Dec. 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities

 It's time for Canada to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Ottawa (30 Nov. 2009) – With the approach of International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 3, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is again urging the Harper government to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

NUPGE has also produced a poster in its series - ‘One Good Idea Deserves Another - Full Human Rights for All’ - to help celebrate and mark the occasion. The union invites members and the public to download and distribute the poster as widely as possible. Please click on the graphic or on the link below to download a copy.

Download NUPGE Poster for Persons with Disabilities Day - Dec. 3

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted at the United Nations on March 30, 2007. Canada played a leadership role in the drafting of the Convention and there was an expectation that Canada would ratify this international law in an expeditious manner. Already, 32 months have passed since the signing of the CRPD and Canada seems to be bogged down with ongoing inter-provincial discussions on the Convention.

Ratified by 71 countries

The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities. It covers a number of key areas such as accessibility, personal mobility, health, education, employment, and rehabilitation, participation in political life and equality and non-discrimination. CRPD marks a shift in thinking about disability from a social welfare concern to a human rights issue, which acknowledges that social barriers and prejudices are themselves disabling.

Countries that ratify the Convention have to report regularly to the UN about the steps they are taking to protect and promote rights of persons with disabilites.

“With so many countries having stepped forward to ratify the CRPD, Canada needs to evaluate the pace at which things are proceeding”, says NUPGE National President, James Clancy. “To delay much longer will put Canada’s reputation as a disability rights leader in question. We join with other Canadian human rights organizations and groups of persons with disabilities to urge the Canadian government to quickly ratify the CRPD."

In June Canada faced an international peer review of its human rights record as part of the new "Universal Periodic Review" (UPR) of Human Rights, undertaken by the UN Human Rights Council. It was significant that one of the key recommendations made to Canada was swift ratification of the CRPD.

Unanimous Commons approval

As far back as June 2007, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion supporting ratification of the CRPD, demonstrating that Canada's parliamentarians are prepared to have the country abide by the standards set in the CRPD.

"With this high level of support for ratification, we are left to wonder why Canada has not announced a projected date when ratification will occur," says Clancy.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

More information:

• Download NUPGE International Day of Persons with Disabilities poster - pdf
• UN Enable - International Day of Persons with Disabilities
• Pressure mounting for ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

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