December 3, 2020: Do Better Now Says the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD)!

December 3, 2020 | For Immediate Release

On December 3, we commemorate the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities.  The theme for 2020 is “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world.  This is not some future task. The time is now.

In Canada, 24 percent of the population self-identify as having a disability, and many were already pushed to the margins before the pandemic. “Pre COVID-19, people with disabilities were most likely to be unemployed, less able to access appropriate and basic health care services and have a massive uphill battle to have supports to gain an education. For instance, for people who are blind or who have low vision the rate of unemployment reaches levels of 90% and the majority live below the poverty line,” states Heather Walkus, CCD First Vice Chair.

With respect to the little government financial relief towards COVID-19 that has come to only 40% of members of the disability community, in many cases it has been clawed back by another level of government. Instead of people with disabilities being able to use this money to buy enough food to get through the month, government coffers have benefitted from the clawed back money. “Every month that the pandemic continues – with prices for food having risen 20-35% and services either not available or sparse in many communities -- means people are being pushed not just to the edges but over into the abyss of poverty and disrespect,” states Roxana Jahani Aval, CCD Chairperson.

Our community, already pushed outside the mainstream, does not want to build back better systems of discrimination which are already imbedded in the way we are viewed and the response to us before and during the pandemic. What gives us any assurance that one day, post pandemic, we will be included? There is nothing preventing governments, industry and society to shift from exclusionary systemic discrimination during this pandemic to an inclusive approach now. We do not need to wait one minute more or have one more committee study the problem or one more consultation.

Want to build back better? Then society must be better and do better now!


For more information contact:

Heather Walkus, CCD 1st Vice Chair
Tel: 250-501-1112

To read more about CCD’s views concerning necessary actions for Canada to do better by Canadians with disabilities, visit

About the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD)

CCD is a national human rights organization of people with disabilities working for an inclusive and accessible Canada.

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) is a social justice organization of people with all disabilities that champions the voices of people with disabilities, advocating an inclusive and accessible Canada, where people with disabilities have full realization of their human rights, as described in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) unites advocacy organizations of people with disabilities to defend and extend human rights for persons with disabilities through public education, advocacy, intervention in litigation, research, consultation and partnerships.  CCD amplifies the expertise of our partners by acting as a convening body and consensus builder.