CCD Chairperson's Update - November 2012

CCD Celebrates Increased Funding for People First of Canada

In November, CCD held a National Council meeting in Ottawa, so while in the nation’s capital, CCD representatives met with a range of key decision makers, who focus on disability and public policy.  CCD heard good news during these meetings: the Government of Canada will be providing People First of Canada (PFC) a grant of $500,000 a year to undertake their activities.  Congratulations to Shane Haddad, PFC President, Shelley Rattai, PFC Executive Director, and the rest of the PFC team for taking a major step toward long term sustainability!  The Government of Canada also committed to designated funding for national disability organizations in an open competition.  The Government of Canada will be working with organizations in the disability community to determine the funding level and criteria for this new initiative.  Next year, HRSDC will also provide $2.8 million to the 18 national disability organizations affected by the reduction in grant funding.

Canadians with disabilities, their families and their organizations have worked collaboratively with the Government of Canada for over 35 years to make Canada more accessible and inclusive.  Our collective work has improved the status of Canadians with disabilities and created greater access for persons with disabilities and their families.  Persons with disabilities, and the organizations that represent us, have contributed to the prosperity, social and economic development of Canada.  We, too, contribute to our communities and our country.  Because of our collaborative efforts, Canadians with disabilities have access to education and jobs that improve their ability to participate fully in Canadian life and the services/supports they require to live good, healthy lives.

“The struggle to create a more accessible and inclusive Canada has not been easy, nor have all barriers been removed.  The catalyst, for the positive results, has been the commitment and the good work of people with disabilities, our families and our organizations.  Our collective action over the last 35 years has transformed Canadian society” said Tony Dolan, National Chairperson of CCD.

“Our work is not done.  Sadly, many Canadians with disabilities continue to live in poverty and face barriers every day.  Many are unemployed and are challenged to access education and jobs.  New initiatives are essential to ensure that persons with disabilities are gainfully employed and have the supports necessary to participate in all aspects of our society including the labour market,” said Marie Ryan, Past Chair of CCD.

“The catalyst for finding ways of removing barriers and ensuring the full citizenship of Canadians with disabilities has come from the hard work of thousands of Canadians with disabilities, their families and their organizations” said Laurie Beachell, National Coordinator of CCD.  “The voice of people with disabilities and their organizations must continue to be supported and engaged in the ongoing work of making Canada more accessible and inclusive,” said Beachell.

“If governments are to deliver on their objectives for social, economic and labour force inclusion of Canadians with disabilities, it is essential that the infrastructure of national disability organizations, with their affiliates and partners in provinces, territories and local communities across Canada, is in place to gather and share knowledge.  We are the information highway that makes possible an understanding of disability issues, identifies innovative solutions and helps to scale up successful interventions,” said Dolan.

Moore Case

CCD intervened in this case and the decision by the Supreme Court of Canada is a very positive one for the disability community.  Yvonne Peter’s has written an assessment of this case for CCD’s membership. 

Carter Case

CCD made an application to the BC Court of Appeal to intervene in the Carter case.  David Baker appeared in Court on 26 November 2012 to explain why CCD should be granted intervenor status.

Help to Live, Not Die Fundraising Initiative

CCD launched a fund raising campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds for its work in opposition to legalized assisted suicide.

Meeting Members of Parliament

CCD’s National Council of Representatives met in Ottawa on 30 November 2012.  While in Ottawa, CCD representatives met with: staff in Minister Diane Finley’s  office; Hon.  Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance; Hon. Steven Fletcher, Minister of State for Transport; MP Shelly Glover; Hon. Bob Rae, MP, Leader of the Liberal Party; and MP Mike Sullivan, NDP Deputy Disability Critic.

Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC)

On 27 November 2012, Yvonne Peters, Laurie Beachell and Marie White met with Commissioners and staff of the CHRC — David Langtry, Acting Chief Commissioner and three other Commissioners; Ian Fine, Acting Chief of Staff; and Harvey Goldberg, who has been CCD’s liaison on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  CCD discussed, with the CHRC, collaborative efforts around the CRPD and future human rights cases.  CCD requested that the CHRC publish a special report on the Moore case, explaining the importance and potential impact of the Supreme Court of Canada decision.  When the request was made, CCD stressed the importance of a report that would be usable by the widest range of people in the disability community.

New Litigation

The CCD Human Rights Committee decided to seek Interested Party status in Ross Eadie’s complaint about MTS’s inaccessible set-top boxes for televisions.  A set-top box is a device that enables a television set to become a user interface for various services and also enables a television set to receive and decode digital television broadcasts.  CCD hopes that a positive decision in this case would be a step toward improving access to information and communication technology in Canada.

Speaking Out Against Assisted Suicide

Rhonda Wiebe, Co-chair of CCD’s Ending of Life Ethics Committee, spoke at the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition  Conference in London, Ontario.  Rhonda co-presented with Amy Hasbrouck who is organizing Toujours vivant/Not Dead Yet, an organization of people with disabilities that opposes assisted suicide and euthanasia.


CCD has been working with Ray Smith to raise awareness with CUPE members about the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  CCD wrote a fact sheet on the CRPD for CUPE.

Independent Living Canada

Vangelis Nikias attended the IL Canada  Annual General Meeting.

Elections Canada

CCD is working with Elections Canada to help them develop training information on disability issues for Elections Canada staff.