Justice and Public Safety
December 2, 2016
The following is being distributed at the request of the Human Rights Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Human Rights Commission Recognizes and Celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities
The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission joins with others in Canada in recognizing the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which is celebrated annually on December 3.
The observance of the day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
There are an estimated one billion people worldwide, or approximately 15 per cent of the world's population, who live with some form of disability. The theme for this year's International Day is Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want (www.un.org ). This theme notes the recent adoption of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations and the role of these goals in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.
It is estimated that one in seven Canadians have a disability. It is anticipated that by the next generation, that representation of disability will increase to one in five Canadians. It is estimated that 14 per cent of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians over the age of 15 have a disability.
Observance of the 2016 International Day of Persons with Disabilities coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the adoption of the U.N. Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) - one of the most quickly and widely ratified international treaties put forth by the United Nations to date. Canada ratified the UNCRPD in 2010.
The commission recognizes the important efforts led by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador toward the full social, economic and cultural integration of persons with disabilities, including through the following commitments:
- The Inclusion Action Plan for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, now in its second year, is based on U.N. Convention principles and includes direction on facilitating access to services and employment; social, economic and cultural inclusion; and promotes equality for persons with disabilities;
- The implementation of an Individualized Funding Model, which will create a single point of access for persons with disabilities who may require assistance from multiple government departments, will simplify the process for many people in need; and
- Proposed inclusion-based legislation, including supported decision-making, to be developed in collaboration with the community, could further advance efforts to ensure that all persons have the support they need to exercise their legal capacity.
While these efforts represent positive developments, there remain significant challenges. Over the last year, the commission has met and worked with committees and organizations advocating for the full inclusion of persons with disabilities. Consistently, every year, complaints on the prohibited grounds of disability and perceived disability in employment, accommodation, and access to services continue to represent 45 to 60 per cent of active complaints filed with the commission.
"Much work remains to be done in ensuring the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in our workplaces
and communities. The accessibility of public spaces, under-representation and discrimination in employment
and challenges with workplace accommodation of disabilities continue to represent hurdles facing
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with disabilities. Respect for the dignity and rights of all individuals
must be the main consideration in the provision of services, employment and accommodation. When actions are
guided by respect for one another, without prejudice, they result in a more harmonious, positive outcome for
all. Employers, unions, community organizations, government and individuals must work to build such a future
in Newfoundland and Labrador. It begins with respect for one another and for differences between us."
- Remzi Cej, Chair, Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission
The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Act protects individuals from discrimination and harassment on the basis of disability and/or perceived disability. Individuals should contact the Human Rights Commission if they feel that they have been discriminated or harassed because of their disability or perceived disability.
Employers and service providers should also contact the Human Rights Commission to learn more about their rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Act or to get information about human rights law more generally.
Human Rights Commission staff are available to deliver presentations and workshops regarding human rights protections for individuals with disabilities. Please contact our office for more information, or visit www.thinkhumanrights.ca . You can also follow us on Twitter @nlhumanrights using the hashtag #nlrights.
- Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission recognizes the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which is celebrated annually on December 3.
- The observance of the day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
- It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
- The theme for this year's International Day is Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want.
- There are an estimated one billion people worldwide, or approximately 15 per cent of the world's population, who live with some form of disability.
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Remzi Cej, Chair
Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission
2016 12 02 11:35 a.m.