International Day of Persons with Disabilities, an occasion observed annually on December 3 since 1992, launches a weeklong series of events putting the focus on disability rights, inclusion and accessibility. In joining the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2010 and its Optional Protocol in 2018, Canada committed to implementing measures to protect and promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities without discrimination, enable participation in all aspects of society and on an equal basis with others, and remove barriers to accessibility.
This past September the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups brought concerns of those with work-acquired permanent disabilities to the UN Committee reviewing Canada, arguing in their submission that through their use of deeming the provinces’ workers’ compensation systems’ violate Canada’s obligations under the CRPD [read full submission Deeming Laws and Practices as Violations of the Rights of People with Work-acquired Disabilities in Canada ]
Among IDPWD ’19 events:
- Do The Rights Thing: National Human Rights Policy Forum. Dec. 3, 2019. Shaw Centre, Ottawa – an intersectional approach, looking at human rights obligations as an employer or service provider under the new Accessible Canada Act and rights under the Optional Protocol, the individual complaints mechanism
- Working Together: One Voice More Choice. Dec. 7, 2019. Metro Hall Rm 308-309, Toronto 2-4 p.m.
Disability and Work in Canada Conference 2019
In Ottawa Dec. 4-5 the Disability and Work in Canada Conference 2019 will review a revised national strategy to improve the level of employment of persons with disabilities and identify key steps in its implementation [see report Moving Forward Together]. Topics on the agenda include an update on the CRPD, school to work transition, workplace accommodation and addressing unconscious bias and stigma.
Ahead of the Conference, the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (CRWDP) organized an Ontario meeting on the Strategy. Among recommendations proposed for further discussion:
1) Address poverty and income security among people with disabilities by making the Disability Tax Credit a refundable payment, payable monthly like the Canada Child Benefit.
2) Maintain the present definition of disability for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
3) Eliminate the barriers within the Ontario Works (OW) and ODSP that create a disincentive to employment by making the integration of employment earnings with benefits more user friendly.
4) Build strong working relationships between disability organizations.
5) Support a broad based coalition on inclusive workplaces and societies.
6) Develop a robust federal system for the collection of data on health and disability and employment and income.
- Galer, Dustin. 2018. Working Towards Equity: Disability Rights Activism and Employment in Late Twentieth-Century Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
- Canadian Encyclopaedia. 2017. “Disability Rights Movement in Canada.”
- Ontario Human Rights Commission. 2016. Policy on Ableism and Discrimination Based on Disability.
- IWO blog. 2017 Mar. 28. “Injured Workers Heading to the Supreme Court.” (ONIWG and IVAGO Community Legal Clinic intervenors in CNESST v Caron, addressing duty of workers’ compensation boards to ensure human rights are respected in return to work)