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International Day of Persons With Disabilities - Minister Finley

  • Published: 2009-12-03 (Revised/Updated 2013-08-01) : Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.
  • Synopsis: Independent Living Canada hosted annual event for United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Main Document

Quote: "The Government of Canada invest billions of dollars annually to address the needs of people with disabilities and help them reach their full potential."

The Honorable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities today.

Independent Living Canada hosted its annual event for the United Nations' International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which will be celebrated tomorrow, December 3. Speaking at the event, Minister Finley highlighted the Government's commitment to equal participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of life, and noted that December 2 marks the 100-day countdown to the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

"The United Nations' International Day of Persons with Disabilities reminds us of the many contributions people with disabilities make to the well-being of our society," said Minister Finley. "Our government is committed to ensuring that all Canadians are able to reach their full potential, which is why we are working to bring about ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as soon as possible."

In March 2007, Canada signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In signing the Convention, Canada signaled its commitment to further reduce barriers to full participation by persons with disabilities.

The Government of Canada conducted extensive consultations with community partners and the general public leading up to the ratification process. The views expressed by the public and stakeholders play an important role in steps required to reach ratification of the Convention.

Minister Finley also released the 2009 Federal Disability Report. Entitled Advancing the Inclusion of People with Disabilities 2009, this report presents a portrait of Canadians with disabilities and provides invaluable information to help governments, associations, researchers and non-governmental organizations in designing and planning services that enable people with disabilities to participate fully in society.

Recognizing that many people with disabilities still face barriers, the Government has introduced a number of measures to benefit people with disabilities and their families.

A year ago this month, the Government of Canada launched the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), grant and bond. The RDSP helps individuals with disabilities and their families save for long-term security. To date, eligible Canadians with a disability have registered more than 18,000 RDSPs, far exceeding original expectations, and the Government has paid more than $60 million in grants and bonds.

This fall, the Government also implemented new financial assistance measures to help students and families better manage the cost of post-secondary education. These include new Canada Student Grants that do not need to be repaid, and a new Repayment Assistance Plan that offers flexibility in how and when students with permanent disabilities repay their loans.

BACKGROUNDER

December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1992 to promote and support the rights and issues of people with disabilities globally. This year's theme is "Empowerment of persons with disabilities and their communities around the world."

A federal disability report has been published every year since 2002. In 1999, the Government of Canada made a commitment to the Parliamentary Subcommittee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities to begin annual reporting on the Government's progress on disability issues. The first report, Advancing the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, was released December 3, 2002.

The 2009 report provides invaluable information to support all levels of government, associations, researchers and non-governmental organizations in designing and planning services to enable people with disabilities to participate fully in society. It explores data about the programs, living conditions and other factors that are key indicators of the living conditions of Canadians with disabilities.

The Government of Canada invest billions of dollars annually to address the needs of people with disabilities and help them reach their full potential. For example, through the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), and its grant and bond, families and individuals can save for the long-term financial security of a loved one with a disability. Any person under the age of 60 who is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit and is a resident of Canada can establish an RDSP. The Government supplements private contributions to RDSPs through matching grants and bonds. The Plan was made available to all Canadians in December 2008.

Canada's Economic Action Plan and other recent federal initiatives are also addressing the needs of people with disabilities and their families through a series of important measures, including:

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