Did You Know?

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Canada ratified the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on March 11, 2010, after consultations with the provinces and territories, Aboriginal self-governments, and Canadians – particularly those from the disability community.

The Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 13, 2006. Canada was one of the first countries to sign the Convention on March 30, 2007.  By signing the Convention, Canada was showing that it would work towards its ratification and not act contrary to the principles of the Convention.  With ratification, Canada committed to apply the rights found in the Convention in Canada. Canada is also bound by the Convention under international law.

The main obligation of the Convention is to protect the rights to equality and non-discrimination of persons with disabilities.  No other international human rights Convention within the UN system, except for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (under Article 23), clearly recognizes the need to protect individuals against discrimination on the grounds of disability.

The Convention builds on existing international human rights Conventions and explains the types of actions countries should take to promote, protect, and ensure that rights are enjoyed by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.  The Convention calls on States Parties (countries that have ratified the Convention) to ensure non-discrimination for persons with disabilities in a variety of areas, including: freedom of expression and opinion, respect for home and the family, education, health, employment, access to services, etc.

The Convention complements Canada’s existing equality and non-discrimination protection for persons with disabilities. For example, equality rights are guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and in federal, provincial and territorial human rights legislation.  Canada also implements the Convention through the many policies and programs aimed at providing access and services to persons with disabilities. 

As required by the Convention, the United Nations created a special committee – the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – to monitor implementation of the Convention by States Parties.  The Committee monitors implementation by reviewing reports that are submitted by States Parties.  These reports must be submitted to the Committee every four years.  Canada’s first report will be submitted to the United Nations in 2012 (see Article 35).

Important links: