CCD Chairperson's Update: February 2010

Everyday A New Issue

This month at CCD we have seen it all, ranging from a positive decision by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in the Hughes case where CCD had Interested Party status to faxed hate mail as a result of our media work on the Barlagne case. These two very disparate responses to CCD's initiatives, demonstrate the critical importance of the work that our organizations undertake in support of an inclusive and accessible Canada.

While the disability rights movement has accomplished a great deal in the last thirty-five years, we cannot become complacent, because there remain some within our society who are opposed to human rights and equality. Those of us who are committed to social justice must ensure that the flaws in the arguments of those who would like to turn back the clock for rights-holders are well known.

In this Update, I share with you a chronology of the issues that CCD addressed this month.

1 February 2010—The Liberal Party of Canada included Marie White, CCD Chairperson, as a speaker at their Poverty and Homelessness Roundtable, hosted by Michael Ignatieff, Ken Dryden, Mike Savage, Ruby Dhalla, Gerard Kennedy and Senator Art Eggleton. The other speakers were: Michael Shapcott, Director of Community Engagement of the Wellesley Institute; Dr. John Trainor, Director of Community Support and Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; Ken Battle, President, Caledon Institute of Social Policy; Geraldine King, Director on the Board of Canada Without Poverty. I focused on CCD's priority issues.

3 February 2010—The CCD Human Rights Committee met in Ottawa at the offices of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) and planned the Committee's future agenda.

4 February 2010—The CCD Human Rights Committee met with the Chief Commissioner Jennifer Lynch, Commissioner Sandi Bell, Secretary-General Karen Mosher and others to discuss measures on systemic discrimination that could be undertaken by the CHRC. CCD recommended that the CHRC focus on systemic discrimination experienced by Aboriginal people with disabilities and federally sentenced prisoners with disabilities.

5 February 2010—Laurie Beachell met with Winnipeg MP Anita Neville to update her on CCD's current issues.

8 February 2010—Laurie Beachell, along with the Neil Squire Society's Gary Birch and Harry Lew, participated in a conference call meeting hosted by Bill Abbott of Bell Canada to discuss Bell Canada's ongoing work on telecommunications access. CCD and the Neil Squire Society are seeking to collaborate on access and technology issues.

10 February 2010—The CCD Transportation Committee participated in a conference call meeting with officials from the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) and the Transport Development Centre (TDC). The Committee apprised the CTA and TDC about the CCD Council's concerns regarding body scanners and security measures.

11-12 February 2010—Laurie Beachell participated in the concluding meetings of the Content Advisory Committee for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The Museum completed its public engagement process. The final report is now being written.

12 February 2010—CCD circulated a Press Release celebrating the positive decision in the Hughes case. The Tribunal ordered Canada-wide improvements in how Elections Canada ensures that voters with disabilities will not experience barriers at the polling station on voting day.

15 February 2010—This was the Louis Riel Day Holiday in Manitoba so CCD office staff were off recharging their batteries or engaged in other non-CCD activities.

18 February 2010—Laurie Beachell met by conference call with members of the Rick Hansen Foundation to discuss the possibility of collaborative work on Haiti reconstruction. Discussions continue.

The CCD Executive Committee met and planned the June Annual General Meeting.

19 February 2010—CCD alerted HRSDC and the disability community to its concern that the Government of Canada has not yet announced that it will be funding PALS 2011.

20 February 2010—Terry Green of CWDO alerted CCD to barriers in television and web site video coverage of the Olympics. Laurie Beachell has raised the concerns with VANOC, CTV and the CRTC. Work on this issue will continue.

22 February 2010—More discussions with Bill Abbott and Bell Canada.

23 February 2010—VoicePrint interviewed Laurie Beachell about CCD's Call to Action initiative.

24 February 2010—CCD circulated a Press Release criticizing Immigration Canada's efforts to remove from Canada the Barlagne family because they have a child with a disability. I wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Globe and Mail about the case and it was published the next day. CCD also sent a letter to the Hon. Jason Kenney urging him on humanitarian grounds to allow the family to remain in Canada. This day, the team leaders of the CURA project met by conference call to lay the ground work for the mid-term report which will be submitted to the SSHRC in June.

25 February 2010—Jim Derksen participated in a conference call meeting with Library and Archives Canada. The meeting focused on a proposal for a new organization that would deliver alternate media library services.

26 February 2010—Yvonne Peters, Jim Derksen, Clare Simpson, and Laurie Beachell met with Stuart Murray the CEO of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to deliver CCD's message: the disability community expects an inclusive and accessible museum and we want to work with the Museum on these objectives.