STATEMENT - “Disability rights are human rights,” Canadian Human Rights Commission

December 3, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission

Today, on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, issues this statement:

“Today on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Canadian Human Rights Commission invites all Canadians to reflect on the inequality and barriers that persons with disabilities continue to face in their daily lives.

“A disproportionate number of persons with disabilities live in poverty, and are subject to negative stereotyping, adverse living conditions and discrimination. Persons with disabilities in Canada often do not have the same opportunities as others in areas such as education and employment. Individuals living with mental health disabilities face systemic stigma and discrimination. Their ability to access quality, affordable and appropriate mental health services continues to be a significant issue.

“Accessibility—whether in buildings, transportation, employment, services, technology or communications——remains a pre-eminent concern for persons with disabilities in Canada, and for the Commission.

“The barriers are even greater for persons living in remote areas, particularly in the North, as well as those who are fighting discrimination on more than one front.”

“That’s why we are encouraged by the Government’s intention to bring about real change for people with disabilities through Bill C-81. We believe that this new law will improve life in Canada for persons with disabilities. 

“First, the Accessible Canada Act has the potential to make Canada a world leader in accessibility. It would move accessibility away from a reactive and piece-meal solution to a proactive and holistic one. Federal institutions will have an obligation to eliminate barriers proactively.

“Second, the codification of the Commission’s role in monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will enable us to better hold the Government accountable for fulfilling its obligations.

“We are encouraged by these developments because we all have a right to move through life with freedom and ease. We all have a right to be able to choose a preferred path – free from barriers. We all have a right to thrive and to live full lives.

“Disability rights are human rights.”

— Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E., Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission



Quick Facts

  • 22% of Canadians had at least one disability that limits their daily activity, representing 6.2 million people. (Source: StatsCan)
  • 1 in 4 students with a disability have been bullied in school because of their disability. (Source: CHRC)
  • 1 in 10 students with a disability end their education early because of their disability. (Source: CHRC)
  • 40 per cent of persons with disabilities report their disability has limited their career options. (Source: CHRC)
  • 45 per cent of Canada’s homeless have a physical or mental disability. (Source: Canada Without Poverty)
  • 1 in 5 Canadians, or 20 per cent, will experience a mental illness or problem this year (Source: CMHA)


Stay Connected

Follow us on Twitter @CdnHumanRights and Facebook.
Watch us on YouTube

Media Contacts

Media Relations