Canada’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Report

Canada’s first report on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was released today. I looked through it and I can’t say that there’s much new in it at all.

It cites Statscan’s 2006 PALS data on disabilities, in which adults’ disabilities fall into 11 categories: hearing, seeing, speech, mobility, agility, pain, learning, memory, developmental, psychological and other. Crohn’s could fall under “pain” and “other” — and maybe some of the other categories around the time of a bad flare and/or hospital stay — but “other” as a category doesn’t say much. It’s also the smallest category, representing 0.5% of the population.

The main thrust of the report is that Canada’s Office for Disability Issues (which doesn’t even seem to have its own website) is engaging with other bodies to improve life for Canadians with disabilities. Exactly how it will do this is not spelled out.

The report also describes the services in place for people with disabilities in different provinces. I looked only in detail at Ontario, because that’s where I live. The most detail is provided in the sections on mobility and accessibility as well as access to education and employment. These are important topics, but, once again, chronic and intermittently serious illnesses, such as Crohn’s, slip through the cracks — none of the support measures described in the document are set up to help people cope with intermittent illnesses.

Maybe in the next phase of development, the Office for Disability Issues will also take some time to look at the problems I’ve been discussing on this blog, such as how to get a job when you have the skills but can’t guarantee good attendance, or how to stay healthy and fight for coverage when the Exceptional Access Program decides to stop paying for the medicine that’s been keeping you alive.

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