CCD Chairperson's Update: January 2011

A New Year: Anticipating the Challenges Ahead

During the past four weeks, there have been strong indications that the following issues will be taking much of our attention during the next quarter: the new Federal Budget, a possible Federal Election, labour market policy, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. CCD’s National Council of Representatives and Committees have been preparing to meet these challenges.

National Council and Committees

The Council met in Ottawa on 28-29 January 2011. The Council focused on access to technology, labour market issues, election preparedness to name only a few of the issues discussed by Council members. Prior to the Council meeting, CCD Chairperson Tony Dolan and Past Chairperson Marie White, along with Laurie Beachell, National Coordinator, met with the Hon. Diane Finley’s Social Policy Director and Michael Ignatieff’s Social Policy Director.

Late in 2010, Roy Muise resigned his position on the CCD Council. We all wish Roy well in his new endeavours. Roy’s resignation left a vacancy on the CCD Executive Committee. An election was held at the Council meeting and CCD’s new First Vice Chair is John Rae. Congratulations John!

The CCD International Development Committee has been meeting by conference call to discuss Canada’s implementation of the CRPD. Committee Chairperson Steve Estey has organized meetings in February with members from the social caucuses of the NDP and Liberal Party to discuss implementation of the CRPD.

Federal Budget

In preparation for the next Federal Budget, CCD is reminding all Members of Parliament that disability issues are not partisan issues. The nature of disability is such that almost everyone will be touched by disability during their lifetime. CCD is encouraging MPs to use the Budget to alleviate poverty, improve employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, improve access to transportation and technology for persons with disabilities and increase support to the Social Developments Partnerships Program.

Federal Election

Various indicators suggest that a Federal Election may be called in the next few months. This month, CCD wrote to all MPs and the Federal political parties to inform them of their obligation to run accessible campaigns. Like other Canadians, people with disabilities have a right to the information which will enable informed decision making on election day. CCD is also preparing material which will assist people with disabilities put disability issues in front of candidates during a federal election campaign.

Labour Market Policy

Along with other disability organizations, on 26 January 2011, CCD, represented by Jim Derksen, met with the Hon. Diane Finley to discuss labour market policy. CCD’s recommendations on labour market policy are as follows:

  • Labour Market Agreements negotiated with the provinces must include specific, designated allocations and targets for persons with disabilities.
  • Funding for the Opportunities Fund (OF), a labour market strategy for persons with disabilities, and the Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities (LMAPD) should be doubled. OF has remained at $30 million for over 15 years and the LMAPD has not been increased in a decade.
  • The Government of Canada should become a “model employer” and increase the labour market participation of persons with disabilities in the federal civil service by 1% over the next two years.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Jim Derksen, Laurie Beachell and April D’Aubin met with representatives of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to discuss the development of policies by the Museum that will ensure that access is a central consideration when contractors are developing exhibits for the new Museum.