options,
- the challenge of individuals' right to travel independently (Morten case).
During the meeting Minister Strahl acknowledged the expertise of CCD's Transportation Committee. He agreed that as a result of the Supreme Court decision in VIA v. CCD the voluntary codes of practice have become de facto regulations. The Minister supported access, agreeing that new services should be designed in an inclusive manner and not retrofitted after the fact. The Minister did not rule out the possibility that the Government would regulate the transportation industry if it continues to create new barriers to access. Minister Strahl seemed open to appointing a transportation expert with a disability to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA). CCD was very optimistic about building a collaborative working relationship with Minister Strahl and his department. (Unfortunately, Mr. Strahl chose not to run in the 2011 Election, so once again, the CCD Transportation Committee will have to acquaint a new Transportation Minister to the concerns of travellers with disabilities and the public policy initiatives needed to address barriers to mobility.)
In preparation for the meeting with the Minister of Transport, CCD updated the document titled "Building An Inclusive and Accessible Canada CCD Policy Statement Re: Transportation Access" and shared this document with Minister Strahl.
Greyhound indicated that it would be eliminating a number of routes in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. A reduction in transportation options would have a negative effect on travellers with disabilities. CCD wrote to Premiers in the affected provinces alerting them how such cutbacks would affect people with disabilities. The provinces negotiated a solution with Greyhound.
The CCD Transportation Committee participated in a conference call meeting with officials from the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) and the Transport Development Centre (TDC). The Committee apprised the CTA and TDC about the CCD Council's concerns regarding body scanners and other security measures.
One Person/One Fare Policy
The CCD Transportation Committee continues to monitor how the One Person/One Fare policy is being implemented. CCD continues to hear from travelers with disabilities who are concerned because the policy does not address international travel and applies only to Air Canada, Air Nova and WestJet.
VIA Rail Decision
The CCD Transportation Committee also continues to monitor the implementation of the VIA Rail decision. Concern has been expressed to CCD about the condition of the Renaissance cars in Thunder Bay. It has been reported to CCD that this rolling stock is being vandalized and is experiencing long term exposure to the elements. VIA has confirmed these cars are being used as spare parts for the operating cars.
Pat Danforth met by conference call with representatives of VIA Rail in March 2011 for an update on the progress of retrofitting the Renaissance cars. The targeted completion will be December 2012. The retrofit is going slower than hoped. The RDC, LRC and Stainless cars are also being retrofitted thus there will be more options.
Size of Cargo Hold
CCD has been alerted to the barriers presented by the small size of the cargo hold doors in some airplanes over 60 seats. If indeed the CTA's voluntary code of practice are de facto regulations then these airplanes do not comply with the code. The hold and doorway is so small that some wheelchair users cannot use these aircraft because their mobility aid cannot be transported. CCD has been working to ensure that the Minister of Transport, Transport Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) is aware of this barrier.
Canadian Transportation Agency
The CCD Transportation Committee continues to monitor the work of the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA). Pat Danforth represents CCD on the CTA Advisory Committee.
The Committee members are: Pat Danforth (Chairperson), Robin East, Susan Ralph, Terry Green, Ron Ross, Claredon Robicheau, David Baker.
Respectfully Submitted by
on behalf of the CCD Transportation Committee
Access to Technology Committee Report
At the June 2010 Annual General Meeting, John Rae of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) and Gary Birch of the Neil Squire Society were appointed as co-chairs of the CCD Access to Technology Committee. They have recruited Jeffrey Stark of Citizens With Disabilities Ontario and James Roots of the Canadian Association of the Deaf to join this Committee. A face to face meeting is scheduled to take place in Winnipeg on April 29, 2011 to further develop Terms of Reference for the Committee, review Committee membership and prepare a Work Plan for presentation to the June CCD National Council meeting.
In the meantime, two major activities have taken place.
Through 2010 end of year funding from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, CCD conducted an extensive review of current and emerging technology needs. The "Evolution of Access Project" included consultations by each of CCD's provincial and territorial affiliates and over 15 interviews with key informants from across Canada.
Some major themes that emerged were as follows:
- Access and poverty are intrinsically linked. While some new technologies have created the potential to remove barriers to the equal participation of persons with disabilities, in far too many instances this new access is unaffordable.
- Access to goods remains a significant barrier. New technologies are being incorporated into a huge range of consumer products. These products are regulated for safety but disability access is not regulated. Market forces do not ensure access.
- Access in rural, northern and remote communities remains a fundamental problem.
- Erosion of Access. In a number of instances access has been eroded. Where access existed before it does not do so now.
- Access issues for First Nations Peoples requires specific attention and intervention by the Government of Canada.
The following remedies were suggested:
- Enforceable Regulation: Many identified the need for improved enforceable access regulations and standards.
- Poverty Alleviation: Continuing our on-going work to eradicate poverty.
- Collaboration: Working with different communities to address technology barriers.
In 2011, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) held numerous public hearings on such issues as access to mobile phones, purchases of some major players in the telecommunications sector, and license renewals for several of Canada's major broadcasters. CCD submitted an intervention in the license renewals proceeding, supporting 100% Described Video and quality Captioning in programming offered by these carriers. John Rae of the AEBC and 1st Vice Chair of CCD's National Council and James Roots, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of the Deaf, a CCD member, will appear together before the CRTC at a public hearing in Gatineau, Quebec on April 8 to offer oral testimony in support of CCD's position.
Respectfully Submitted by
John Rae and Gary Birch Co-Chairs
on behalf of the CDD Access to Technology Committee
CCD has also been engaged in some work that does not fall precisely under the mandate of any one CCD Committee. Information on these activities will be shared in this section of the Annual Report.
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which is being built in Winnipeg, will be Canada's first national museum to be located outside of Ottawa. CCD has been working actively to ensure that this new museum is both accessible and inclusive of the disability dimension of the world's human rights story.
CCD has been drawing to the Museum's attention areas of critical importance. For example, CCD has raised concerns about barriers in the Museum's web site. CCD has also shared information about disability issues that need to be addressed by the Museum's programming.
The Museum has heard from a range of CCD volunteers, such as John Rae, Steve Estey and Jim Derksen. Laurie Beachell and Clare Simpson have met with the Museum's architects, regarding universal design and have also had discussions with Brian Everton, the Universal Design Consultant for the project. Laurie Beachell, Jim Derksen and April D'Aubin met with Museum staff to review how the Museum will be working with contractors. They were encouraged to include requirements on Universal Design, when the Museum is seeking proposals for exhibits and other aspects of programming.
CCD has encouraged the Museum to appoint people with disabilities to various advisory committees, such as the Youth Advisory Committee and the Access to Content Committee, that are being established. Jim Derksen already serves on a committee which is advising Stuart A. Murray, the Museum's President and CEO.
Very recently, many of the Museum's staff responsible for program content have resigned from the Museum. This will mean that there will be a new cast of personnel at the Museum who will need to be informed of the community's message on access and inclusion. CCD has been encouraging the Museum to hire staff with disabilities and expertise in universal design.
Assistive Voting Device
Elections Canada contracted with CCD to assist Elections Canada staff test an assistive voting device during a Winnipeg by-election. The assistive voting device is an accommodation that enables people with various disabilities to independently vote and verify their vote. Jim Derksen assisted CCD with this project, as did AEBC, People First and MLPD.
12 CCD Accomplishments in 2010-11
CCD is a national human rights organization working for an inclusive and accessible Canada. The National Council of Representatives and CCD's Committees (Executive, Human Rights, Social Policy, Access to Technology, Transportation, International Development, and Ending of Life Ethics) , with the assistance of the organization's staff, undertake the organization's human rights agenda. For CCD, the concluding fiscal year, 2010-11, was a year of endings and new beginnings, challenges and accomplishments. This report will describe CCD's major accomplishments during the fiscal year. The efforts of the entire CCD team made possible these achievements.
A New Executive Team at CCD
At the June 2010 Annual General Meeting (AGM), long time chairperson Marie White stepped down from that position but remains involved in CCD as Past Chairperson and as Chairperson of the CCD Social Policy Committee. Numerous people ran for CCD Executive positions at the AGM and the following were elected as office holders: Tony Dolan (Chairperson), Roy Muise (First Vice Chair) Susan Ralph (Second Vice Chair), Claredon Robicheau (Secretary), Mary Ennis (Treasurer), and Terry Green (Member-at-Large on Executive Committee). Roy resigned from CCD Council for personal reasons and, during the January 2011 Council meeting, John Rae was elected as First Vice Chair to fill the vacancy left by Roy's resignation. The CCD Executive is elected for a two year term.
1. Canada Ratifies Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
At the end of March 2010, Canada ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Ratification of the CRPD, symbolizes a new era for Canadian disability rights organizations like CCD. One of the reasons that CCD formed was to promote the idea that solutions to the barriers experienced by people with disabilities should be remedied by a human rights approach rather than by medical or charitable solutions. The CRPD is confirmation that the global community endorses human rights solutions to the concerns of people with disabilities. Since ratification, CCD has been educating various Canadian leaders about the disability community's expectations with regard to implementation and monitoring of the CRPD. CCD has shared its views on the implementation of the CRPD with the Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). CCD has also communicated with the social policy caucuses of the Liberal and New Democratic Parties.
Just as CCD has been promoting the CRPD to elected officials, it has also been undertaking education about the CRPD with Federal Government staff people who will be implementing policies and programs. On 23 March 2011, Marie White, Steve Estey and Vangelis Nikias presented at the Government Conference on the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities for Federal government employees, organized by HRSDC.
2. New CCD Staff to Work on CRPD
Vangelis Nikias joined the CCD staff to assist the organization promote the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Vangelis has a long-standing involvement with the organization. He is a former chairperson of the CCD Human Rights Committee and was also a member of the CCD Social Policy Committee. While working for the Federal Government, Vangelis was a member of the Canadian delegation which helped to draft the CRPD at the United Nations.
3. CRPD Commitment by the Council of the Federation
In August 2010, the Council of the Federation met in Winnipeg. Jim Derksen and Laurie Beachell had the opportunity to meet informally with the Premiers when they were in Winnipeg. CCD used this opportunity to discuss the CRPD with the Premiers. At the end of their meeting in Winnipeg, the Premiers, through the Council of the Federation, made the commitment that a meeting would be held on the CRPD by their officials. On 15 March 2011, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for disability and human rights met in Winnipeg and focused on the CRPD. Significantly, community members were invited to make presentations to the Ministers. Typically, Ministers meet behind closed doors without any community involvement. The following from CCD met with the Ministers: Jim Derksen, Yvonne Peters, Steve Estey, and Laurie Beachell.
4. CCD Appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada about Access to Justice
On 13 December 2010, CCD appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in Mowat v. Canada (Attorney General), an appeal about access to justice for victims of discrimination. The case involves Ms. Donna Mowat, who filed a human rights complaint after she experienced sexual harassment at work. Ms. Mowat, whose complaint was largely successful, was entitled to only $4,000 in compensation, although her legal fees to bring her complaint forward were nearly $200,000. In this appeal, the Supreme Court will decide if those who experience discrimination should be reimbursed for their legal costs related to filing human rights complaints. CCD argued that human rights legislation must be accessible to people who experience discrimination. This is particularly important for people with disabilities who represent the largest proportion of complainants before the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
5. Senate and HUMA Committee Reports Reflect CCD's Recommendations
In From the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness by the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology reflected CCD's recommendations on poverty as did the HUMA Committee Report on poverty, which was titled, Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada. (HUMA stands for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.)
6. CCD Poverty Research
CCD's research project, Disabling Poverty/Enabling Citizenship, successfully completed its mid-point evaluation by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The project is directed by co-principal researchers Yvonne Peters and Michael Prince. The project has completed a number of reports such as, an annotated bibliography, a number of legal memos, a demographic analysis and an overview of the Quebec approach to poverty alleviation.
7. CCD Network Meets at End Exclusion
CCD, along with the Canadian Association for Community Living and Canada Without Poverty, brought the disability community together in November to examine how poverty impacts on people with disabilities. On hand for this discussion were the researchers from the Disabling Poverty/Enabling Citizenship project. Guest speaker Cindy Blackstock explained how poverty affects Aboriginal people in Canada and she also discussed Jordan's Principle, which instructs provincial and federal officials to put aside jurisdictional wrangling about responsibility when an Aboriginal child with disabilities is in critical need of services. Another End Exclusion event will take place in November of 2011.
8. CCD Funded to Conduct Human Rights Research
A number of funders came together to resource CCD to undertake research on the duty to accommodate. This research will be conducted by Yvonne Peters, Shelagh Day and Gwen Brodsky.
9. CCD Meets Minister of Transport
After many years, CCD finally had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Transportation. Pat Danforth, Chairperson of the CCD Transportation Committee, Laurie Beachell and Vangelis Nikias met with the Hon. Chuck Strahl. During the meeting, the Minister indicated that the impact of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the VIA Rail case, litigated by CCD, was to give the voluntary codes of practice the weight of access regulations. This is good news for travellers with disabilities. Minister Strahl also made a commitment to improve the working relationship between CCD and his department.
10. CCD Appears before CRTC
At the June 2010 Annual General Meeting, the CCD Council appointed John Rae and Gary Birch as Co-chairs of the CCD Access to Technology Committee. Under the leadership of John and Gary, CCD has begun to engage in a more robust manner on matters relating to access to information and communication technology. For example, CCD has been undertaking a research project called Evolution of Access, seeking the views of member organizations and key informants on barriers that prevent people with disabilities from using technology and how these barriers should be remedied. CCD has also made representations to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on the license renewals for some major broadcasters supporting 100% described video and quality captioning in programming offered by these carriers. John Rae of the AEBC and 1st Vice Chair of CCD's National Council and James Roots, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of the Deaf, a CCD member, appeared together before the CRTC at a public hearing in Gatineau, Quebec on 8 April 2011 to offer oral testimony in support of CCD's position.
11. CCD Shares Its Expertise during Pilot of Assistive Voting Device
During a Federal By-election, CCD assisted Elections Canada test an assistive voting device, which would allow people with various disabilities to vote independently and verify their own vote. Jim Derksen was a consultant to CCD on this project. The following organizations assisted CCD with this project: Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, People First and the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities. In the coming months, CCD expects to work further with Elections Canada on accessible voting issues.
12. New Receptivity at CIDA to Policy on Disability and Development
For many years, the CCD International Development Committee has been advancing the idea that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) should adopt a policy on disability and development, which would ensure that a disability lens is used when Canada partners with developing countries for the purpose of international cooperation. If operationalized correctly, a disability policy would help to ensure that people with disabilities benefit from projects invested in by CIDA. Since the ratification of the CRPD, CCD has witnessed a renewed interest among CIDA officials to consider the development of this long overdue policy. During this year, CCD representatives have been meeting with CIDA officials.
The work undertaken by CCD in 2010-11 has laid a strong foundation for advances in the coming year in CCD's priority issues: disability-related supports, poverty, inclusion in the labour market and access, inclusion and citizenship.
CCD Award Recipients 2010
- Heather Morrison
- Lois Hardy
- Bev Duncan
- Gail Finkel
Ainley Bridgeman (posthumously)
- Donna Jodhan
- Jean-Marie Grenier
- Joe Vriends
- Jane Warren
- Cyril Peach
- PEOPLE FIRST
- Peter Bourne
- Keith Anderson
- Suzie Yelle
- Wayne Sinclair
- Shelley Breau
- Robin East
- Fleurette Spreen
CCD shares its views on policy reform with Federal Ministers. For example, in January 2011, CCD, along with others in the disability community met with Minister Diane Finley and Minister Steven Fletcher. From left to right: Jim Derksen (CCD), Shelly Rattai, Rose Flaig, John Young, Minister Finley, Minister Fletcher, Ross Young and Ken Burford.