Chairperson's Update July-August 2023

Barriers don’t take time off for the summer.  During July and August, the CCD team addressed a number of issues impacting the disability community.  In this Update, we share information about some key activities.

Welcoming Hon. Kamal Khera, MP – We now have a Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, the Hon. Kamal Khera, the former Seniors Minister. We welcomed Minister Khera and invited her to join us at one of our Council Meetings. We look forward to working with Minister Khera on the many critical issues facing our community.

Minister Qualtrough has moved to Sport. We congratulated Minister Qualtrough on her new appointment and recognized her historic legacy, noting the significance of the Accessible Canada Act and the Canada Disability Benefit. We are committed to continuing our work with Minister Qualtrough as she is on the Treasury Board Committee working through the actualizing of the Canada Disability Benefit.

Transportation – Over the summer, Accessible Standards Canada (ASC) conducted a public review of CAN-ASC-2.1 Outdoor spaces.  (By clicking on the following link you can access the draft standard Standard on outdoor spaces — Public Review Draft (  We submitted 18 comment forms to ASC outlining shortcomings in the draft standard. A letter was also sent to Philip Rizcallah, ASC’s Chief Executive Officer, where we discussed limitations in the process of the public review.  We shared our viewpoint that, “The process of building an Accessible Canada to be inclusive of the intersectional, cross disability community and persons who are Deaf, cannot be accomplished by embedding an outdated charity model process to reach that goal. We must support a person’s independence and right to their own agency by using systems that do not demean and discriminate but rather educate, elevate, and include those most impacted.”

At the end of July, the research team, led by CCD, completed its work for Accessible Standards Canada on a gap analysis of the Travel Journey to inform an Accessible Travel Journey standard.

In August, CCD submitted an expression of intent to Accessible Standards Canada to undertake a 3 year research project on transportation.

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) is beginning to look at developing regulations for small carriers and airports for accessibility. These small carriers and airports were left out of the Accessible Transportation for People with Disabilities Standards (ATPDR) that came into force in June 2020. CTA invited some people with disabilities to join them in travelling to destinations that are serviced by small carriers. Heather Walkus (CCD), together with France Pégeot Chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency  and her staff, visited and met with local representatives in Whitehorse and Dawson City, Yukon. Janet Hunt (Coalition of Guide and Service Dog Users), and Jason Nashtootaway (Canadian Association of the Deaf) went to Northern Quebec with Chair France Pégeot and CTA representatives. CCD has done an interview regarding their travels on small carriers. It will be published on our website.

Economic Inclusion – Michael Prince, Co-Chair of the CCD Social Policy Working Group, and Heather Walkus, CCD Chair,  published an Op. Ed. in The Future Economy. It was titled “Increasing Economic Integration for Canadians with Disabilities”.  To read the article please click on the following link: Increasing Economic Integration for Canadians With Disabilities (

Canada Disability Benefit (CDB) – Like others in the disability community, we continue to call on the Government of Canada to keep their commitment to co-create with Disability Country and fast-track the regulations for the CDB so people begin to receive the CDB in short order.  We participated in a town hall meeting about regulations for the CDB on August 23, 2023.

Dental Care Task Force – Along with Jonathan Lai, Executive Director of Autism Alliance Canada, we met with representative from the Task Force to discuss barriers to dental care experienced by Canadians with disabilities. We have been meeting with several groups in forming a working group that is inclusive of intersectional cross disability and Deaf to advise and direct government. More information to come.

Social Development Partnership Program - Disability – We met with Michael Horne, Senior Policy Analyst Office for Disability Issues, and Sarah Larocque, Program Manager, to discuss current issues and concerns of the disability community. We went over the completion of our transition project.

Pan Canadian Disability Coalition – We have continued to participate on the Steering Committee of the Collective Impact Project, (20 months of weekly meetings) which is in the process of finalizing its work. The intent of the Project was to find methods and processes (and a new name) to work on the enormous amount of issues facing Disability Country with the many groups and organizations now involved in the disability landscape. There are reports from the project which has gone from a consultant based approach, to many community organizations doing the work. CCD was involved with a working group on Principles, Values and we also facilitated the development of four videos with community partners.  The reports and the videos will be released by mid-September. 

Federal Provincial Government Meeting - CCD was invited to attend the Federal/Provincial Government closed meeting with Human Rights Commissions and selected civil society groups across Canada in June in Halifax. The last meeting was held in 2018 with Civil Society getting commitments from the Federal Government in many areas. In a pre-conference meeting with civil society organizations and the organizers in May 2023, it was made clear that not one of those commitment had been actioned.  The meeting was held at the same time as the Yearly UN CRPD meetings in New York and was heavily controlled in who was allowed to speak and who they ignored. There were several provinces that did not attend. Further we have since found out there is a new procedure to file Canadian Human Rights Complaints, (not provincial) that go through Service Canada now. The CTA and CRTC complaints are exempted as they have specific legislation that gives them power to adjudicate those complaints and have separate complaints procedures.

That is a short recap on some of the activities CCD has been involved in these past two months.

Thank you Heather