Canada fulfilling commitment to upholding and safeguarding the rights of people with disabilities

News Release

New public consultation on the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

February 16, 2017                  Gatineau, Quebec        Employment and Social Development Canada

Today, the Government of Canada is launching a public consultation to consider Canada’s possible accession to the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Convention protects and promotes the rights and dignity of people with disabilities without discrimination and on an equal basis with others.

When Canada ratified the Convention in 2010, it made a commitment to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by people with disabilities.

On December 1, 2016, the Government of Canada announced it would begin taking steps towards consideration of accession to the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

The Optional Protocol offers people with disabilities new mechanisms to seek protection of their rights by establishing procedures aimed at strengthening the implementation and monitoring of the Convention.

Consultations are currently underway with provinces and territories as they have an important role to play in considering Canada’s possible accession to the Optional Protocol. The consultation process also includes engagement with Indigenous governments that may be implicated, as well as with Indigenous organizations and civil society.

With the launch of this public consultation, the Government of Canada is seeking views about the impact that acceding to the Optional Protocol may have on Canadians.

All Canadians, stakeholders and interested parties are encouraged to participate in the consultation.

The public consultation is open from February 16 to March 16.


Quotes

“Moving forward with the Optional Protocol helps us foster equality and inclusiveness and brings us closer to a more accessible Canada. Whether you are an individual living with a disability, a representative of a disability organization, or simply an interested Canadian, this is an opportunity to have your say on this important treaty instrument.”

– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

Quick Facts

  • The Optional Protocol establishes two procedures aimed at strengthening the implementation and monitoring of the Convention. The first is a complaint procedure that allows individuals and groups to bring petitions to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities claiming that their rights under the Convention have been violated. The second is an inquiry procedure that gives the Committee authority to investigate allegations of grave or systematic violations of the provisions of the Convention by a state party.
  • The Optional Protocol was adopted by the UN in 2006 and entered into force in 2008. As of February 2017, there are 92 states parties to the protocol.
  • Canadians are able to participate in the consultation in English, French, American Sign Language or Langue des signes québécoise and in various formats such as digital, handwritten, video or audio submissions. Canadians can provide their input by telephone, mail, email, fax and TTY. All Canadians, stakeholders and interested parties are encouraged to participate in the consultation.
  • The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the Convention by states parties. States parties to the Convention are expected to submit reports to the committee every four years, with an initial report due two years following ratification. Canada submitted its initial report in February 2014, and will appear before the Committee in spring 2017.
  • Minister Qualtrough is Canada’s first Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, and was mandated by the Prime Minister to lead an engagement process with Canadians that would inform new planned legislation to transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility. The consultation process on new planned accessibility legislation is open until February 28, 2017. See Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada for more information.

Associated Links

Contacts

Ashley Michnowski
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
819-934-1122 / TTY: 1-866-702-6967

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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