A Voice of Our Own: Special Edition #2

Council of Canadians with Disabilities'
CCD Election Challenge

The Liberal Party of Canada

For too long there has been a lack of progress on disability issues.

The Liberals have been tinkering with our issues, while the opposition parties seem even less informed about and engaged in the day-to-day realities of persons with disabilities.

Social Development Canada Minister Ken Dryden has expressed an interest in working on a ten-year disability agenda However there has been no action to date.

CCD Assessment

The Liberal record is disappointing. In the 2004 Throne Speech, the Liberal Government committed to improve learning and employment opportunities for people with disabilities; however, there has been little progress on these fronts. The Liberals have been following through on the Technical Committee on Tax's recommendations in the report "Disability Tax Fairness". Other than changes in this one area [which is limited in its impact on persons with disabilities] there has been little progress. CCD is looking for positive action on issues which will make a real difference in people's lives: employment, income security and disability supports investments, barrier removal.

Sending out our critique of the political parties' record on disability issues.

The Status of People with Disabilities in Canada

  • Federally regulated transportation is becoming more inaccessible mainly due to voluntary codes of practice.
  • Fewer people with disabilities have jobs in the Federally regulated employment system.
  • Little action from the In Unison process begun in 1998.
  • In 1998, the Liberals made it harder for people with disabilities to qualify for the CPP Disability Benefit. Regressive actions such as this exacerbate poverty in the disability community.
  • Too many persons with disabilities live in poverty due to systemic barriers in all sectors and at all levels of government

Sub-committee on Status of Persons with Disabilitieswork in progress

Through the Subcommittee MPs have been working together on disability issues. The Members are:

  • Liberal Ken Boshcoff (Chair),
  • Conservative Carol Skelton (Vice Chair),
  • Liberal Ruby Dhalla,
  • NDP Peter Julian,
  • Bloc Quebecois Robert Vincent.

This Committee has focused on:

  • accessibility of federal buildings,
  • CPP Disability Benefits,
  • jobs in the Federal Public Service, and
  • the federally regulated transportation system.

It is clear from their report "Accessibility for All" (2005) that there is much work to be done and we need a federal government that is prepared to work on the issues identified by the Subcommittee.

Hats off to the Subcommittee for their hard work!

Getting Involved

  • Ask candidates about our priority issues when they come to the door!
  • Raise questions about our priority issues at public meetings.
  • Share CCD's election information with everyone.
  • Encourage other people to raise disability issues with candidates.
  • Raise disability issues when candidates participate on radio call-in shows.

CCD Priority Issues

CCD is seeking Parties' commitments on:

  • A National Disability Supports Fund
  • A Labor Market Strategy for Persons with Disabilities
  • Poverty Reduction
  • A Barrier Removal Process
  • Addressing issues for specific populations, including Aboriginal persons with disabilities and persons with disabilities living in institutions
  • Accessible Campaigns. (See Special Edition #1 for a full discussion.)

Conservative Party of Canada

The Conservatives have stated that they will "introduce a National Disability Act designed to promote reasonable access to

  • medical care,
  • medical equipment,
  • education,
  • employment,
  • transportation and housing for Canadians with Disabilities."

(Source: Conservative Party of Canada, Policy Declaration, 19 March 2005)

CCD Assessment

It seems the Conservatives have been influenced by NDP Peter Julian who developed a Private Member's National Disability Act. The disability community, after a thorough analysis rejected the "national disability act" approach because it ghettoizes disability, ignores jurisdictional issues, and sidesteps Charter and human rights guarantees to people with disabilities. We don't need a new act, we need the will to make existing tools work!

Disability activists say where's the beef on the Conservatives National Disability Act. They have not given us enough information on how this act would work in order to give us any confidence in it.

New Democratic Party of Canada

The NDP has made commitments to poverty reduction for persons with disabilities.

CCD Assessment

The NDP has been fighting for the implementation of the recommendations of the 1996 Federal Task Force on Disability Issues. The community endorsed those recommendations.

The NDP has had a strong disability rights orientation.

Investigate the Parties' Positions

The Parties' positions are available for further review at the following web sites:

Blog for disability rights

Council of Canadians with Disabilities

926-294 Portage Ave
Winnipeg, MB
R3C 0B9

Phone: 204-947-0303
Fax: 204-942-4625
E-mail: ccd@ccdonline.ca


CCD, a national advocacy organization of persons with disabilities, works to build a disability-positive environment in Canada. Founded in 1976, CCD brings together national, provincial and territorial organizations of persons with disabilities to work on issues of concern to men and women with disabilities in Canada. Participation in the electoral process has been a priority for CCD since its earliest days. The CCD National Council of representatives endorsed the 7 issue areas addressed in this publication.

Share our election plan with others

Our Challenge

There are many ways to educate both the public and candidates during the Federal Election. Some consumers will be running in the election. Others will be working on campaigns. There will also be consumers who will be raising disability rights issues during the election. All these activities are important. The challenge is for consumers to be as visible as possible during the election. This visibility draws attention to the citizenship of persons with disabilities and what we need to achieve full participation. In these pages, you will find a discussion of key issues for consumers to raise during this election and some suggested activities.

Ask Candidates

  • Do you support a national investment in a Disability Supports Fund?
  • How do we develop a labor market strategy, addressing disability?
  • What would you do to eliminate the poverty experienced by persons with disabilities?
  • Do you support the development of accessibility regulations, not voluntary codes, to improve access to the federal transportation system?
  • How would you go about making disability a priority in all Federal initiatives?
  • More specifically, how would you go about making disability a priority in all Federal initiatives on Aboriginal issues?
  • Are you prepared to support measures that would get people with disabilities out of institutions and living in the community?
  • How did you make your campaign accessible?