CCD, CACL, CAILC and Amnesty International Applaud Canada's Support for CRPD

For Immediate Release

March 23, 2007

Tuesday March 20th, while appearing before the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed Canada's support for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). During his testimony, Minister MacKay, referring to the CRPD, stated, "We have every intention to be there and sign". This is the first official confirmation that Canada will sign onto the Convention.

Canada was an acknowledged leader at the UN during the development of the Convention. Canadian officials ensured that the Convention was built on a strong foundation of equality and human rights, reflective of Canadian values. The CRPD and Canada's leadership role in its creation is something in which Canadians can take pride.

The Government of Canada collaborated with civil society organizations during the development of the CRPD. Members of the disability community were included in the Canadian delegation that worked at the UN over a five-year period to draft this Convention. The Department of Human Resources and Social Development has consistently supported the disability community to meet and develop recommendations related to the Convention. The CRPD is the first legally binding international human rights document to explicitly secure the rights of people with disabilities.

After so many years of work on the Convention, the Canadian disability community was understandably anxious to learn what the Canadian Government's position would be on the CRPD. Tuesday's presentation by Minister MacKay precipitated both an optimistic sigh of relief and a welling of pride about Canada's continued leadership on this issue. Minister MacKay's comments at the Committee demonstrate that this Government is committed to the human rights of people with disabilities.

We are proud to live in a country that has committed to the rights of people with disabilities through the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that will be signing on to the CRPD. We thank Minister MacKay for his leadership and commitment. We hope his good work will result in Canada taking its rightful place as one of the first to sign the CRPD on March 30th.

The CRPD is the first human rights convention of this century and it will play a profound role in improving the lives of people with disabilities all over the world.


For More Information Contact:

Laurie Beachell, National Coordinator, CCD (204) 947-0303
Michael Bach, Executive Director, CACL (416) 661-9611 Ext. 237
Traci Walters, Executive Director, CAILC (613) 563-2581 Ext. 16
Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International (613) 744-7667 Ext. 234