Disability Rights Advocates Fights Immigration Requirements

The Globe and Mail reported on November 19th, that The Council of Canadians with Disabilities, a national advocacy group, is pushing for the government to repeal immigration criteria that it calls discriminatory toward people with disabilities.

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities is calling for the repeal of a provision that bars immigrants with disabilities from settling in Canada on grounds that they could place too much demand on the country\’s medical system. The group contends the practice is discriminatory and based on outdated, stereotypical ideas around disability.

The council wants the government to drop the requirement from the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make sure disabled people are included in crafting a new, more inclusive procedure. The council will be among several groups speaking this week before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

Council First Vice-Chair John Rae says disability rights advocates don\’t often get a seat at the table at the inception of a new policy, and the result often is that changes must be made later to address their uniquely complex needs. According to Rae, the requirement \”is very demeaning because it assumes that persons with disabilities are inherently a burden on society.\”  He said Canada\’s current laws also run counter to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabilities, which the government has signed on to.

This action will also help the Council fight for more involvement in the design, development and implementation of legislation and programs. Where in the past decisions are made and then need to be retracted – the Council wants their involvement to be at the beginning when there\’s still time to positively impact upon what is being developed.

To read the full article and follow this story, please visit the original Globe and Mail article.