Poverty rates among the disabled still high: report

Canada’s disabled citizens face ongoing challenges to their well-being, including barriers to language and communication, learning and training, and safety and security, says a new report.

OTTAWA — Canada’s disabled citizens face ongoing challenges to their well-being, including barriers to language and communication, learning and training, and safety and security, says a new report.

Four years after the federal government ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Canada released its first report on Tuesday into how disabled Canadians are faring under that convention.

The 61-page document, prepared by federal, provincial and territorial governments, notes that poverty rates among persons with disabilities in Canada remains a challenge, as does ensuring more disabled Canadians find work.

It provides few specifics, however, on other challenges, and instead offers up a laundry list of various federal and provincial programs and initiatives aimed at helping Canada’s disabled citizens participate in everything from organized sports to post-secondary education and the justice system.

It doesn’t provide any information on the success rates of those initiatives, however.

“Improving the well-being of persons with disabilities, increasing their opportunities to participate in economic and social life and fulfilling their potential requires an ongoing, multi-faceted and multi-partner approach,” the report reads.

Ottawa allocates $222 million annually to the provinces and territories to design and deliver programs aimed at spurring employment opportunities for those with disabilities. The money is to be matched by provincial and territorial governments for the next four years

In last week’s federal budget, the Conservative government also announced $15 million over three years for the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) for its new job-creation strategy.

Still, stakeholders say, the majority of disabled Canadians are under-employed or unemployed.

About one in seven Canadians are mentally or physically disabled. The most common types of disabilities among adults are pain-related, mobility or agility issues, the report states.

Laurie Beachell, the national co-ordinator for the Council of Canadians With Disabilities, said the report also pays short shrift to Canada’s aboriginal community.

“The federal government has direct responsibility for people on reserves,” said Beachell.

The incidence of disabilities among aboriginal Canadians is higher than the norm, he added — “almost three times higher in some age brackets” due to poverty and substance abuse issues.

“On my first read, I just thought: ’This is a population that’s in really dire circumstances, and much more needs to be done,”’ Beachell said.

He also chastised the government for failing to adhere to Article 33 of the UN convention on disabled people that requires Canada to designate an independent monitoring mechanism to “promote, protect and monitor” the implementation of the convention.

The report states that Canada “implements this article at both the federal and provincial/territorial levels through a variety of mechanisms such as courts, human rights commissions and tribunals, public guardians, ombudspersons and intergovernmental bodies.”

Other countries, including the U.K., Germany, France, New Zealand and Australia, have designated their national human rights bodies as their independent monitoring agency, but Canada has failed to appoint the Canadian Human Rights Commission to the role.

“This convention was the first to require the naming of a monitoring body, and the government has chosen not to do so, it’s chosen not to name the Human Rights Commission or another body,” Beachell said.

“Instead, it simply sets forward a bit of a dog’s breakfast.”

Just Posted

Gesundheit! Stifling a sneeze can cause injuries in rare cases, experts say

TORONTO — With cases of flu continuing to rise in Canada, there’s… Continue reading

‘Reprehensible’: Trudeau abortion policy raises ire of U.S. right

WASHINGTON — In what’s almost certainly a first in the lengthy history… Continue reading

Japan public TV sends mistaken North Korean missile alert

TOKYO — Japan’s public broadcaster mistakenly sent an alert warning citizens of… Continue reading

‘I shouldn’t have to have a husband:’ Winnipeg woman criticizes men-only club

WINNIPEG — A former chair of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce says… Continue reading

Replay Red Deer Jan. 14: Watch news highlights in pictures

Stories mentioned: Red Deer RCMP seize large quantity of cocaine: Read more… Continue reading

Advocate poll takers oppose plastic bag ban

Red Deer Advocate readers like their plastic bags. In an Advocate poll,… Continue reading

Photo: Chilly work in Veterans’ Park

What a chilly job but somebody has to do it.… Continue reading

Boy, 15, one of three hit in Vancouver shooting

Police believe a man in his 20s was the target of the shooting

UBCO psychology professor placed under supervision with focus on “boundary issues”

Dr. Stephen Porter has stepped aside from his teaching duties

Alberta elementary school teacher arrested on child porn charges

Investigators charged a 44-year-old Pincher Creek man with possessing, accessing, and distributing child pornography

Report: Health problems could arise as Alaska warms

Climate change in Alaska has the potential to create serious physical and… Continue reading

U.S. cold snap was a freak of nature, quick analysis finds

Consider this cold comfort: A quick study of the brutal American cold… Continue reading

Canadian Kennel Club seeking to add 12 more dogs to its pack

2018’s incoming class could include the Portuguese sheepdog, Tibetan mastiff, rat terrier and Spanish water dog

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month