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A Canadians with Disabilities Act would be great wouldn’t it?

accessibility-deadline-multi-year-planEven before the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, there was real thought being put into the potential development of a Canadians with Disabilities Act. It began with the structuring of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and has found its permanence with other large scale developments such as the development of UN policy and focus on the inclusion of people with disabilities.

The real question is what would it look like? Would it be a federal precept of what already exists in Ontario? Would be it a tool cut from a similar cloth as the Canadian Human Commission? A paper was published in 2010 by the Canadian Disability Policy Alliance (1) on the subject of the validity of a Canadians with Disabilities Act. In it, there is thorough examination of Canadian disability policy within federal programs, legislation and services. The arguments against a federal act that are summarized within the paper are based on the fact that Canada already has a robust framework for evolving human rights and anti-discrimination (2). Granted, Canada did not sign the UN Optional protocol and it already has systems in place to hear complaints and launch investigations at the provincial and federal level.

One cannot venture to guess what it will look like because the development of such a framework will require throughout country wide examinations of the matrix that is created between policy, people and rights. Canada now is at a turning point, and we have an elected official who is mandated to create a disability act. The Honorable Carla Qualtrough is also a person with a disability herself. To echo Justin Trudeau, it is 2015, and the mandate is clear.

While the dust settles from the election, we shall wait and see how it begins to take shape as a positive and modern representation of Canada.


  1. Canadian Disability Policy Alliance. A Canadian Disability Act? www.canadiandisabilitypolicyallaince.ca Last accessed 11/23/2015

  2. A Canadian Disability Act, 28

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Christopher Lytle MA CDS

Principle Consultant and Owner at Christopher Lytle Consulting (CLC)
Christopher Lytle MA CDS, is the principle consultant and owner of Christopher Lytle Consulting (CLC). CLC consults on human rights and helps organizations incorporate requirements for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Christopher has been involved with disability and human rights issues for ten years. During this time he has participated in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and has been involved in its subsequent promotion and implementation in Canada as well as several countries in Africa, Central America, Asia and Europe. He has held a seat on the board of directors for the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) as a representative of theCouncil of Canadians with Disabilities' (CCD) International Human Rights Committee and hehas spearheaded numerous capacity building projects with the purpose of promoting human rights, equality and accessibility. Read more
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