From 1998 to 2014, Inclusion Canada, in partnership with People First of Canada (PFC) and provincial/territorial Associations for Community Living (PTACLs), delivered the Community Inclusion Initiative (CII) – a national community development initiative promoting the inclusion, full participation and citizenship of Canadians with intellectual disabilities and their families. The goal of CII was to ‘assist communities to develop the capacities they require to successfully include people with intellectual disabilities in ways that promote their roles as full citizens’. The initiative focused on affecting needed changes in policies and practices across community sectors, bringing innovation to these sectors through a process of changing values, policies, and/or practices at municipal, regional, and provincial/territorial levels. The project enhanced the lives of many thousands of individuals and families in communities, large and small, throughout this country.
In 2006, Inclusion Canada partnered with the Council of Canadians with Disabilities to launch a national initiative called End Exclusion. The initiative has resulted in an annual gathering in Ottawa and the development of a Declaration for an Inclusive and Accessible Canada as well as a National Action Plan on Disability. End Exclusion 2010 provided an opportunity for participants to learn about broader policy reduction efforts including presentations from Campaign 2000 and Canada without Poverty. End Exclusion 2010 also marked the launch of the Caledon Institute of Social Policy paper “A Basic Income Plan for Canadians with Severe Disabilities.” This work provided the foundation for Inclusion Canada’s – and others in the disability movement – work on income security that continues today.
Inclusion Canada has a long history of disability-specific platform analysis across political parties on a Federal level. Keeping inclusive policies on the agenda during Federal Election Campaigns is vital to the progress of the disability movement in Canada. These efforts aid in and can significantly influence the platform development of mainstream political parties, which later serve as measures to keep political parties accountable. Ensuring that the voices of people with an intellectual disability and their families are heard is essential to building safe and inclusive communities. Our efforts also provide valuable resources for families and advocates on essential platform issues. Inclusion Canada does not endorse a particular party or platform; the purpose of our analysis is to give an overview of commitments to persons with disabilities. Beyond these activities, Inclusion Canada also develops election materials for individuals to use and share with local candidates.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the first legally binding international treaty protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. The CRPD was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006. The CRPD, in 50 articles, clearly articulates what existing human rights mean within a disability context and establishes reporting and monitoring procedures for States Parties. Additionally, there is an Optional Protocol which provides for a complaints mechanism, and allows groups and individuals, after having exhausted all national resources, to have the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities consider a claim that a State Party has violated the provisions in the CRPD.
Inclusion Canada, as a national member of Inclusion International, was an active participant in the negotiation of the CRPD. Canada signed the CRPD on March 30, 2007 and ratified the Convention in March of 2010. In December 2016, Canada announced it would take steps necessary to ratify the Optional Protocol of the CRPD.
Inclusion Canada continues to work with the disability movement and the federal government in making the CRPD a reality in Canada. This work includes civil society monitoring and reporting to the UN on Canada’s progress in implementing the Convention.
In 2013, Inclusion Canada, in partnership with Provincial Associations for Community Living and local residential service provider agencies in Ontario, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and New Brunswick, undertook the My Home – My Choice (MHMC) project. MHMC was a three year, multi-stakeholder initiative that assisted six (6) residential service providers to begin an agency transformation process and in turn increase their capacity to assist adults with intellectual disabilities and more complex needs to move from group home arrangements to more individualized supported living options in the community. Efforts to enable access to a much wider array of housing and other opportunities in the community continues today throughout the Inclusion Canada federation, and the MHMC served as a foundation from which to launch the larger My Home My Community Initiative.
No Excuses is a national TV, radio, and newspaper campaign starring two young Canadians with intellectual disabilities. The purpose of the campaign was to make all Canadians aware that students with intellectual disabilities’ place is in the classroom along with all other children.
We know inclusive education is better for all children. Children learn what they experience. Inclusive education settings enable children without disabilities to learn about diversity as well as respecting and valuing all people. When children with disabilities learn alongside their peers, they are more likely to continue in education, get a job, and be included and valued in their communities. For more about the benefits of inclusion education for all, visit www.inclusiveeducation.ca