PosAbilities’ partners urging for a call to action related to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Kristian Partington

PosAbilities joined the chorus of support agencies across Canada celebrating the anniversary of Canada’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Person’s with Disabilities on March 11. Now its partners are urging for a continued push for Canada to meet its obligations under the treaty and asking for agencies and individuals to support the call to action.

“There are still enormous barriers to full citizenship for people with disabilities, and one of the powerful things about the UN convention is it’s really a vehicle in which we can open up conversation, not only at a policy and legislative level but also at a community level,” says Karla Verschoor, co-ordinator of self-advocacy development for the British Columbia Association for Community Living (BCACL).

She and her colleagues say they’re concerned governments haven’t made enough effort to make the necessary policy changes to live up to the treaty’s assurance of a more inclusive society.

“Having this tool, or this framework, to talk about barriers to citizenship…is very powerful at a community level,” says Verschoor.

Karen De Long, BCACL’s director of community development, agrees that the convention is a crucial tool for enhancing inclusivity in Canada, but not enough people know about it.

“I think we have a lot public education to do, and I think there’s an opportunity that the government hasn’t yet taken up on to commit to the principles of the convention,” says De Long.

“Though all the provinces have agreed to it and signed on they haven’t taken it and run with it and celebrated it.”

Last fall the BCACL hosted an information session related to the convention, but many people hadn’t heard of it, says De Long.

“We’re finding that the general population has no clue that it even exists and I’m talking about people who are involved in social policy.”

The BCACL has thrown its full support behind a call to action issued in February when the Canadian Association for Community Living and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities issued a working paper focused on implementation of the convention in Canada.

They are urging others to join that call.

For more information visit the BCACL web site at this link.

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