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Ratification of United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

  • Published: 2009-06-25 (Revised/Updated 2009-07-07) : Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.
  • Synopsis: Canadians to provide their views on the ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Main Document

The Honorable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today invited Canadians to provide their views on the ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Government of Canada Launches Online Consultations on the Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities

The Honorable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today invited Canadians to provide their views on the ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

"The Convention promises to be an important tool for the protection and promotion of the human rights of people with disabilities worldwide," said Minister Finley. "This consultation process is an important opportunity for stakeholders and other Canadians to provide valuable feedback and recommendations on the potential impacts of the Convention for people with disabilities."

The Government of Canada is seeking the views of Canadians, particularly those in the disability community, in order to make an informed decision on the ratification of the Convention. These views could play an important role in the development of future measures.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada is conducting a fully accessible online consultation. It is part of a core group of federal departments working on the ratification process. Federal departments, along with the provincial and territorial governments, are reviewing existing laws and policies to determine if they are in compliance with the treaty provisions.

Canada was among the first countries to sign the Convention in March 2007. By signing the Convention, the Government of Canada demonstrated its commitment to advance the rights of people with disabilities and human rights in general.

Canada's Economic Action Plan, introduced in Budget 2009, and other recent federal initiatives are also addressing the needs of people with disabilities and their families through a series of important measures that include:

Providing $1 billion for renovations and energy retrofits of social housing, including renovations that support people with disabilities.

Investing $400 million over two years for the construction of new social housing for seniors, including seniors with disabilities.

Investing an additional $75 million over two years for the construction of new social housing units for people with disabilities.

Investing $20 million for each of two years to improve the accessibility of federally owned buildings.

Increasing the maximum amount of the Working Income Tax Benefit, including the supplement for people with disabilities.

Extending the Home Buyers' Plan and the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit to people with disabilities that are not first-time home buyers but are buying a more accessible or functional home.

Beginning in fall 2009, increasing access to post-secondary education for students with permanent disabilities, including a new Repayment Assistance Plan for Borrowers with a Permanent Disability.

Introducing the Registered Disability Savings Plan, which contributes to the financial security and well-being of people with severe disabilities.

Reference: The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol were adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 13, 2006. Canada was one of the first countries to sign the Convention on March 30, 2007. By signing the Convention, Canada agreed to act in a manner that would not defeat the object and purpose of the treaty.

When the Government of Canada signed the Convention, it decided to conduct a broad consultation with stakeholders before making a decision on ratification. The federal departments leading the work toward ratification are Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), the Department of Justice Canada, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Canadian Heritage and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

HRSDC officials were asked to lead online consultations with a broad range of stakeholders in order to contribute to making a well-informed decision on the ratification of the Convention.

The consultations with stakeholders will ensure that the broadest ranges of opinions are captured and that the fullest possible engagement is achieved. Since September 2007, 26 federal departments and agencies, as well as all the provinces and territories, have participated in the legal/policy review of domestic laws, policies, and programs to ensure that Canada is in compliance with the treaty.

Consultations with provincial and territorial governments on ratification of the Convention are being led jointly by the Department of Justice Canada and Canadian Heritage. The views of Aboriginal self-governing groups have also been sought prior to ratification, since some aspects of the Convention may impact on areas within their jurisdiction.

The consultation Web site will be open to receive feedback from Canadians until July 31, 2009.

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