International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Canada 1 / Quebec 0

On December 1st, the Government of Canada announced that it would initiate procedures for Canada’s accession to the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It’s about time! Ninety-two countries have already ratified the Protocol.

Canada had already ratified the Convention in 2010. However, its scope was limited since the country had not ratified the Protocol. Essentially, adherence to this Protocol will eventually allow Canadian organizations and citizens to file a complaint with the UN if their rights guaranteed in the CRPD are not respected. Canada, the provinces and the territories will therefore have a new incentive to create an accessible and inclusive society!
In a video highlighting the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, reminds us that “people with disabilities still face barriers to fully participating in society both in Canada and around the world”. The Minister, herself a disabled person, invites us to join her in “celebrating Canadians with disabilities and embrace a cultural change about accessibility and inclusion in Canadian society”.

Meanwhile in Quebec, Lucie Charlebois, Minister Responsible for Rehabilitation, Protection of Youth, Public Health and Healthy Living, explains that the International Day serves to “educate the public about the reality of people with disabilities and to make them aware of the importance of helping people with disabilities to participate more in their community”. She argued that the Quebec government is working on the inclusion of people with disabilities through “a number of promising initiatives, notably through the first Quebec Forum on Autism Spectrum Disorder, which took place last February, the creation of support for families of children with severe disabilities requiring exceptional care, and a recent investment in long-term home care”. The minister concluded by saying “we are therefore very proud of the collective efforts in this area to include more people with disabilities in society”.

Québec accessible argues that, once again, the Quebec government chooses not to recognize the extent of the obstacles and discrimination faced by people with disabilities in Quebec. The initiatives mentioned by the minister, although relevant, affect only a portion of people with disabilities. The creation of support for “families of children with significant disabilities requiring exceptional care” covers only a limited number of families. The majority of families with disabled children are not eligible. In addition, the Minister highlighted a “recent investment in long-term home care”. In the disability community, we are not talking about “long-term home care” but “home support”. It’s different! And let’s remember that these support services have been cut dramatically in recent years. The reinvestment mentioned by the minister is likely to have very little impact on the lives of people with disabilities.

In short, on this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Quebec government has chosen to boast of a few limited initiatives, rather than recognizing the magnitude of the challenges faced by Quebeckers with disabilities. However, the federal government does not hesitate to admit that there are barriers that need to be addressed by adopting binding measures. Why is the Quebec government reluctant to do the same? Québec accessible is more convinced than ever that Quebec must make substantive changes to fight discrimination based on disability. One of these changes is to adopt a new law for the rights of people with disabilities. It must be said that the law on the exercise of the rights of persons with disabilities currently in force in Quebec does not work because it does not contain enforcement mechanisms and leaves room for very elastic interpretations of our rights.

On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Québec accessible wishes that the wind of change that blows on Ottawa crosses the border and soon reaches Quebec!

Happy international day to all!

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An accessible Canada isn’t possible without an accessible Québec

Nearly 150 people attended the consultation held in Montreal on November 16, 2016. Québec accessible was there! Photo Credit: Government of Canada
Nearly 150 people attended the consultation held in Montreal on November 16, 2016. Québec accessible was there! Photo Credit: Government of Canada

What is an accessible Canada for you?

That is the question asked by the federal government during consultations on the future federal accessibility act.

Québec accessible was present at the consultations in Quebec and Montreal and was able to observe a strong interest in the question from people with disabilities, their allies and representatives of the disability community.

Topics discussed included employment discrimination, barriers to public transit, recognition of signed languages (LSQ and ASL), a shortage of services to ensure that people with disabilities and their families live with dignity, differences between cities, regions, provinces and territories in terms of accessibility.

The majority of issues raised, directly or indirectly, affected provincial jurisdictions. However, the new federal legislation will only address federal jurisdiction. This shows, once again, the need to adopt a Quebec law that addresses barriers and ableism (discrimination based on disability). If you share this opinion, we invite you to add your name to the list of individuals and / or organizations requesting a Quebec law.

For Quebecers, an accessible Canada is not possible without an accessible Quebec!

Laurence Parent of Québec accessible attended the consultation held in Quebec City on November 10, 2016. The Minister of Family, Children and Social Development, Jean-Yves Duclos, was present. Photo Credit: Government of Canada
Laurence Parent of Québec accessible attended the consultation held in Quebec City on November 10, 2016. The Minister of Family, Children and Social Development, Jean-Yves Duclos, was present. Photo Credit: Government of Canada

 

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Québec accessible at the World Social Forum

We invite you to join us at the World Social Forum (WSF) next week. The WSF will be taking place from August 9 to 14 in Montreal.

Quebec Accessible has been involved in planning many events regarding disability and Deaf culture. We will be hosting three events:

1. Conference on Quebec and Canadian Disability Laws

When: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 (9 to 11:30 am)

Where: UQÀM, Pavillon de-Sève, DS-M240

In collaboration with Quebec’s Human Rights Commission (the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse – CDPDJ), Quebec Accessible will be giving an overview of laws that protect the rights of persons with disabilities in Quebec and other provinces in Canada.

Speakers: Me Melanie Benard (Quebec Accessible), Laurence Parent (Quebec Accessible), Mélissa Goupil-Landry (CDPDJ) and David Lepofsky (AODA Alliance – Ontario)

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1627650404229711/

2. Panel on Disability Laws Around the World

When: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 (1 to 3:30 pm)

Where: UQÀM, Pavillon de-Sève, DS-M220

This international panel will present the disability laws in force in the United States, France and Brazil. Speakers will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these laws and the movements that led to their adoption. The goal of the panel is to share knowledge about the common struggles to promote disability rights around the world.

Speakers: Mathilde Fuchs (France); Elisa Rojas (France); Allison Colburn (U.S.); Orlando Vitor Noal Neto (Brazil); Moysès Martins (Brazil)

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1836041499958040/

3. Workshop on Social Media and Disability Advocacy

When: Wednesday, August 11, 2016 (1 to 3:30 pm)

Where: UQÀM, Pavillon de-Sève, DS-M220

Join us to learn about two initiatives that use social media to promote disability rights. Marie-Eve Veilleux and Laurence Parent will present Transport mésadapté, a Facebook group addressing access to public transportation in Montreal. Gregg Beratan and Andrew Pulrang will discuss #CripTheVote, a campaign promoting the inclusion of disability issues in the U.S. elections. We will then break into groups to develop a campaign highlighting the need for a stronger accessibility law in Quebec.

Speakers: Marie-Eve Veilleux (Quebec Accessible and Transport mésadapté); Laurence Parent (Quebec Accessible and Transport mésadapté); Gregg Beratan (#CripTheVote) ; Andrew Pulrang (#CripTheVote)

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1770429723212767/

Accessibility of all events:

To participate by Skype: https://join.skype.com/fTi1mVGDhMg7

LSQ and ASL interpretation on-site

French and English whispered translation upon request

The conference room and the washroom are wheelchair accessible

Paratransit entrance: 320, rue Ste-Catherine (public location under “University” in SIRTA)

If you have any questions, contact: quebecaccessible@gmail.com

*To participate in these events, you need to register for the World Social Forum (WSF)*

You can register in three different ways:

1) Help finance the WSF by registering online or onsite at the Regular Rate (40$);

2) Register onsite at the Solidarity Rate (10$);

3) Participate by Skype free of charge

To register or to find out more about the WSF, visit: https://fsm2016.org/en/participer/sinscrire/

All three options will allow you to take part in many events at the WSF from August 9 to 14.

We hope to see you all next week!

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A public consultation to inform the new Canadian Accessibility Legislation

The Government of Canada launched a public consultation to inform the development of a new law on accessibility. This law aims to promote equal opportunities and increase the inclusion and participation of Canadians with disabilities.

Individuals are invited to submit their ideas and share the obstacles they experience daily . For more information on the consultation , click here.

To complete the survey , click here .

Let’s all share our experiences to create a Canadian law that resembles us!

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Laurence Parent en entrevue à La Presse

Rima Elkouri a écrit une chronique portant sur le capacitisme. On peut y lire les réflexions de Laurence Parent, l’une de nos co-fondatrices, qui aborde bien sûr l’importance d’une loi coercitive en matière d’accessibilité et d’inclusion. Ça commence bien la Semaine québécoise des personnes handicapées!

“Laurence est cofondatrice de Québec accessible, un groupe citoyen qui vise à faire adopter une loi québécoise plus coercitive en matière d’accessibilité et d’inclusion des personnes handicapées.
(…)
Elle a essayé de comprendre pourquoi le réseau, inauguré en 1966, n’était pas accessible alors que le Bay Area Rapid Transit de San Francisco, inauguré en 1970, l’est complètement. Au Québec, l’absence de mesures coercitives fait en sorte que les belles politiques d’inclusion restent trop souvent des vœux pieux, déplore-t-elle.”

Pour lire l’article au complet, cliquez ici.

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Montreal Gazette interview with Laurence Parent

Last week, the Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec announced the construction of a light-rail network in the Montreal region. According to the Caisse, this new network will be fully accessible. But can we be sure?

 

“Parent, whose group is pushing for the province to adopt a law that would require all public transit to have wheelchair access, said she is still skeptical because there have been many unfulfilled promises about universal accessibility in the past. The new Mascouche line was supposed to be fully accessible, but the Agence métropolitaine de transport has gone back on that promise, saying it would cost too much to make the Mount-Royal and Canora stations accessible.”

Click ici to read the full article.

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