Monitoring the Rights of People with Disabilities
About the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international agreement. It is sometimes called the "CRPD" or the "Convention."
This agreement promotes and protects human rights for people with disabilities. Canada agreed to follow the rules of the Convention in 2010. Many groups developed the Convention, including governments working with people with disabilities, organizations for people with disabilities and human rights commissions, among others.
The Convention has 50 articles. Articles explain what rights people with disabilities have under the Convention. These Articles cover many parts of a person’s life. For example:
- the right to live free from discrimination
- the right to an inclusive education
- the right to employment
- the right to make one’s own decisions
The Commission's job is to make sure that Canada is fulfilling these rights.
Monitoring the CRPD in Canada
Who we are
The Canadian Human Rights Commission is responsible for monitoring Canada's implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention promotes and protects human rights for people with disabilities.
The Commission is in charge of keeping track of, or monitoring, how the Convention is put into action in Canada. It is the Commission's job to identify gaps and problems that need to be fixed.
Monitoring the Convention is an important responsibility. We involve other people and groups in our monitoring work. We work with people with disabilities, with organizations that advocate on their behalf, and with families and caregivers of people with disabilities. Together, we work to make sure Canada follows the rules of the Convention.
What we do
In 2019, the Canadian Human Rights Commission became responsible for monitoring Canada's implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ("CRPD" or the "Convention"). When we do this monitoring work, we are officially called the National Monitoring Mechanism (NMM).
Monitoring means we will track how the Convention is put into action in Canada. It also means that it is the Commission's job to identify gaps and problems that need to be fixed.
To do this monitoring work, we will work in close collaboration with people with disabilities, with organizations that advocate on their behalf, and with families and caregivers of people with disabilities. The monitoring work should be meaningful for people with disabilities, and contribute to real change.
We are on a journey together with people with disabilities to improve their rights. The first step of the monitoring work was to engage with people with disabilities in Canada. This helped us to listen and learn about their experiences and points of view. In the next step of the monitoring process, we are moving forward with a plan for how we will take action on what people told us. This plan requires us to work together to move forward in our journey.
How we monitor
Listening and learning
"We need to know that the Convention exists. The general population needs to be more familiar with it." – Dialogue session participant
In 2020, the Commission, in its role as the NMM, undertook a public engagement process with people with disabilities across Canada, with organizations that advocate on their behalf, and with families and caregivers of people with disabilities. The process included an online survey and small online dialogue sessions. This allowed us to hear about the experiences of people with disabilities in Canada. We learned about the barriers and discrimination they face. We also learned what can be done to reduce and remove those barriers.
People also gave us their views on what the monitoring process should look like, who should be involved, what information should be collected, how that information should be shared and what supports they might need to take part in the Commission's monitoring work.
Almost 3,000 people took part in this engagement process, and a majority identified as having a disability.
We know that not everybody was able to take part in this process. But we will continue to engage with as many people as we can. Diverse ideas and views will make the monitoring process better.
The information below summarizes what people shared during the public engagement process. This information is very important. It will guide how the Commission does its work and makes plans. It will help us know what to monitor and how. If you would like to learn more about what we heard, please click on your preferred format below.
Executive Summary: Easy read
Full Report: Plain Language
Infographics: With image description
One thing came through loud and clear in our engagement process: People want real action that will make a difference in their day-to-day lives.
In order to do this, the Commission, in its role as the NMM, has developed an Action Plan. This Action Plan is directly informed by what people told us in our public engagement process in 2020. This is where people from across Canada provided their views on both what we should monitor and how we should conduct our monitoring work. The Action Plan is an evergreen document that will evolve over time and with input from partners.
The Action Plan establishes that the top three priorities of the NMM are poverty, housing, and work and employment.
It also provides broad direction on how the NMM is going to do its monitoring work, which includes who should be involved, what information will be collected, how that information should be shared, and what supports might be needed for others to take part in the monitoring.
If you would like to learn more about the Action Plan, please click on your preferred format below. The Action Plan includes Sign language videos and closed captioning. It can also be read with a screen reader.
Read the four (4) key areas of the Action Plan
Action Plan: HTML with ASL and closed-captioned videos
Action Plan: PDF
Our monitoring work at the United Nations
The Canadian Human Rights Commission is Canada's national human rights institution (NHRI). This means it is the Commission's job to protect, monitor, and promote human rights in Canada. If Canada does something that will harm the human rights of people in Canada, it is the Commission's job to speak out on these problems. In other words, we are Canada's human rights watchdog.
As Canada's NHRI, the Commission speaks at various councils and committees, and is responsible for monitoring and reporting on whether Canada is following the rules of the international human rights agreements that Canada has agreed to follow. The Commission is also responsible for holding the Government of Canada to account to ensure continued progress in the promotion and protection of human rights. Through this work, the Commission highlights concerns related to disability rights, as well as other concerns.
The Commission does this by working with the international human rights system in a variety of ways, including by:
- Preparing submissions and making statements to United Nations (UN) Treaty Bodies (which are committees of experts that monitor how countries are following the rules of international human rights agreements) during their review of Canada. The UN Treaty Bodies we share information with are:
- The Human Rights Committee
- The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
- The Committee against Torture
- The Committee on the Rights of the Child
- The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- Preparing submissions and making statements during Canada's Universal Periodic Review (which is where the human rights record of Canada is reviewed by other countries)
- Making statements to the UN Human Rights Council (which is a body within the United Nations responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the world) and participating in the work of the Special Procedures (which are independent human rights experts, or groups of experts, who report and advise on human rights issues)
- Interacting with other NHRIs individually and through the Global Alliance of NHRIs and its regional network, the Network of NHRIs of the Americas
- Interacting with other networks of NHRIs such as the Commonwealth and the Francophonie
Resources and more information
Learn more about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Learn more about the Commission's work on the Accessible Canada Act
Submit a human rights complaint to the Commission
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