UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Canada (CRPD 08-05-2017)

The Committee considered the initial report of Canada (CRPD/C/CAN/1) at its 318th and 319th meetings (see CRPD/C/SR.318 and 319), held on 3 and 4 April 2017. It adopted the present concluding observations at its 328th meeting, held on 10 April 2017.

Concluding observations

A. General principles and obligations (arts. 1-4)

  1. The Committee notes with concern:

(a) That the provisions of the Convention have yet to be appropriately incorporated into legislation and policies across sectors and levels of government;

(b) The uneven application of the Convention and the Committee’s jurisprudence by the judiciary and law enforcement officials, including the police;

(c) The lack of legislation and public policies to protect the rights of persons with disabilities who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex.

  1. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Take leadership in convening provinces and territories in order to ensure a pan-Canadian approach to implementation and enact a comprehensive national action plan for implementing the Convention in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments and in consultation with persons with disabilities through their representative organizations. The State party should ensure that such an action plan includes benchmarks and a time frame for its implementation;

(b) Set up a mechanism aimed at ensuring that legislation at the provincial and territorial levels that is to be updated further includes specific measures to implement the obligations of the State party under the Convention;

(c) Strengthen the human, financial and technical resources of the Office for Disability Issues at the federal level and ensure appropriate formal and permanent mechanisms for coordination with provincial and territorial governments;

(d) Raise awareness among and develop capacity-building programmes for the judiciary and law enforcement officials about the Convention as a legally enforceable human rights instrument, the human rights model of disability and its principles, and the jurisprudence of the Committee, including its general comments and its Views on individual communications adopted, and inquiry procedures undertaken, under the Optional Protocol.

B. Specific rights (arts. 5-30)

Awareness-raising (art. 8)

19. The Committee is concerned about the lack of information about indigenous persons with disabilities, given that they represent one of the most marginalized populations. It is also concerned about stereotypes and harmful messages in public campaigns about autistic persons. It is further concerned about the absence of information on awareness campaigns to promote the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities and to combat attitudinal barriers and prejudices against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons with disabilities.

20. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Ensure appropriate dissemination of the Convention and the Committee’s general comments, concluding observations and recommendations in sign languages and in accessible formats, modes and means of communication, such as easy-read formats and Braille;

(b) Recognize and proclaim November each year as Indigenous Disability Awareness Month, which is already being done by British Columbia and Saskatchewan;

(c) Adopt a human rights model of disability that recognizes autistic persons and reinforce their human dignity and value in all public campaigns and programmes to support their inclusion in society;

(d) Adopt a strategy aimed at recognizing and fostering the participation of persons with intellectual disabilities in society, including measures to combat stigmatization against such persons and to promote their leadership, the work of their representative organizations and self-advocacy;

(e) Undertake, in collaboration with representative organizations of persons with disabilities, research aimed at enhancing understanding of diverse gender identities and monitoring attitudinal barriers faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons with disabilities;

(f) Set up strategies at the federal, provincial and territorial levels to increase awareness among society about the rights of persons with disabilities, through targeted capacity-building and public information programmes and human rights education.

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