From September 2-6, 2019, CACL Executive Vice-President Krista Carr and Director of Policy and Program Operations Tara Levandier were at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva to present at the 22nd Session of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as part of the Canadian civil society delegation.

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee) is a body of independent experts which monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the States Parties (countries who have signed or ratified the Convention). All States Parties must submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights of persons with disabilities are being implemented in their country. The Committee examines each report, holds an interactive dialogue with the country delegation in a public session, and makes recommendations on the steps which should be taken to improve CRPD implementation. 

During this session and in preparation for Canada’s second review, the CRPD Committee initiated the review cycle under the simplified reporting procedure by adopting the list of issues prior to reporting for Canada. A presentation was made by Canadian civil society to the CRPD Committee and the floor was then opened for questions from the Committee to members of the delegation. Canadian civil society, including persons with lived experience, their families, and their respective organizations, have been working since May 2019 to prepare a list of issues for the CRPD Committee, using the Committee’s Concluding Observations from Canada’s first report and new information on CRPD implementation in Canada. CACL led on numerous Articles within the civil society LOIPR report, including Article 10: Right to Life, Article 12: Equal Recognition Before the Law, Article 19: Living Independently and Being Included in the Community, Article 23: Respect for Home and the Family, and Article 24: Education. CACL also contributed to sections on health, work and employment, women with disabilities, access to justice, and children with disabilities. Tara Levandier collaborated with Catherine Rodgers of People First of Canada to develop a plain English summary of the report. All reports by Canadian civil society are available on the CRPD Committee website.  

During their time in Geneva, Krista and Tara also met with staff from the UN High Commission to Canada, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the International Labour Organization, staff from the International Movement Against all forms of Discrimination and Racism, and the Ukraine civil society delegation. Meetings were also held with co-rapporteurs Ms. Rosemary Kayess and Mr. Robert Martin, as well as various CRPD Committee members.

With the CRPD Committee’s adoption of the list of issues for Canada, work will now begin by both the Government of Canada and Canadian civil society on reports in response of the list of issues. This work is expected to be completed by April 2020.