CCD Chairperson's Update: January 2012

CCD Kicks-off a New Year

On 3 January 2012, the CCD office reopened after the conclusion of the holiday season and CCD’s Committees returned to the business of improving the level of access and inclusion in Canada. This edition of the Update, provides information on the planning being done by CCD’s Committees and meetings attended by staff and volunteers.

Educating Federal Employees About the CRPD

On 25-26 January 2012, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada held a conference for Government of Canada employees to bring them up to speed on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Vangelis Nikias, CCD’ CRPD Project Manager, participated on the Community Panel, along with Michael Bach, Executive Vice President, Canadian Association for Community Living, and Diane Richler, Chairperson, International Disability Alliance. This panel focused on community priorities, the prospects and challenges of implementing the Convention, suggestions for community engagement and how the Convention can provide a framework for future initiatives. Michael Bach and Laurie Beachell were the speakers for a panel, which was titled “How Disability Organizations Work Together.” They addressed coalition building, community engagement and developing effective consultation mechanisms.

Preparing for the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Vangelis Nikias participated in a meeting in Ottawa on 17 January 2012, which focused on international human rights issues. Human rights NGOs and Foreign Affairs officials met to discuss issues arising from the 18th session of the UN Human Rights Council and to provide input into the development of official Canadian priorities and positions at the upcoming 19th session of the Council, which will take place in Geneva in February/March 2012.

Expert Roundtable on Inclusive Education and Sustainable Employment for Persons with Disabilities in the Commonwealth

In January, Steve Estey, Chairperson of the CCD International Development Committee, participated in a meeting on inclusive education and sustainable employment, organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat. The meeting brought together experts from states, national protection mechanisms and nongovernmental organizations. The purpose of the meeting was to deliberate on the initiatives undertaken with respect to inclusive education and sustainable employment, identify gaps and challenges, as well as explore ways to better promote and protect the rights of people with disabilities in the Commonwealth.

Improving Access to the RDSP

Laurie Beachell participated in meetings organized by the Canadian Association for Community Living which addressed how to improve access to the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) for people who require support to exercise contractual capacity. Representatives of the banking industry also participated in these meetings.

Access to Technology Co-chairs Met to Plan future Activities

On 5 January 2012, John Rae and Gary Birch, Co-chairs of the CCD Access to Technology Committee, and Laurie Beachell, CCD National Co-ordinator met by conference call to plan the Committee’s workplan for the upcoming months. As a first priority, the Committee will be working on convincing Marketplace to do a segment on access to technology by people with disabilities.

Social Policy Committee Frames a Message on Employment

On 23 January 2012, The Social Policy Committee met by conference call and developed the message that CCD will present at a national consultation on employment organized by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. CCD Chairperson Tony Dolan will represent CCD at this consultation which will be held on 8 February 2012.

Researching International Conventions

This month, a law student from the University of Ottawa interned at the CCD office. Her assignment was to undertake research on UN Conventions, with a particular emphasis on the CRPD, and how they can be used to advance litigation in Canada.