New Democratic Party Platform--Giving Your Family A Break Practical First Steps

CCD Election Challenge 2011

10 April 2011

NDP Inclusive of People with Disabilities

On 10 April 2011, the New Democratic Party of Canada webcast the release of their Platform to Canadians. After the launch of the Liberal Platform, CCD challenged all parties to include people with disabilities in their platforms. The NDP addressed disability issues in their 2011 Platform and Colin, a wheelchair user at the Platform launch was selected to pose a question to Jack Layton. Colin asked Mr. Layton how the NDP would address the housing crisis. Colin, along with other Canadians, learned that the NDP promise to “… enact the NDP’s legislation to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians; … restore funding for the homeowners’ Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP), and the Affordable Housing Initiative to increase the supply of affordable housing, in partnership with the provinces and territories; [and] … will provide significant new funding for affordable and social housing (Page 5 &6)”.

NDP Commitments to Canadians with Disabilities

 Under the heading Strengthening Pensions and Retirement Security, the NDP promise that they“…will amend federal bankruptcy legislation to move pensioners and long-term disability recipients to the front of the line of creditors when their employers enter court protection or declare bankruptcy; (Page 5)“

Under the heading Improving Access to Child Care and Post-Secondary Education the NPD promise, ”We will increase the funding in the Canada Student Grants Program by $200 million a year, targeting accessibility for Aboriginal, disabled and low-income students, in particular (page5)”.

Under the heading An Action Plan for the Rights of the Disabled the NDP promises that they “will implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by: Supporting the development of a National Action Plan to Implement the CRPD, including mechanisms for collaboration, monitoring and reporting progress, and strategies for achieving such priorities of the disability community as disability supports, poverty alleviation, labour market participation, and access and inclusion; ∙∙ Holding Parliamentary hearings on the CRPD to hear from the disability community and other key witnesses and creating a high-level panel with representation from national disability organizations to map the way forward; Ending Canada’s reservation on Article 12 (equal recognition before the law) (Page 17)”

The NPD has been listening to the disability community. In February, CCD and CACL, joined by over a hundred other disability organizations, shared with the Government of Canada and the other political parties the community’s vision for how the CRPD should be implemented. In this commitment, the NDP have reflected the key recommendations made by Canada’s disability community. A Party which listens to people with disabilities and their representative organizations shows real promise with respect to their potential for creating policy reform that will truly be effective in addressing disability issues. By working collaboratively with the representative organizations of people with disabilities, decision makers have access to the expertise they need to devise meaningful solutions to the barriers preventing the full and equal participation of people with disabilities.

In their commitment on the CRPD, the NDP also committed to addressing the priorities of the National Action Plan—disability-related supports, labour market participation and access and inclusion.

The Digital Agenda

The NDP Platform addresses information and communication technology. It promises to, “rescind the 2006 Conservative industry-oriented directive to the CRTC and direct the regulator to stand up for the public interest, not just the major telecommunications companies; (Page 18)” Such a reform could have a positive affect for Canadians with disabilities. CCD, and other organization in the disability community, have been urging the CRTC to use a human rights model and regulate telecommunications companies so that they provide access to people with disabilities. For example, not all telecommunications companies include accessible cell phones in their product line.

The Jobs Agenda

A section of the NDP Platform is devoted to job creation. In this section of the Platform, the NDP promises to “develop a stable, predictable Canadian infrastructure plan (Page 9).” CCD was disappointed that the NDP did not promise to insure that all infrastructure initiatives would be bound by the principles of universal design, which would prevent the creation of new barriers to the participation of people with disabilities. Universal design ensures usability by the people with the widest possible range of abilities. A commitment to universal design is a commitment to an inclusive and accessible Canada.

The Social Agenda

The NDP Platform presented a strong social agenda. A bird’s eye look at the NDP social program is as follows:


The NDP is promising a national poverty strategy and legislation with goals and targets for poverty.


There will be a new designated federal home care transfer to guarantee a basic level of home care services to all Canadians wherever they live.


The NDP promises to increases the CPP/QPP benefit. Their goal is to double benefits

Children and Families

The NDP promises to increase the per child support to families. Their goal is up to $700 per child over the next four years.


The NDP have made commitments to Canadian women. They plan to address pay equity; expand access to shelter and transition houses to support women fleeing violence; address violence against Aboriginal women; improve EI qualification criteria so those receiving parental leave benefits see no change in eligibility.

First Nations, Metis, Inuit

The NDP promise to build a new relationship with indigenous people


The NDP made a commitment to protect the single-payer system. They also promised to increase the number of doctors and nurses practicing in Canada and to make prescription medication more affordable.

Child Care

The NDP promised a Canada wide child care and early learning program, enshrined in law, to create 25,000 spaces per year for four years; community infrastructure improvements to support growth of spaces; creation of “one-stop shop” integrated, community-based, child-centered early learning and education centres.


The NDP promised to return the qualifying period to a minimum of 360 hours. This is a recommendation that CCD has made in the past.

CCD was disappointed that the NDP Platform did not include a commitment to extend Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits to 52 weeks of coverage. A longer Sickness Benefit would be a step toward reducing disability poverty.


The NDP Platform states that an NDP Government would “…move towards a fair, efficient, transparent and accountable immigration system and end the restrictive immigration measures based on secretive, arbitrary decisions by cabinet ministers (page 17);” The section on immigration disappointed CCD because there was no commitment to eliminate the discrimination against immigrants with disabilities, which exists in the Canadian immigration system. CCD has written to all MPs informing them about this discrimination.


The NDP promised a new Caregiver benefit to assist low and middle income families caring for family members in need of care.

Civil Society

The NDP promised to recognize and respect the role of civil society organizations, including their right to advocate. The NDP also promised to establish a fair, depoliticized and transparent process for funding community organizations.

CCD’s Approach

CCD believes that all Canadians should become informed about the issues being debated during the days leading up to Election Day. Read the Parities’ platforms for yourself and on Election Day vote for the Party that you believe will create the policy solutions that will create the kind of Canada you want for yourself, your family and your friends.