In May 2008, the United Nations adopted a treaty which was supposed to defend the rights of individuals living with a disability and ensure a certain amount of “legal exposure.”
It was found that the existing laws appeared to include individuals living with a disability, but this was not what was being practiced. This situation has therefore fostered discrimination against persons with disabilities in the performance of their daily activities. The Convention was ratified by the Canadian government on March 11, 2010.
The purpose of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”
The principles covered by this convention are:
1. Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons;
3. Full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
4. Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity;
5. Equality of opportunity;
7. Equality between men and women;
8. Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.
This convention does not only put emphasis on physical accessibility, but on equal opportunity, removing social and legal obstacles which prevent a person with a disability from growing. This agreement was signed by the Canadian government on March 30, 2007 and ratified March 11, 2010.
It is important to know that the ratification of this convention does not involve a systematic application of the provisions addressed in the treaty. The harmonization of laws and the establishment of structures to promote the application of these laws require time. In Canada’s case, education is a provincial responsibility.
Since the convention was signed by the federal system, it must be adopted by the parliaments of every province. In Quebec, the National Assembly voted in favour of this agreement.
It therefore has committed itself to harmonize the agreement with provincial legislation. It may be that the current legislations are not yet adjusted to the Convention. However, you need to know what steps are being taken by the Convention to ensure equal access to education for all at the provincial level.
Source: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml