In August 2007, I wrote a critique of
In September 2007, I wrote to Steve Estey and Dave Sh
Last September, I asked for comments from Steve Estey and Dave Shannon, neither of whom has seen fit to respond in any way.and received this reply on October 1. I believe it is in the best interest of people with disabilities to be familiar with this Convention and to engage in thoughtful debate.
......I am disappointed that neither Steve nor Dave will discuss the implications of this treaty. They take credit for it and they should explain it.
I did not receive your earlier email, so I did not reply. You know you can call me respecting these issues any time, so don`t get pissy about me with third parties. If anyone should be disappointed it is Steve and I for not being given a second chance by you with the courtesy of a message confirmation.
Respecting the CRPD, I would agree with Steve that it is not a panacea. The Canadian Charter is not either. The few words of section 15 highlight its great limitation for persons with a disability because it does not guarantee economic, social or cultural rights. The CRPD says on a global stage to
I believe that a Canadians With Disabilities Act would be a further valuable tool in individual and systemic advocacy. It remains policy for the three major frderal parties, but notwithstanding the fact that several NGOs continue to push for a CDA, it has not yet come to fruition.
As you know, in
One in eight Canadians has a disability (3.6 million people). For
Statistics do not reveal the emotional and financial effect that barriers facing persons with a disability has on this community, and their family members, loved ones, neighbors and co-workers.
Among the daily obstructions experienced by disabled Nova Scotians are: &#
- Manageable transportation
- Available housing
- Accessible educational opportunities
- Attention to personal needs
- Admission to leisure and entertainment facilities
- An unemployment rate greater than 55%
Sadly, while for many years
Of greater concern for persons with a disability are the condescending attitudes of `pity’ and ‘sympathy’ and the belief that the disabled must be ‘looked after for their own good’. This not only engenders forms of marginalization for the disabled but, moreover, in a cruel reversal, serves to internalize the message of exclusion to the disabled themselves. By minimizing their own expectations for equality and dignity, contemporary society effectively underlines the inequity and discrimination people with disabilities are trying to overcome.
- Involving all stakeholders in discussions to make policy and programme changes
- Acknowledging that equality begins with understanding that discrimination exists
- Making dignity for persons with a disability part of organizational values and a standard to measure people against
- Encouraging a respectful and inclusive province. No one wants to be excluded.
In The Accessibility for Ontarians with a Disability Act (AODA) the government of
In March 2007
The Convention marks a ‘paradigm shift’ in attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are not viewed as "objects" of charity, medical treatment and social protection; rather as "subjects" with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society. The Convention gives universal recognition to the dignity of persons with disabilities.
As you have noted, in
The most significant advantages of the CRPD include:
(i) providing an immediate statement of legal accountability regarding disability rights;
(ii) clarifying the content of human rights principles and their application to people with disabilities;
(iii) providing an authoritative and global reference point for domestic law and policy initiatives;
(iv) providing mechanisms for more effective monitoring, including reporting on enforcement, supervision by a body of experts mandated by the CRPD, and the consideration of individual or group complaints under the Optional Protocol;
(v) establishing a useful framework for multi-sectoral cooperation;
(vi) providing a fair and common standard of assessment and achievement across regions; and
(vii) creating a broad forward looking rights based consensus providing transformative educative benefits.
Inequality for persons with a disability has everything to do with the denial of dignity, and that dignity c
• Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons
• Full and effective participation and inclusion in society
• Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
• Equality of opportunity
• Equality between men and women
• Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities
• Reasonable accommodation for persons with disability
• Awareness-raising of the great potential of persons with a disability
• Provision of habilitation and rehabilitation
• Collection of statistics and data
• Federal and inter-provincial cooperation
• Provincial implementation and monitoring
• Right to life, liberty and security of the person
• Equal recognition before the law and legal capacity
• Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse
• Right to respect physical and mental integrity
• Freedom of movement
• Right to live independently in the community
• Freedom of expression and opinion
• Respect for privacy
• Respect for home and the family
• Right to education
• Right to health
• Right to work
• Right to adequate standard of living
• Right to participate in political and public life
• Right to participation in cultural life
• Access must be ensured to:
· Living independently and being included in the community
· Information and communication services
· Habilitation and rehabilitation
· Work and employment- human resource policies and practices
· Adequate standard of living and social protection
· Participation in political and social life
· Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport
The CRPD makes it clear that limitations on resources is not an excuse to deny equality unless it causes undue financial hardship. Limited resources have to be prioritized according to reasonable and objective criteria and funding must be proportional. The UN suggests that these strategies for effective use of limited resources be used:
- Target low-cost programmes
- Target people in the most marginalized situations
- Be non-discriminatory
- Draw on national cooperation
- Include persons with disabilities in all stage
Success of the CRPD will also require mainstreaming disability in existing processes, programmes and policies. No Ministry, department or entity can achieve the goal of equality for persons with disabilities on its own. An interconnected network of actors is required to reach this goal. Therefore, different entities need to ensure that their respective spheres of responsibility provide the necessary opportunities and access to persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others. If any one element of the network fails in this obligation, persons are not able to reap the benefit from the other elements. Both the AODA and CRPD use this strategy.
The CRPD also has established a Committee of Experts to meet in order to consider any matter with regard to the implementation of the Act. Furthermore, there is a Secretariat tasked with reviewing implementation of the Act. This provides new resources for the promotion of disability rights globally. The UN notes that together the Committee of Experts and Secretariat undertake the following:
- Advocate the equalization of opportunities for, the full enjoyment of all human rights by, and the well-being of persons with disabilities in all respects;
- Create awareness of the CRPD
- Act as a catalyst to promote international, and technical cooperation on disability issues, including by identifying strategic areas for the exchange and sharing of expertise, best practices, knowledge, information and relevant technologies in order to enhance the capacity-building of all relevant bodies
- Collaborate in the fulfillment of the above tasks with all relevant stakeholders, including organizations of persons with disabilities
In light of the above, even with the CRPD the challenges remain enormous for persons with a disability in Nova and throughout the world. While work should continue in earnest to implement the CRPD, there should be no diminution of the energy exerted for parallel initiatives. This includes test case litigation, data retrieval, policy research, disabled persons organizational capacity building, and awareness raising to name a few. These efforts should not be seen as mutually exclusive, but be part of a synchronized spectrum of activities aimed at guaranteeing dignity for persons with a disability. Finally, at all stages in their creation and implementation persons with disabilities must be included.
I look forward to your further thoughts,