Chairperson's Update: February 2024

What I Want You to Know about CCD’s Work in February

Introduction - Collaboration is a key word that describes CCD’s approach to many of its activities. In this Update, I will share information about work undertaken by CCD which strongly illustrates how CCD collaborates with other organizations to advance our collective goal of disability justice. Two areas where we have been working collaboratively are: (1) our participation, along with approximately 47 other organizations, in the development of the community’s parallel report that will be shared with the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and (2) working with others to oppose expansion of Medical Aid in Dying (MAid). 

On February 23 and 24, 2024 in Ottawa, we participated in a meeting with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) to discuss how the CHRC could play a role in advancing the key issues identified by the disability community in the parallel report.  Indigenous Disability Canada (IDC) / B.C. Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) serve as the secretariat supporting the work on the parallel report, with Kerri Joffe and her team at the ARCH Disability Legal Centre providing technical expertise to support the development of the report.

In 2019, the CHRC became Canada’s National Monitoring Mechanism for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). That means the CHRC is responsible for tracking how Canada is putting the CRPD into action. Charlotte-Anne Malischewski, Interim Chief CHRC Commissioner, attended part of the meeting.  Also in attendance from the Commission were: Tabatha Tranquilla, Director of Policy, Research and International Relations, Carleen McGuinty, Manager, International Surveillance and Cooperation Unit, Melanie Benard, Senior Policy Advisor, Emma Uzoma, Policy Analyst (in-person), Kimberly Dhaliwal, Senior Policy Advisor, Dominica Prasad, Stakeholder Coordinator, Nazakeit Bulak, Student, Jasmine Ashley-Dy, Policy Analyst, Zoë Merkley, Policy Analyst.

The meeting was organized by the team at Indigenous Disability Canada (IDC) / B.C. Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS). Tammy C. Yates-Rajaduray facilitated the meeting. Tammy is the Executive Director of Realize. Realize hosts the Secretariats of the National Coordinating Committee on HIV and Aging, the National Community Advisory Group on Optimal Health and Well-being in HIV, the National Guiding Circle on HIV and Disability, as well as the National Episodic Disabilities Forum.

Inclusion Canada invited CCD to speak at a press conference, held at the Parliamentary Press Gallery, when Inclusion Canada, ARCH Disability Law Centre, the DisAbled Women’s Network Canada, and CCD discussed the harms created by MAiD.

Our Work on the Parallel Report – Carly Fox, Chairperson of CCD International Portfolio, has taken the lead for CCD on our work on the Parallel Report.  Carly describes her work as follows,

At the national level, I represented CCD as Canadian civil society organizations across Canada banded together to work on our civil society report to accompany Canada's second and third report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For this parallel report, I had the opportunity to chair the working group for Article 8 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - awareness-raising. After reviewing Canada's responses, CRPD Committee general comments, and the international landscape, the working group drafted a one-page report on the state of awareness-raising measures in Canada under a strict word count. Following the initial drafting, I provided feedback to other working groups, emphasizing the importance of including, invisibly disabled, autistic persons, and disabled youth in their reports. From there, we incorporated feedback from other grounds and sent it back to the Parallel Report committee to collate the final report. Now, we prepare to discuss the final report and meet with the Canadian Human Rights Commission before a delegation heads off to Geneva for Canada's review before the CRPD Committee.

In addition to Carly’s work, Heather Walkus and Janet Hunt coordinated the work on Article 20 (Personal Mobility). April D’Aubin assisted in the development of Article 29 (Participation in Political and Public Life)

During the meetings on February 23 and 24, I emphasized the importance of paying attention to UN CRPD Committee’s General Comment 7, when doing our disability justice work. General comment No. 7 (2018) is on the participation of persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organizations, in the implementation and monitoring of the Convention. The Comment emphasizes the importance of the voice of people with disabilities, as expressed through our organizations. For example, the Comment states,

48. The views of persons with disabilities, through their representative organizations, should be given due weight. States parties should guarantee that they are not only heard as a mere formality or as a tokenistic approach to consultation. States parties should take into account the results of such consultations and reflect them in the decisions adopted, by duly informing participants of the outcome of the process.

You can use the following link to go to the Comment:  This Comment is very supportive of our work, so it is helpful to be familiar with it. For example, it calls for the funding of the organizations of people with disabilities. It states,

62. States parties should ensure that organizations of persons with disabilities have access to national funds to support their activities to avoid situations in which they have to rely only on external sources, which would limit their ability to establish viable organizational structures. Organizations of persons with disabilities that have support from public and private financial resources, supplemented by membership fees, are better able to secure the participation of persons with disabilities in all forms of political and administrative decision-making, provide them with support and create and run individual and different group-oriented social activities.

Press Conference on Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) – On February, 23 2024 on Parliament Hill at the Press Gallery, Inclusion Canada, DAWN Canada, ARCH Disability Law Centre and CCD shared our concerns about how MAiD harms members of the disability community. The key messages were as follows:

  • Swift passage of Bill C-62, the federal government's proposed legislation that would delay the planned expansion of medical assistance in dying (MAID) to those suffering solely from a mental illness, with an amendment to repeal the expansion altogether.
  • Tabling of further legislation that would bring MAID into alignment with disability rights.

I shared the accessible stage with: Kurt Goddard (Inclusion Canada), Krista Carr (Inclusion Canada), Kerri Joffe (ARCH), and Bonnie Brayton (DAWN Canada). Also in attendance were:  Jeff Ferguson (Inclusion Canada), Neil Belanger (Indigenous Disability Canada (IDC) / B.C. Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS)), Ellen Cohen (National Network for Mental Health), April D’Aubin (CCD).

Thanks go out to the Inclusion Canada team for organizing the press conference. You can use the following link for viewing the press conference: C-62: Rights Organizations Urge Changes to MAID Bill – February 23, 2024 | Headline Politics |

On the day of the press conference, Charlotte-Anne Malischewski, Interim Chief CHRC Commissioner, issued a statement concerning MAiD. Ms. Malischewski amplified some of the messages that she has been hearing from the community. For example, she stated,

We have heard from advocates that consultation with Indigenous peoples — First Nations, Inuit, and Métis — has been insufficient to date. We have heard that the views of some experts and those with lived experience who have expressed concern with the expansion of MAiD have been marginalized. We must ensure that First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and those that are most vulnerable are listened to and their experiences are valued.

You can access the CHRC’s statement via the following link: Ending one's life must be a true and informed choice (

Conclusion – As February is Black History month, facilitator Tammy Yates-Rajaduray shared some information relating to the month’s theme (“Black Excellence: A Heritage to Celebrate; a Future to Build”) during the meetings on February 23 and 24. Tammy reminded us of the African proverb which states, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far; go together.” As this Update illustrates, we at CCD are working collaboratively with many others in the disability community; we are going together toward disability justice.