Vancouver-The following is a statement from BCFED president Irene Lanzinger:
“One of the fundamental missions of the BC Federation of Labour and the labour movement in our province is to strive to make all workplaces safe for workers with disabilities.
So on this important date, December 3, we take time to reflect on the challenges faced by people living with disabilities and what still needs to be done to ensure that these workers are being accommodated in workplaces and in the community.
The United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities was declared in 1992. The day mobilizes awareness and support for the right of people with disabilities to live with dignity, quality of life, and full integration into the political, social, economic and cultural fabric of our society.
This year, the UN and non-governmental organizations are assessing how signatory countries are doing with the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Canada became a signatory to the convention in 2010. And a measure of how we are meeting our obligations is highlighted in the most recent annual report of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
This report found that employment rates for persons with disabilities is 49%, compared to 79% of those who do not have a disability. Further, it found that a disturbing 58% of all complaints received by the Human Rights Commission were on the grounds of disability. Clearly, Canada has significant work to do if it is going to honour its implementation commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The BCFED is marking December 3 this year by co-sponsoring a free event Saturday from 12 to 3 pm at the Inn at the Quay in New Westminster to educate the community on issues facing people with disabilities and to celebrate their achievements. The event will feature a keynote presentation by Kara Stanley, author of Fallen: A trauma, a marriage, and the transformative power of music, music by Simon Paradis and Joe Stanton, and other special guests.
This is a beginning towards educating ourselves about the challenges and barriers to participation experienced by our members and people with disabilities. We are proud to host this event and hope many people will come to help us celebrate.”