CCD Chairperson's Update--November 2010

“A Voice of Our Own”

CCD’s motto is “A Voice of Our Own”, meaning that CCD conveys the message of Canadians with disabilities to Canada’s policy makers. This month, CCD organized and participated in many different events so that the voice of people with disabilities would be heard on a wide variety of issues.


On 1 November 2010, CCD and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) coordinated a disability community consultation on HRSDC’s new data strategy on disability. At this meeting, HRSDC informed the disability community about how it will be collecting data on disability issues in the future and heard the community’s expectations regarding a data base on disability.


On 1-2 November 2010, CCD, CACL and Canada Without Poverty held an End Exclusion event in Ottawa at the Delta Hotel, where 120 people gathered to express their views on poverty eradication for people with disabilities. Participants had the opportunity to hear from Cindy Blackstock and Michael Mendelson. Cindy focused on the poverty experienced by Aboriginal people with disabilities and Michael Mendelson launched his paper which set out the parameters of a basic income program for people with disabilities. On the first evening, the Hon. Diane Finley brought greetings from the Government of Canada.

Committee Hearings

On 18 November 2010, Jim Derksen appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, when it was considering Bill S-216. The intent of Bill S-216 was to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to protect employees on long-term disability by granting them preferred status during bankruptcy proceedings. Later on in the month, the Committee defeated the Bill 6 to 5. Following that vote, CCD wrote to all Senators expressing our dismay with their actions.

Town Hall Meeting

CCD assisted Elections Canada organize a Town Hall meeting, where the Assistive Voting Device (AVD) was available for testing by members of the disability community. This occurred prior to the 29 November 2010 By-election, which took place in the Winnipeg North Riding, where the AVD was tested.

Elections Canada continues to consult with CCD as it implements the Hughes decision.


Laurie Beachell participated in a CPP-D Roundtable meeting on 25 November 2010.


This month, CCD staff and volunteers met with a number of different Federal officials.

Minister of Defence

On 2 November 2010, CCD Chairperson Tony Dolan, International Committee Chairperson, Steve Estey, and new CCD staff person Vangelis Nikias met with the Hon. Peter MacKay to discuss Canadian implementation of the CRPD.

President of CIDA

On 3 November 2010, Steve Estey, Vangelis Nikias, and Laurie Beachell met with Margaret Biggs, the President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). She directed the policy section of CIDA to explore with CCD mechanisms for raising the profile of disability in CIDA.

CIDA Director of Policy

On 24 November 2010, Steve Estey, Vangelis Nikias and Laurie Beachell held a follow-up meeting with CIDA’s Director of Policy to provide concrete suggestions on how CIDA can improve its approach to disability issues. CCD’s long term objective is a CIDA policy on disability and development.


CCD was also on the conference circuit this month.

NEADS Conference

Laurie Beachell spoke about the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at the NEADS conference that was held in Winnipeg.

IL Canada AGM and UN Day Event

Steve Estey made a presentation about the CRPD at IL Canada's annual event.

Research Team Meeting

Following End Exclusion on 3 November 2010, the researchers involved in the CURA project, Disabling Poverty/Enabling Citizenship, met to plan the project's next two years.

Conference Call

CCD's Social Policy Committee met by conference call to discuss the Basic Income Proposal, a labor market strategy focusing on persons with disabilities, and election preparedness.


This month, CCD welcomed a new staff member--Vangelis Nikias. With the support of the Federal Government's Interchange Program, CCD was able to undertake a new project which will be focusing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Vangelis will work for CCD for the next three years. He remains a federal civil servant, paid by the Government of Canada but working for CCD.

Vangelis is a long time CCD supporter and he is a former Chairperson of CCD's Human Rights Committee. He has a great deal of expertise related to the area of human rights, having been a member of the Canadian delegation which participated in the drafting of the CRPD.