What Are Canada's Political Parties Plans Concerning Inclusive Emergency Preparedness?

For Immediate Release | September 17, 2021

The past months have made the importance of inclusive emergency preparedness abundantly clear to people with disabilities living in Canada.  Emergency management is a core responsibility of the Government of Canada and a collective responsibility of all Federal Government institutions. The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), a national non-partisan human rights organization seeking an accessible and inclusive Canada, is calling upon all Federal Parties to share their plans for ensuring that people with disabilities are not forgotten during the planning processes for future emergencies or left out when disasters occur. “We all remember how the Canadian military had to be deployed to nursing homes, where people with disabilities were dying without adequate care because the service system was unprepared to meet the demands of COVID-19. We need to learn from the tragedies of the pandemic and ensure that people with disabilities are not forgotten as we plan for future emergencies,” states Heather Walkus, CCD 1st Vice Chair.

Some key components of emergency preparedness plans are: evacuation, transportation, communication and shelter. In previous emergencies, barriers have occurred in all these areas. For example, at the beginning of the pandemic ASL/LSQ was not included in all messaging concerning COVID-19.

CCD reminds the Federal Parties that the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) calls for the removal of existing barriers and prevention of new barriers in the following areas: employment, the built environment, information and communication technologies, communication, other than information and communication technologies, the procurement of goods, services and facilities, the design and delivery of programs and services, transportation and that American Sign Language, Quebec Sign Language and Indigenous sign languages are recognized as the primary languages for communication by deaf persons in Canada. “CCD is seeking to learn from the Federal Parties how, if elected to form the Government of Canada, they would ensure that Canada’s emergency preparedness activities contribute to the goal of a barrier-free Canada as set out in the ACA,” states Jewelles Smith, CCD Communications and Government Relations Coordinator.


For More Information Contact:

Jewelles Smith, Communications and Government Relations Coordinator, jewelles@ccdonline.ca

Heather Walkus, 1st Vice Chair, heather@ccdonline.ca

About CCD

CCD is a non-partisan, national human rights organization of people with disabilities working for an inclusive and accessible Canada.


The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) is a social justice organization of people with all disabilities that champions the voices of people with disabilities, advocating an inclusive and accessible Canada, where people with disabilities have full realization of their human rights, as described in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) unites advocacy organizations of people with disabilities to defend and extend human rights for persons with disabilities through public education, advocacy, intervention in litigation, research, consultation and partnerships.  CCD amplifies the expertise of our partners by acting as a convening body and consensus builder.