Canada makes further commitment to support rights of persons with disabilities

News Release

December 1, 2016 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, today announced that the Government of Canada has begun a consultation process on Canada’s accession to the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Optional Protocol).

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities protects and promotes the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities without discrimination and on an equal basis with others.

Provinces and territories have an important role to play in considering Canada’s possible accession to the Optional Protocol, and consultations are currently taking place with them on this matter. The process will also involve engagement with Indigenous governments that may be implicated, as well as Indigenous organizations and civil society.


“I support this protocol because it further empowers Canadians with disabilities and because it is consistent with Canada’s commitment to promote inclusion, always and everywhere.”

- Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Our willingness to move this protocol forward is a significant step in supporting the rights of Canadians with disabilities. This announcement helps us foster equality and inclusiveness and brings us closer to a more accessible Canada.”

- Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

Quick facts

  • Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2010. Parties to the convention are required to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities.
  • 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.
  • The Optional Protocol gives people with disabilities a new safeguard for their rights by establishing 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 November 2016, there are 92 states parties to the protocol.
  • The International Day of Persons with Disabilities will be marked on December 3. This year’s theme, Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want, highlights the recent adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the role of these goals in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.

Associated links


Chantal Gagnon
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

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

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