CCD Chairperson's Update - October 2014

Assisted Suicide

On 2 October 2014, in the Speaker's Lounge (Centre Block), Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet, a project of CCD, organized a luncheon for Members of Parliament, where they heard from people with disabilities about the dangers that would ensue if assisted suicide were legalized. Speakers included: Catherine Frazee (Professor Emeritus Disability Studies, Ryerson), Heidi Janz (University of Alberta), Norman Kunc (Broadreach Centre),  Nicolas Steenhout (Vivre Dans La Dignité), Dr. Bonita Sawatzky (University of British Columbia), Amy Hasbrouck (Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet).

Leading up to the Supreme Court's hearing of the Carter Case (assisted suicide), CCD used the media to explain to the public errors in polls which suggested that most Canadians support the legalization of assisted suicide.  Read more.

On 15 October 2014, CCD Executive member Carmela Hutchison monitored the proceedings at the Supreme Court during its hearing of the Carter Case.  Carmela was CCD's media spokesperson, conveying the message that living with a disability is not worse than death and people who are misled into believing it will be, should not be offered public support to kill themselves. Read more.

In collaboration with CACL, CCD was an intervener in the Carter Case.  David Baker, lawyer for CCD and CACL, made a ten minute presentation to the Court, based upon the CCD/CACL factum.

The presentations made before the Supreme Court on 15 October 2014 are archived on the Court's website.  

Christine Elliott to Address Disabling Poverty/Enabling Citizenship Forum

The Disabling Poverty/Enabling Citizenship research team has been planning its 2 December 2014 Forum, where researchers will present the highlights of their 5 year research project on poverty and disability.  Christine Elliott will address the participants.

Canada Post

CCD continues to speak out against the end of door-to-door mail delivery.  This month CCD reminded the public that privatized service options that will charge a fee for home mail delivery are not a replacement for Canada Post's door-to-door service. Read more.

Research on Employment

CCD has received a small grant to undertake research focused on barriers to employment.  This research will help in the development of new policy options.

CRPD Outreach

CCD's Interchange Agreement with Treasury Board has been extended for another six months, thus Vangelis Nikias will continue working with the CCD International Development Committee, promoting awareness of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). 

This month, Vangelis has been informing law and social work students about how the Convention can inform their future practice.  At the end of October, he met with members of a Unitarian congregation in Vancouver to advise them on how they can incorporate the CRPD in their work.

Canada's First Report on the CRPD

On 2 October 2014, the CCD International Development Committee met by conference call to discuss the Committee's next steps in addressing Canada's First Report on the CRPD.

Pat Danforth Advises Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA)

On 17 October 2014, Pat Danforth, CCD Vice Chair and Chair of the CCD Transportation Committee, participated in a meeting of a Canadian Transportation Agency's advisory committee which focuses on removing obstacles to the transportation of people with disabilities.  During the meeting, Pat requested that CTA undertake a survey of how Canadian airlines are implementing 1 person 1 fare domestically and internationally. Read more.

Extension of Funding

This month, the Hon. Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), called CCD to share some very good news - a year's extension of our funding!  CCD appreciates the Government of Canada's support of our work to improve access and inclusion of people with disabilities in Canada.

ANNOUNCEMENT - Collaborative Knowledge Building and Action for VisitAble Housing in Canadian Cities

The Canadian Centre on Disability Studies (CCDS) has launched the project, Collaborative Knowledge Building and Action for VisitAble Housing in Canadian Cities, to promote visitable housing.  Jim Derksen has been representing CCD on this project.  The project was funded by the Government of Canada's Social Development Partnerships Program — Disability Component.  The project team consists of Susan L. Hardie, Allen Mankewich, and Youn-Young Park. 

Definition of VisitAbility

VisitAbility is a movement to change home construction practices so that virtually all new homes offer a few basic accessibility features making the home easier for people with mobility difficulties to live in and visit. Although there are a few interpretations of VisitAbility, three essential features are commonly identified for VisitAble housing:
1) No-step entrance (at the front, back or side of the house)
2) Wider doorways and clear passage on the main floor
3) A main floor bathroom (or powder room) that can be accessed by visitors who use mobility devices
VisitAbility does NOT offer total access, but does allow people with mobility difficulties to enter a house without assistance from others, and provides access to the rooms and bathroom on the first floor.

Goal and Objectives

This project intends to promote VisitAble housing for all people living in Canada, including seniors and persons with disabilities. The project objectives are:

To increase understanding of VisitAble housing by highlighting lived experiences and reviewing current policies and practices, impacts, barriers, and best practices;
To develop and implement strategies to promote VisitAble housing among buyers, builders, policy makers, and other stakeholders; and
To increase the awareness of VisitAble housing by highlighting the positive impacts, such as safety, social inclusion and active living of residents, inclusive community building and sustainable housing.

Key Project Activities

Key project activities include:
Six task forces across Canada who promote VisitAble housing locally.
Research on VisitAble housing (e.g., literature/document review, environmental scan, case study, interviews).
Development of information material and resources on VisitAble housing (e.g., video, factsheet, brochure, display banner).
Creation of a provincial/territorial resource list for VisitAbility information.

For more information contact CCDS: