A Vision for an Accessible and Inclusive Canada for Persons with Disabilities

Addressing the systemic discriminations facing persons living with disabilities requires the implementation of a number of policies based on the core principles of universal access, equality of opportunity, and inclusive citizenship.

Persons with disabilities make up over 14% of the Canadian population but are faced with disproportionate rates of poverty and unemployment. Without concrete federal government leadership addressing this inequality, the social and economic injustices will only get worse.

I am committed to working with the disability community, and provincial, territorial and local governments to ensure persons living with disabilities are fully supported by all levels of government.

Committing to a full implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and optional protocol.

Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act so that provisions in it can no longer be used to disqualify immigration by persons with disabilities.

Ensuring that the federal government become a model employer of choice for persons with disabilities by developing and implementing hiring and retention policies and programs that improve upon  those successfully implemented by states such as California, Illinois, New York, and Vermont. These programs focus on ensuring that persons with disabilities and the institutions in which they work are provided with the tools and resources they need to collaboratively develop solutions within an inclusive, positive, bias free working environment.

Working with provinces, municipalities, and community representatives of persons with disabilities to develop a National Disability Strategy which would actively seek to remove barriers related to issues such as access to adaptive technologies, healthcare, employment, housing, transportation, education, and income.

Working with provinces, municipalities, and community representatives of persons with disabilities to create or expand assured income program for persons with disabilities.

Reworking the tax credit system to ensure that persons with disabilities are not unfairly taxed and benefit by expanding disability benefits by replacing the non-refundable Disability Tax Credit with a refundable Canada Disability Benefit more generous to those on lower incomes.

Making American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes du Québéc (LSQ) available at all federal government offices from coast to coast to coast.

Working in collaboration with the disability community and provincial governments to co-develop a Canada wide Disability Income Program available to persons living with disabilities.

Improving the Employment Equity Act to encourage and reward the successful hiring, retention, and advancement of persons with disabilities in federally regulated sectors.

Ensuring that the federal NDP is open and accessible to persons with disabilities, so that they can fully participate in party activities. Under my leadership, Canada’s NDP will be accessible to anyone who wants to make a difference and help build a better world. One of the surest ways to address the systemic issues facing persons with disabilities is to ensure that our party and our movement is an accessible place for everyone. Building a party that is more inclusive of the voices of persons with disabilities in party leadership roles, particularly surrounding issues of concern for disabled persons, is an important first step towards long-term problem solving.  

To do this, party policy will be amended so that:

  • All party meetings and candidate campaign offices would be required to be physically accessible to all members.
  • Captioning would be required for all party videos and mandatory American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation at party conventions, nomination meetings, and annual general meetings.
  • Any barriers created by costs related to disability incurred by candidates for nomination, and election candidates will be covered by the party, eliminating a barrier to participation in the political process.
  • Staff at NDP and MP constituency offices are representative of the diverse constituency of Canada, including persons with disabilities.