The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the CRPD) is an international treaty that was adopted in 2006 to help protect the rights of people with disabilities around the world. Canada and 183 other states parties have accepted the legal obligations contained in the CRPD.
These obligations include ensuring there are national laws to prevent discrimination, eliminating barriers to accessibility, and working to promote the capabilities and contributions of people with disabilities.
The CRPD also includes processes to make sure that countries are meeting these obligations. Canada and other countries must regularly report to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to explain what they are doing to make sure that people with disabilities can fully exercise their rights. In Canada, the Canadian Human Rights Commission also monitors how well Canada is implementing the CRPD.
Canada and 99 other states parties have also signed on to the Optional Protocol to the CRPD. The Optional Protocol creates a process for people to make complaints directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Many Canadians who live with disabilities face discrimination and other challenges in fully accessing their rights. People with disabilities are also more likely to experience homelessness, poverty and imprisonment. Some population groups, including Indigenous peoples, face higher rates of disabilities and are also more likely to face discrimination.
To remedy some of these issues, governments in Canada have taken steps to improve accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities. For example, the Accessible Canada Act aims to improve the way that the Government of Canada and organizations within federal jurisdiction address accessibility and interact with Canadians with disabilities. The CRPD helps to keep Canada and other countries on track in upholding and advancing the rights of people with disabilities.
Read the full text of the HillStudy: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: An Overview
By Robert Mason and Laura Munn-Rivard, Library of Parliament