CCD Chairperson's Update: October 2011

CCD’s motto is a Voice of Our Own and in this edition CCD focuses on how the voice of people with disabilities is making Canadian society more accessible and inclusive.

Meeting with Minister Jim Flaherty

CCD Chairperson Tony Dolan and Laurie Beachell, CCD National Coordinator, met with Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty to discuss economic issues of concern to people with disabilities. The conversation focused on CCD priorities (the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)), and the Government’s priorities (deficit reduction and economic stability). A hopeful indication during this meeting was that the fact that Minister Flaherty stated that poor Canadians would not be made worse off by the Government’ s deficit reduction measures.

This month the RDSP caught the attention of the Globe and Mail, which did an editorial on the program on 31 October. In the editorial, CCD views about the RDSP were shared. The article stated, “It is a wonderful program. Jim Flaherty, the federal Finance Minister, is to receive an award this week from the Council of Canadians with Disabilities for having created the RDSP. The CCD lists the program (which Mr. Flaherty hopes to improve through a public consultation announced this month) among the highlights of the past 30 years for disabled Canadians.”

Meeting with CASHRA

On 4 October 2011, CCD and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) hosted a meeting called “A Dialogue on a Monitoring Framework for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)” in Ottawa in which members of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA) particiapted. The purpose of the meeting was for CASHRA representatives to explore with the disability community approaches to developing a framework of independent mechanisms for promoting, protecting and monitoring the CRPD and to explore options for effectively engaging the disability community in this process.

Mowat Case

On 28 October 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in the Mowat case. CCD was disappointed by the decision. CCD was hoping for a decision which would have allowed for the awarding of legal costs by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. In its intervention, CCD explained that the awarding of such costs is necessary to ensure access to justice for people who have limited financial resources. The Court took a narrow approach, when deciding the case.