On December 3 we recognize the annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a day to bring awareness and understanding to the issues that affect the lives of persons with disabilities every day. It’s also a day to hold the government to account for their responsibilities to persons with disabilities from coast to coast to coast.
Canada ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in March 2010. However, since then Canada has done little to implement or monitor the treaty, and has no plan to do so. Worse yet, this government seems to be actively taking steps to undermine persons with disabilities, by making changes to employment insurance entitlements, changes to the Canada health transfers payments, and cuts to veterans benefits.
Most recently, a report found that hundreds of the most severely disabled veterans will take a financial hit after they turn 65 because they do not have military pensions and some of their charter benefits will end. To compound the problem, the government is closing nine Veterans Affairs Canada offices, serving more over 17,000 veterans, severing access to crucial veteran’s services in cities including Saskatoon and Brandon.
Members are doing their part to condemn these actions, by speaking out online and in their communities. Hundreds of PSAC members also gathered in Toronto last month for the PSAC Equity Conferences, with special attention on Bill C-4 and the affect of jobs cuts on members with disabilities.
PSAC is committed to ensuring accessibility and equity for members with disabilities and will continue to advocate for persons will disabilities inside and outside the workplace.