Closing Remarks for the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility at the Building an Inclusive Canada: A National Disability Summit Ottawa, Ontario May 9, 2019

Close up photo of a bronze statuette of a blindfolded woman holding out the scales of justice in her right hand. Blurred in the background is the flag of Canada.

Hello everyone,

Here we are, already at the very end of the Summit.

Thank you so much for your participation. Over the past two days I’ve seen you all come together and share your ideas and perspectives on how we can make Canada more accessible and more inclusive for persons with disabilities.

Each and every one of you were key to making this Summit a success. You are all part of a family who sees differences and disabilities as things that make Canada unique, creative and innovative.

I’m truly inspired and energized by what has happened here.

Ce sommet m’a inspiré et m’a motivé. Et cela, c’est grâce à vous tous.

Pause

I ended my speech yesterday by asking ‘What’s next?’, ‘What now?’ and ‘Where do we go from here?’.

Through the break-out sessions, panel discussions and keynote speeches of the Summit, I think we can all agree that the answers to those questions are all a bit clearer.

We know were heading towards a Canada where barriers for persons with disabilities are eliminated. A Canada where persons with disabilities have a seat at the table, and a Canada that is inclusive by design.

I know we’ll get there. I know this because I’ve seen how when we work together, we accomplish so much.

Take the proposed Accessible Canada Act, designed by persons with disabilities for persons with disabilities, and ultimately all Canadians. It took an entire community to make this piece of legislation the best it could be. As we approach the finish line, I reflect on the partnerships and milestones we’ve reached along the way.

It takes a solid foundation, such as Canada’s disability community, to create a home where all feel welcome, have equal chances at success and live a dignified life.

I hope you leave this Summit not only inspired, but energized.

We know that more Canadians than ever are listening. The Prime Minister is listening. Members of Parliament are listening. Young people are listening.

People care and people are turning to us to lead the way.
Momentum is building. We need to work closer now more than ever.

Political call to action [Heading into an election year, platform decisions, keeping parties accountable, having voices heard, strong leadership]

I am pleased to announce that we will be launching, during National AccessAbility Week at the end of the month, a series of new calls for proposals.

The first will go towards funding to support the leadership of Canadian youth with disabilities. This is aimed at promoting the development of the next generation of youth leaders by building cross-sectorial linkages and collaboration between organizations from within and outside the disability community. It’s about advancing broad social inclusion objectives that have a long-term impact on the leaders of tomorrow.

We will also be announcing a call for proposal for funding to support the leadership of Indigenous Peoples with disabilities to have a better understanding and awareness of the diverse needs and realities of Indigenous Peoples with disabilities. Women, Indigenous Peoples, and visible minorities with disabilities, for example, often experience overlapping disadvantages due to the intersection of multiple identity factors.

As a result, persons with disabilities are impacted by Government initiatives in different ways. Our ability to understand intersectionality allows us to see the complexity of our differences. In doing so, it ensures that we are able to truly identify and remove barriers to participation for all Canadians in our society. This call for proposal ensures we are promoting collaboration between Indigenous organizations and civil society in support of the UNCRPD.

And last but not least, we will be making a call for proposals for funding to develop and test innovative approaches and practices to improve the financial security of persons with disabilities.

Il est important d’appuyer la sécurité financière des personnes en situation de handicap avec des solutions pratiques et innovantes au niveau communautaire. Il faut prendre en considération des choses comme l’accès au transport et mettre l’accent sur la réduction des coûts liés aux services publics ou informatiques pour les entrepreneurs ou les travailleurs.

These are all call for proposals that are about continuing the valuable conversations you’ve been having beyond today and this Summit. This will also contribute to advancing economic inclusion objectives by encouraging innovative, ground-up and partnership-based approaches.

Closing

As I conclude this speech, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to a leading figure in the disability community, Jean Vanier, who passed away on May 7th. The son of former Governor General Georges P. Vanier, Jean Vanier is best known as the founder of L’Arche, the international network of communities where persons with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together. He was a pioneer of true social inclusion whose vision mirrors the very reason for our gathering in Ottawa over the last two days. We will remember him for his tireless devotion to creating a more inclusive society that has and will continue to transform the lives of countless people around the world.

Together we vow to keep the momentum going.

The road is long and not always easy. This work can be exhausting, but we must continue to take concrete action to advance full accessibility and inclusion.

Nous avons faits des progrès importants vers la réalisation d’un Canada accessible, mais il reste encore beaucoup à faire afin que notre pays soit réellement inclusif.

Speaking of concrete action, May is an active month for accessibility and inclusion – as you all very likely know.

National AccessAbility Week is right around the corner, taking place from May 26 to June 1, 2019.

I hope you will take part in celebrating the contributions persons with disabilities make to our communities, and help spread awareness on the need for greater access and inclusion in Canada.

Again, thank you so much for spending the past two days with us.

Let’s continue working together to create a truly accessible and inclusive Canada.

Thank you for all your hard work. Merci.

Photo Alt: Close up photo of a bronze statuette of a blindfolded woman holding out the scales of justice in her right hand. Blurred in the background is the flag of Canada.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.