CCD Chairperson's Update: July-August 2011

This Update summarizes some of the key activities that CCD undertook during the summer of 2011.

Commonwealth Seminar on UPR Follow-up and Implementation

The Commonwealth Secretariat invited Steve Estey, the Chairperson of CCD’s International Development Committee, to participate in a meeting about how to advance the implementation of the recommendations generated by the Universal Periodic Review. During the meeting, participants examined the following questions:

  • Which ministries should take responsibility for the UPR recommendations?
  • What steps should be taken to implement these recommendations?
  • What are the expected outcomes of these actions?
  • What are the expected timeline and cost?
  • What are the challenges?

The meeting took place 28-29 June 2011 in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years. It is a country-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council. The UPR is an opportunity for each country to report what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries. CCD submitted a brief to the United Nations when Canada underwent its review.

Canadian Transportation Agency

The CCD met by teleconference in July to review the document titled Personnel Training for the Assistance of Persons with Disabilities Regulations (PTR). Following its review, the Transportation Committee concluded that, “We do not support a reduction in the current regulations. Suggesting that some areas would be better served when the agency develops another set of guidelines is short sighted. There is very limited “regulatory burden” on transportation service providers who serve persons with disabilities; further limiting these meagre regulations is not needed.” CCD shared its views with Mary-Jane Gravelle, the Canadian Transportation Agency’s Director of Accessible Transportation Directorate.

Federal Court of Appeal--Jodhan Case

In August, the Federal Court of Appeal denied CCD leave to intervene in the Jodhan Case. CNIB was also denied leave to intervene. The good news is that CCD’s member group, the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians was granted intervener status. With this test case, Donna Jodhan is seeking to compel the Federal Government to make its web sites accessible.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights appointed CCD Vice Chairperson John Rae to the Museum’s Inclusive Design Advisory Council (IDAC). Jim Derksen, a member of CCD’s Human Rights, International Development and Ending of Life Ethics Committees, was also appointed to the IDAC, as was Valerie Wolbert, a member of CCD's Access to Technology Committee.

Meeting with Liberal Caucus on Multiculturalism

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) was invited by Mr. Jim Karygiannis, MP, to meet with Liberal MPs before the fall session of the House of Commons. CCD Council member Terrence Green and Vangelis Nikias, CRPD Project Manager, attended the meeting on 28 August 2011. Among other issues, CCD raised the issues addressed in the National Action Plan.

Pre Budget Consultation

On 12 August 2011, CCD submitted a brief, called “Invest in the Independence of People with Disabilities” to the Standing Committee on Finance. CCD wants to appear before the Committee when it is consulting Canadians about the direction the next Federal Budget should take. In its brief, CCD urged the Finance Committee to “…remember those who already face significant disadvantage. Many within the disability community live on incomes of less than $10,000 per year. Canadians with disabilities struggle to have their needs met when times are good. When times are bad, sadly we are often the first to feel the effects of cutbacks in services and supports or loss of employment.” CCD called upon the Federal Government to use the Budget to accomplish the following objectives:

  1. Address the disproportionate poverty experienced by Canadians with disabilities
  2. Expand the EI Sickness Benefit
  3. Support Organizations of People with Disabilities.