We All Are People With Disabilities: You Are Us

Press Release
December 3, 2012, International Day of Persons with Disabilities
For Immediate Release

We are women and men, boys and girls, moms and dads, children and seniors, workers and the unemployed, students and teachers, leaders in our communities and recipients of services.  We are long time citizens and new Canadians, we are members of visible minority communities and Aboriginal and First Nations Peoples and we are people with disabilities.  Disability is an issue of concern for all Canadians.  At some point in our lives we all will use services built and designed to make Canada more accessible and inclusive.

Canadians with disabilities, their families and their organizations have worked collaboratively with the Government of Canada for over 35 years to make Canada more accessible and inclusive.  Our collective work has improved the status of Canadians with disabilities and created greater access for persons with disabilities and their families.  Persons with disabilities, and the organizations that represent us, have contributed to the prosperity, social and economic development of Canada.  We too contribute to our communities and our country.  Because of our collaborative efforts, Canadians with disabilities have access to education and jobs that improve their ability to participate fully in Canadian life and the services/supports they require to live good, healthy lives.

“The struggle to create a more accessible and inclusive Canada has not been easy, nor have all barriers been removed.  The catalyst, for the positive results, has been the commitment and the good work of people with disabilities, our families and our organizations.  Our collective action over the last 35 years has transformed Canadian society” said Tony Dolan, National Chairperson of CCD.

“Our work is not done.  Sadly, many Canadians with disabilities continue to live in poverty and face barriers every day.  Many are unemployed and are challenged to access education and jobs.  New initiatives are essential to ensure that persons with disabilities are gainfully employed and have the supports necessary to participate in all aspects of our society including the labour market,” said Marie Ryan, Past Chair of CCD.

“The catalyst for finding ways of removing barriers and ensuring the full citizenship of Canadians with disabilities has come from the hard work of thousands of Canadians with disabilities, their families and their organizations” said Laurie Beachell, National Coordinator of CCD.  “The voice of people with disabilities and their organizations must continue to be supported and engaged in the ongoing work of making Canada more accessible and inclusive,” said Beachell.

“If governments are to deliver on their objectives for social, economic and labour force inclusion of Canadians with disabilities, it is essential that the infrastructure of national disability organizations, with their affiliates and partners in provinces, territories and local communities across Canada, is in place to gather and share knowledge.  We are the information highway that makes possible an understanding of disability issues, identifies innovative solutions and helps to scale up successful interventions,” said Dolan.

“December 3rd, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, is a day to celebrate and highlight our achievements. Much has been achieved but much remains to be done.  This year we ask all Canadians to reflect on the fact that disability is only an accident or a diagnosis away and that we all must work for and support efforts to make Canada more inclusive and accessible,” said Dolan.

For More Information Contact:

Tony Dolan, CCD National Chairperson (902) 626-1752

Marie Ryan, Past Chair of CCD (709) 775-0701 (cell)

Pat Danforth, Vice Chairperson of CCD (250) 383-4443

Laurie Beachell, CCD National Coordinator (204) 947-0303 (wk)  (204) 981-6179 (cell)

Richard Lavigne, Directeur général CCD’s Quebec Member COPHAN  (514) 284-0155 ext. 24 (French Media)