Canada NewsWire, TORONTO, Sept. 24, 2015

The leaders of Canada’s largest disability organizations serving upwards of four million Canadians with disabilities are urging government leaders, influencers and the public to support a new non-partisan campaign to introduce federal legislation to ensure accessibility, inclusion and equal opportunity for Canadians with disabilities, and to fulfill Canada’s commitments to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

They collectively endorse Barrier-Free Canada and a call to action to create a Canadians with Disabilities Act.

Barrier-Free Canada is an initiative to advocate for enactment of a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act, a law that will enable people with disabilities to live to their full potential. The Canadians with Disabilities Act would apply to all persons in Canada with disabilities whether visible (physical) or invisible (learning and/or intellectual, mental, sensory or mental health) and whether episodic or permanent.

Today, more than four million Canadians live with some form of disability. Due to the aging population, this number will grow to more than nine million over the next 15 years. Aging is the biggest cause of disability. That means that by 2030, 1 in 5 people will have a disability.

Rick Hansen Foundation, CNIB, March of Dimes Canada, Canadian Hearing Society, Spinal Cord Injury Canada, Muscular Dystrophy Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Canadian Disability Policy Alliance, Every Canadian Counts, ARCH Disability Law Centre, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, Canadian Association for Community Living, and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities together have called on Canada’s political leaders in this federal election to commit to creating a Canadians with Disabilities Act.

David Lepofsky, a member of Barrier-Free Canada’s steering committee, and a lawyer who is blind says, “We live in a world that’s not designed for us; we live in a society that’s full of barriers, legal, bureaucratic and attitudinal. We need to get rid of those barriers so that we can all fully participate. Twenty five years ago the U.S. enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s time for Canada to catch up!”

“We strongly urge all parties to support the enactment of legislation to make accessibility and inclusion a reality throughout Canada for the benefit of Canadians with disabilities, their families and a stronger Canada. In this hotly-contested and close election, every issue and every voter counts,” says Lepofsky.

On September 29th there will be a Federal Election Forum where a Canadians with Disabilities Act will be discussed, starting at 6pm at the Ryerson Student Learning Centre, 341 Yonge Street, Toronto


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