Review of Canada’s Accession to the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

From Employment and Social Development Canada

Current status: Closed

This engagement is now closed

This consultation took place between February 16 and March 16, 2017.

Message from the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

Transcript: Message from the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

The Government of Canada is committed to doing all we can to enable people with disabilities to fully participate in their communities and workplaces, and to protect their human rights.

This is why, on December 1, 2016, we announced that our Government, in consultation with provincial and territorial governments, is considering accession to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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

The Optional Protocol aims to strengthen the implementation and monitoring of the Convention.

We are seeking your views on the impact that joining this Optional Protocol will have on Canada.

Whether you are an individual with a disability, a representative of a disability organization, or an interested Canadian – this is an opportunity to have your say.

I invite you to take part in our consultation by submitting your views on the Optional Protocol to the Office for Disability Issues.

Be part of this important initiative as we continue to make our country a more inclusive one — where Canadians with disabilities can participate in all aspects of life on an equal basis with others.

Thank you.

Accession to the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Canada is a party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Convention). The Convention entered into force for Canada on April 10, 2010. Its purpose is to ensure that all people with disabilities enjoy the same human rights, freedoms and respect as other people. It requires countries to promote equality and prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities.

As a party to the Convention, Canada can accede to (or join) the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As explained in more detail below, the Optional Protocol contains two procedures to strengthen the implementation of the Convention: an individual communications procedure and an inquiry procedure.

The Government of Canada, in close consultation with provincial and territorial governments, is currently reviewing the Optional Protocol prior to making any decision regarding accession to the treaty.

As part of this review, the Government of Canada is seeking your views on the Optional Protocol.

We are asking for your comments on the following:

  • the obligations contained in the Optional Protocol
  • the impacts for you as an individual, your organization, and the individuals your organization represents if Canada were to join the Optional Protocol
  • the advantages or disadvantages to Canada associated with joining the Optional Protocol
  • whether and how have Canadians with disabilities or the organisations that represent them been using the complaint mechanisms under the other human rights treaties to which Canada is a party and
  • any other comments that you would like to provide

Background

The Optional Protocol does not create any new substantive rights. It contains two procedures to strengthen the implementation of the Convention: an individual communications procedure and an inquiry procedure. The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Committee) will only deal with matters from countries that have joined the Protocol.

  1. The “individual communications procedure” allows individuals or groups of individuals in a country to file a complaint with the Committee if they believe the country has violated their rights under the Convention. This complaint is known as a “communication”. The communication can also be made by a third party on behalf of individuals or groups of individuals.

    A communication must meet a number of requirements before the Committee can consider it. For example, the Committee will not accept a complaint if it is lodged anonymously; the same situation has already been investigated or is being investigated by another body; the complainant did not use their domestic system to the fullest extent; the complaint is without basis; there is no proof. These requirements are known as “admissibility criteria”.

    The Committee may request that the country take urgent interim action to avoid possible irreparable damage to the victim(s). The Committee may make this request at any time after receiving a communication and before considering its merits.

  2. The “inquiry procedure” allows the Committee to start and carry out an inquiry into trustworthy information about serious or widespread violations of rights under the Convention by a country. Where it is needed, and if the country concerned agrees, the Committee may visit the country to investigate directly. All inquiries are confidential and conducted with the cooperation of the country in question.

For specific details on the obligations and processes of each procedure, see the Optional Protocol.
For a description of the Federal process for Canada’s adherence to an international human rights treaty, see International Human Rights Treaty Adherence Process in Canada.

How to participate

Submit your feedback in the language of your choice (English, French, American Sign Language or Langue des signes québécoise) and preferred format such as online, handwritten, video or audio submissions.

You can provide your input to the Office for Disability Issues via:

Phone: 1-844-365-1607
TTY: 819-934-6649
Fax: 819-953-4797
Email: NC-ENGAGEMENT-MOBILISATION-GD@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

Mail:
Consultation – Optional Protocol
c/o Office for Disability Issues
Employment and Social Development Canada
105 Hotel-de-ville St., 1st floor, Bag 62
Gatineau QC K1A 0J9

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