Looking at the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities a year after ratification
Kristian Partington

On Friday, March 11, posAbilities joined the chorus of organizations serving people with disabilities in celebrating the first anniversary of Canada’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Person’s with Disabilities.

When the ratification was announced last year, the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) called it a “historic and profound moment in our nation’s history.”

In a press release issued following ratification, Michael Bach, CACL executive vice-president, considered the convention and Canada’s role in its development.

“The convention was influenced by Canadian perspective and is a document that all Canadians should be proud of,” said Bach at the time.

“Canadian concepts about inclusive education, living in the community and supported decision-making infuse the convention.”

Bach also went on to praise the convention’s development as “unique for the way it was developed.”

“It is the first time in UN history that people affected by the treaty were actively engaged in the development of its text. It is a convention that is informed by the lived experience of people with disabilities and their families.”

In practical terms, the convention has already proven itself to be a valuable tool for arguing in favour of the rights of individuals with disabilities across the country.

For example, Gordon Kyle, director of social policy and government relations with Community Living Ontario, recently pointed to the convention’s use in Ontario human rights cases currently before the courts there.

A major point of discussion before the courts is the recognition of legal capacity and the rights of people who have a disability to take ownership of their decision-making ability.

As a comprehensive document embedded in international law, Kyle said the convention has become a powerful tool for organizations that speak for people who can’t always speak for themselves.

“The UN convention just gives a framework for how to insure the rights of people with disabilities unlike anything we’ve ever seen before,” said Kyle.

Through conversations with posAbilities and its partners, posAbilities Today will continue to examine how effective implementation of the UN convention can improve the lives of people living with a disability throughout all of Canada.

For more information on the convention visit the British Columbia Association for Community Living’s web page at http://www.communitylivingbc.ca/

If you have questions or comments related to this article call 800-294-0051, ext., 24, or e-mail kristian(at)axiomnews.ca.