CCD Chairperson's Update: May 2011

CCD presents the highlights of its work during May 2011.

Supreme Court of Canada Hears Disability Rights Case

On May Tuesday May 17th, 2011 the Supreme Court of Canada considered whether people with intellectual disabilities should be allowed to testify in court. Specifically, the question before the Court in the D.A.I case was whether people with intellectual disabilities are required to demonstrate an understanding of the concept of a “promise to tell the truth” in order to be permitted to testify. The court granted CCD intervener status in the D.A. I. case. CCD argued that courts should not impose a test to allow people with disabilities to testify that is not imposed on others. Courts should focus scrutiny on the testimony given by individuals not the individuals themselves. Courts do not test non-disabled persons’ ability to tell the truth. It is only biases and myths that suggest persons with disabilities have any less capacity to determine the truth than others. Dave M. Wright was legal counsel for CCD in this case.

Meeting with Foreign Affairs Canada

On behalf of CCD, Vangelis Nikias, CRPD Project Manager, attended a meeting at Foreign Affairs Canada, which focused on the reports from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Presentation to CUPE about Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

On 5 May 2011, Vangelis Nikias, CRPD Project Manager, made a presentation to the CUPE Disability Working Group.

CIDA Brown Bag Lunch Series

Steve Estey, Chairperson of CCD’s International Development Committee, was an invited speaker at CIDA’s Brown Bag Lunch event this month. Steve’s talk focused on the history of the rights of persons with disabilities and on practical applications of the provisions of the CRDP in a development context.

Committee Meetings

Executive Committee

On 10 May 2011, the CCD Executive Committee met by conference call to plan for the CCD Council meeting and Annual General Meeting.

Social Policy Committee

The Committee met by conference call to discuss on 11 May 2011 to start planning End Exclusion 2011.

Human Rights Committee

On 12 May 2011, the CCD Human Rights Committee met to consider whether or not CCD should seek leave to intervene in the Jodhan case. The Committee members agreed to seek leave to intervene.

International Development Committee

CCD secured a meeting with the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA). CCD will meet with CASHRA in Calgary 13 June 2011. The purpose of this meeting will be to talk to CASHRA about the role of Commissions in monitoring and engagement as set out in Article 33 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.