"It makes it easy to say we're abiding by the Convention, but when we have no mechanism to track actions or violations, it's pretty disingenuous." — says James Clancy, NUPGE National President
Ottawa (02 Dec. 2015) — Unions have been, and continue to be, on the frontlines of the struggle for equality. The ability to bargain and work collectively offers an incredible opportunity to address issues that may not even be covered by federal or provincial jurisdictions. Setting a higher bar in workplaces, and taking those efforts to society as a whole, allow for unionists to be a part of the movement to ensure equality and inclusiveness for all people.
Advancing equality and human rights, a responsibility for unions
"Whether it's at the bargaining table, in workplaces or in our communities, trade unionists are fighting for equality, human rights, and concrete action to address the barriers faced by persons with disabilities," says James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).
According to the United Nations, since 1992, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) on December 3 has been used as a way to promote awareness and mobilize support for critical issues relating to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society. The day works to promote action to raise awareness about disability issues and draw attention to the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all.
This year's theme for the UN's International Day of Persons with Disabilities is "Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities." The focus is on making cities inclusive and accessible for all, improving disability data and statistics and including persons with invisible disabilities in society.
Ratify the Protocol of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Despite the fact that , in 2010, the Conservative government signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it never took the crucial step of signing and ratifying its Protocol — the tool for reporting violations by endorsing nations.
"It makes it easy to say we're abiding by the Convention," says James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), "but when we have no mechanism to track actions and violations, it's pretty disingenous."
New government has opportunity to promote inclusivity at every level
In a 2014 statement, the Liberal Party reaffirmed its commitment to the Convention, and its implementation.
"This new government now needs to live up to its promises to take deliberate steps to address discrimination, ongoing income inequality and barriers to inclusion across the country," Clancy said.
"The reinstatement of the long-form census is a good first step to ensure we have the data needed to make important changes. But the federal government can send a strong message to provincial and territorial governments, to towns and cities and employers that we must work harder to ensure inclusivity is at the forefront of all decisions," Clancy went on to say.
"Of course, we will be doing our part to advance the issues and to hold the government accountable for its decisions in the coming years," he concluded.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 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