People with an intellectual disability and their families are asking all parties to include a National Disability Action Plan in their 2019 election platforms to promote health and well-being, advance employment and opportunities for community inclusion, fund accessible housing, and build on the Accessible Canada Act to make Canada a more inclusive country for persons with disabilities.
Developed in collaboration with CACL’s national federation, our call for a National Disability Action Plan includes a far-reaching disability and inclusion policy lens which places persons with disabilities and their families at the core of decision making, requiring government officials to consider the impact that all policy decisions (not just disability-specific policies) will have on persons with disabilities.
With Canada’s ratification in 2010 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), all levels of government in Canada are obligated to respect, protect, and promote the rights of persons with disabilities, and to address long-standing barriers to full participation, inclusion, and citizenship. A National Disability Action Plan must be rooted in Canada’s obligations under the CRPD.
In pursuing a National Disability Action Plan, Canada must remember that the population of persons with disabilities is not homogeneous. Needs and experiences differ between and within the disability community; all must be engaged. In designing a National Disability Action Plan, parties should respectfully and meaningfully include marginalized populations with disabilities who are under-served and face intersectional discrimination due to gender and sexuality (LGBTQ2S+), incarceration, Indigeneity, mental illness, migrant status, poverty, and/or race. As a best practice, CACL encourages all federal parties to work alongside grassroots communities and organizations, trusting their expertise and knowledge.
A National Disability Action Plan, developed in consultation with persons with disabilities, their families, and their respective organizations, is critically needed to break down barriers to inclusion for people with disabilities in Canada. This election, we call on all federal party candidates to include people with disabilities in their platform commitments.
For information about voting accommodations for inclusion and accessibility, visit the Elections Canada website.