Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

November 25, 2010 17:30 ET

Minister Finley Underscores Government of Canada's Commitment to People With Disabilities

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 25, 2010) - The Government of Canada is committed to helping people with disabilities overcome barriers so they can have the same opportunities as all Canadians to contribute to their communities. The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, reaffirmed this commitment today at an event hosted by Independent Living Canada to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of people with disabilities.

"Our government is removing barriers for Canadians with disabilities so they can have equal opportunities to contribute to our economy and communities," said Minister Finley. "The participation of people with disabilities in the Canadian economy is critical to our economic success as a country."

The Government of Canada invests in programs and services to ensure that all Canadians can enjoy full participation in society. Through the 2010 federal budget, the Government improved the Registered Disability Savings Plan to provide Canadians with disabilities and their families with more flexibility when saving for the future. As well, the Government extended the Enabling Accessibility Fund and is providing $45 million over the next three years.

The Independent Living Canada event is being held to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which takes place on December 3 each year. 

Backgrounder

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

In 1992, the United Nations (UN) proclaimed that December 3 of each year would be the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Every year, the UN encourages governmental, non-governmental and private sector organizations to celebrate the occasion.

The theme of this year's celebration, as determined by the UN, is: "Keeping the promise: Mainstreaming disability in the Millennium Development Goals towards 2015 and beyond." As a result, Canadian government officials and members of the disability community will explore how best to move forward with implementation of the ratified Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and how to effectively implement and monitor its provisions.

United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Canada's ratification of the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on March 11, 2010, marked the culmination of seven years of hard work by all levels of government in collaboration with members of the disability community.

Canada was among the first countries to sign the Convention in March 2007. The Convention is an international human rights instrument of the United Nations intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Parties to the Convention are required to promote, protect and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities, and ensure that they enjoy full equality under the law.

Government of Canada's support for people with disabilites

Each year, the Government of Canada invests in programs and services to meet the needs of Canadians with disabilities and is working towards their equal participation in all aspects of life.

Budget 2010 includes several measures to help people with disabilities and their families:

  • Recognizing that families of children with disabilities may not be able to contribute regularly to their Registered Disability Savings Plan, the Government introduced a 10-year carry forward of the Canada Disability Savings Grant and the Canada Disability Savings Bond entitlements.
  • To provide parents with more flexibility in ensuring that their savings may be used to support a child with a disability when they are no longer able to support his or her needs, the Government now allows a deceased taxpayer's Registered Retirement Savings Plan or Registered Retirement Income Fund proceeds to be transferred, on a tax-free basis, to the Registered Disability Savings Plan of a financially dependent child or grandchild with a severe or prolonged disability.
  • To enhance accessibility for people with disabilities, the Government is extending the Enabling Accessibility Fund and providing $45 million over the next three years. The Fund will continue to support small projects that focus on removing barriers and enhancing accessibility. The program will also support mid-sized projects that will allow for retrofits, renovations or new construction of facilities within Canada that house services and programs that emphasize integration of people with disabilities.
  • To build on the successes of our Paralympians and continue to encourage people with disabilities to actively participate in sport, the Government provided $5 million a year over a period of two years to the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

This news release is available in alternative formats on request.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    819-994-2482
    or
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    819-994-5559