June 14, 2022, Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
For the first time in two years, countries from around the world have gathered at the United Nations Headquarters, in New York City, for in-person formal meetings focused on “Building disability-inclusive and participatory societies in the COVID context and beyond.” Leading Canada’s delegation at the 15th Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), is the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough.
In addressing the Conference, Minister Qualtrough highlighted Canada’s ongoing work to become a country, and to help create a world, where persons with disabilities can participate in every aspect of society. Central to this work is Canada’s commitment to upholding its obligations under the CRPD and highlighted ongoing efforts to support persons with disabilities. The Minister outlined work underway to create the Canada Disability Benefit, which could reduce poverty, strengthen financial security, and help hundreds of thousands of persons with disabilities. The Minister also pointed to recent actions supporting the implementation of the Accessible Canada Act, including the appointments of Canada’s first Accessibility Commissioner and Chief Accessibility Officer, and the release of the first regulations under the Act.
This year, Canada’s UN COSP delegation includes three youth members of the disability community: Zoe Elverum, Carly Fox, and Paula MacDonald. By taking part in the Conference, they are contributing to the momentum of building youth leadership within the disability community to help advance accessibility, disability inclusion and the rights of persons with disabilities. In a Conference side event, hosted virtually on June 13th by Minister Qualtrough and partner countries, Canada’s youth delegates participated in a panel discussion titled “Youth leadership and perspectives: advancing disability inclusion and the rights of persons with disabilities.”
This year Canada put forward its first-ever candidate for election to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Through an open and transparent selection process, Canada received several highly qualified nominations and Dr. Laverne Jacobs, an accomplished academic with significant experience in human rights and disability issues, was selected as the country’s candidate. Dr. Jacobs has been elected to the Committee and will join eight other newly-elected members to serve a four-year term.
While at the Conference, the Minister met with her international counterparts and several key officials, including the International Disability Alliance and UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Gerard Quinn. The Conference provided an opportunity for the Canadian delegation to learn from the experiences of other countries, particularly those related to the pandemic and ongoing recovery, and to reaffirm the Government’s commitment to the full inclusion of persons with disabilities.
“Canada is working to become a country, and to help create a world, where persons with disabilities are included in every aspect of society. At the core of this work is implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This commitment connects Canada to the international community with the opportunity to both lead and learn from other nations as we work toward the shared goal of real, meaningful disability inclusion.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
“Human rights are at the core of Canada’s foreign policy. We are pleased to support the rights of persons with disabilities, as well as the international human rights architecture, by nominating Canada’s first-ever candidate for the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
– Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly
- This year marks the 15th session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Conference runs from June 14 to 16, 2022.
- While at the conference, the Minister also delivered Canada’s intervention at a round table discussion on the economic empowerment and entrepreneurship of persons with disabilities.
- The CRPD Committee is a body of 18 independent experts that monitors the implementation of the CRPD. Members are elected for a four-year term, with the possibility of being re-elected once. Elections occur by secret ballot every two years to replace members whose terms are expiring.
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