Liberal Platform Puts Disability Issues on the Agenda, CCD Challenges Others To Do The Same

4 April 2011--The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), a national disability organization working for an inclusive and accessible Canada, welcomed the Liberal Platform’s twin-track approach to disability issues, featuring (1) specific disability initiatives and (2) an attentiveness to the concerns of Canadians with disabilities reflected in major initiatives for all Canadians. “The Liberal promised “action plan” for implementing, monitoring and reporting on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which Canada ratified in 2010, is a significant overture to Canada’s disability community” stated Tony Dolan, Chairperson of CCD.

The Liberals promised to fund the Court Challenges Program (CCP), which is good news for Canada’s equality seeking community. CCD obtained CCP funding to successfully challenge, in the courts, VIA Rail’s purchase of inaccessible passenger cars. “CCD has been calling for re-instatement of the Court Challenges Program and is pleased to see the Liberal Party commitment,” stated Laurie Beachell, CCD National Coordinator.

In the Affordable Housing Framework, Liberals promised to address the housing needs of persons with disabilities. “Augmenting inclusive policies and programs with specific measures identified by the disability community is the best way to remove the barriers that prevent Canadians with disabilities from fully enjoying their human rights,” said Tony Dolan National Chairperson of CCD.

The Platform acknowledged that too many people with disabilities live in poverty, however, it did not elaborate on specifics. “Canadians with disabilities have called for a refundable disability tax credit as a first step in addressing disability poverty but this was not specifically addressed in the Platform,” stated Marie White, Chairperson of CCD’s Social Policy Committee.

Digital technologies are a priority for the Liberals but their Platform did not address how they would ensure that technology develops in a way that ensures accessibility for persons with disabilities. They did commit to direct Elections Canada to develop “online voting options” which could remove barriers for those with vision impairments. The Platform’s section on Transportation did not make accessibility for persons with disabilities a priority.

Canadians with disabilities see themselves reflected within the Liberal Party Platform. CCD reminds all Federal Parties, that Canadians with disabilities are students, moms and dads, caregivers, workers, immigrants, environmentalists etc... To deliver equality of result all Federal policies, programs and services must respond to the needs of people with disabilities. CCD eagerly awaits the platforms from the Conservatives, the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party. CCD will apply a disability lens to the Platforms of all the major Federal Parties.

CCD encourages all Canadians to become informed about the issues being debated during this election and to vote on Election Day.


For More Information Contact:

Tony Dolan, National Chairperson – 902-569-2817
Marie White, Chairperson of CCD’s Social Policy Committee – 709-739-8233
Laurie Beachell, CCD National Coordinator - 204-947-0303