Safeguard Disability Rights – Sign The Un Protocol
Change.org – p/canada-s-adoption-of-the-un-protocol-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities-is-long-overdue
March 21, 2017.
With great fanfare in 2010, the Harper government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). However, it never took the next step of ratifying its Optional Protocol, which is essential for holding Canada accountable for its commitment.
Parents are kept awake at night worrying about the long-term future of their children with disabilities, and they struggle every day to get proper supports for them. Meanwhile, their concerns are often shrugged off when their children are placed inappropriately — in segregated classes or schools, in workshops paying pennies a day, and even in seniors’ homes. For example, lively 49-year-old Teresa Pocock (pictured above) was rescued from a long-term care facility that specialized in dementia and palliative care patients. Teresa is just one of thousands, and most don’t get out! (See her petition: www.change.org/teresapocock, which was recently closed when she received a personal letter of apology from Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s Minister of Health.)
In her June 22 announcement on consultation for new disability legislation, the Minister of Sport and Disabilities, Carla Qualtrough, acknowledged just how defenceless people with disabilities are: “Right now, within our current legal framework, the rights of those of us with disabilities don’t kick in … until our rights have been violated. The current system unfairly burdens Canadians to ever defend our rights.”
Obviously, persons with disabilities should not have to defend their rights in court, yet at present violations under the CRPD cannot even be reported to the UN because Canada has not signed the Protocol. If it truly wants to protect disability rights, therefore, our current government will need to attend to this unfinished business of the previous government.
In signing the CRPD, the Canadian government promised to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities. If it enforces its own disability laws the Protocol will not be necessary — otherwise Canadians will need it as a final resort.
Over 26,000 Canadians are looking forward to having Prime Minister Trudeau safeguard disability rights by signing and ratifying the Protocol by the end of 2017.