View of participants sitting the United Nations General Assembly in NYC.

The 17th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD (COSP17) took place June 11-13th 2024 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, bringing together more than 130 country delegations and hundreds of national and international human rights institutions and civil society organizations to discuss progress on the implementation of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Canada ratified the CRPD in 2010, which commits the federal government to work to realize all of the rights and protections outlined in the articles of the Convention.


Since 2008, the UN organizes COSP annually to fulfill one of the commitments of the Convention. Article 40 of the Convention says “the States Parties shall meet regularly in a Conference of States Parties in order to consider any matter with regard to the implementation of the present Convention.”

Held under the theme ‘Rethinking disability inclusion in the current international juncture and ahead of the Summit of the Future’, COSP17 also focused on sub-themes of technology innovations, people with disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies, and decent work and sustainable livelihood. 

Civil Society Forum

A highlight of COSP is the Civil Society Forum, held the day before COSP17 on June 10th. The Civil Society Forum is a part of COSP where organizations of people with disabilities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can discuss disability rights and inclusion together.

Robin Acton sits at a desk with an iPad in front of her, speaking into a microphone.

This Forum is an opportunity to talk about current issues and progress towards the CRPD across the globe.

Robin Acton, Past President of the Inclusion Canada Board and person with lived experience, spoke at the Civil Society Forum on the theme of decent work to showcase the success of Inclusion Canada’s Ready, Willing & Able program.

Inclusion Canada’s Delegation

Tara Levandier, Krista Carr, Robin Acton and Kurt Goddard stand in front of a large brass globe art installation at the UN in NYC.

Inclusion Canada’s delegation to COSP included Robin Acton, Krista Carr, Kurt Goddard, and Tara Levandier.

Robin Acton addressed the UN General Assembly, calling attention to Canada’s expansion of medical assistance in dying for people with disabilities and the woefully underfunded Canada Disability Benefit. Watch Robin’s remarks.

Inclusion Canada also hosted an international panel on Article 12, Equal recognition before the law. Legal Capacity Without Borders: The International Impact of Canada’s Legislative Advances in Supported Decision-Making was held virtually as an official side session of COSP. Watch the full webinar.

Robin Acton and Krista Carr stand with a group of Inclusion International members and the Acting President of the International Disability Alliance.

In addition to attending the General Debate, Roundtable Discussions, and side sessions of the general programme, the Inclusion Canada delegation met with Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN Richard Arbeiter to talk about the inclusion of people with disabilities in Canada’s international policy & programs; attended a reception hosted by the Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities and the Government of Canada delegation, including Senior Associate Deputy Minister Tina Namiesniowski and Lorraine Pelot, Director General of the Office for Disability Issues; met with our international federation members and the International Disability Alliance; and, met with the Canadian civil society delegation to discuss Canada’s Parallel Report on the CRPD. 

The Inclusion Canada delegation also attended gatherings to honour the lives of Steve Estey, tireless champion of the CRPD, and Sir Robert Martin, the first person with an intellectual disability to sit on a UN Committee. The absence of these prolific disability advocates was felt by all at COSP, and we will go forth in their memory.

To read more about our work at the UN during COSP, including photos, videos, and quotes from participants, check out our feed on X (formerly Twitter) using #COSP17.