Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

September 14, 2009

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, MP
Prime Minister
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Harper:

On 30 March 2007, Canada, along with 80 other countries, signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Since that time, there have been 142 signatories to the Convention, 85 signatories to the Optional Protocol, 66 ratifications of the Convention and 44 ratifications of the Optional Protocol. We in the Canadian disability community have been eagerly awaiting Canada’s ratification of the CRPD and its Optional Protocol, and we continue to hope that Canada will ratify them before the end of this year.

CCD is encouraged that Canada participated as an observer at the second Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and was particularly pleased by Canada’s statement at the conference that, “The Government of Canada is currently giving priority consideration to ratification of the Convention in 2009. Domestic consultative processes are nearing completion.”

CCD was appreciative of the Government of Canada’s engagement with the disability community this spring on the CRPD, when our representatives were invited to Ottawa to share their views. At this meeting, there was unanimous support for ratification this year, in fact we agreed that ratification in time for a celebration on the UN Day for Persons with a Disability (December 3rd) would be most welcome. The statement made by Canadian Officials last week in New York indicates that Canada is listening to its citizens with disabilities regarding the ratification of the CRPD.

Having played an active role in the negotiation of the CRPD at the United Nations, there is an expectation that Canada will ratify this international law in an expeditious manner. Already 29 months have passed since the signing ceremony for the CRPD at the United Nations. To delay much longer will put Canada’s assertions of being a human rights and disability rights leader in question. It also will not be viewed favorably by our guests as Canada prepares to host the “most accessible Paralympics ever.”

The Canadian community of persons with disabilities is anxious to have Canada play a full role in the Conferences of States Parties and in the CRPD Experts Committee. While we appreciate Canada’s participation as an observer, we are convinced that Canada’s full participation in the future will do much to ensure an effective, robust and fair minded treaty body.

In closing, on behalf of CCD, I once again urge the Government of Canada to ratify the CRPD and its Optional Protocol in time for a December 3rd ceremony in Ottawa. CCD is anxious to continue working collaboratively with the Government of Canada toward the development of an implementation plan for this historic treaty.


Marie White


cc: Hon. Rob Nicholson, MP, Minister of Justice
Hon. Peter MacKay, MP, Minister of National Defense
Hon. Diane Finley, MP, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development
Hon. Lawrence Cannon, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hon. James Moore, MP, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
Michael Ignatieff, MP, Leader of the Liberal Party
Jack Layton, MP, Leader of the NDP
Gilles Duceppe, MP, Leader of the Bloc Québécois