What the CRPD Means for Disability and Employment
Thursday, November 29, 2012
The Canadian government ratified the CRPD in 2010, joining 125 other countries who have committed to equality for people with disabilities. By ratifying the treaty, Canada has agreed to act and monitor progress in achieving the commitments of the treaty. This means Canada must act to ensure appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the CRPD, and to "take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices that constitute discrimination against people with disabilities."
As an organization committed to assisting persons with disabilities find meaningful employment, and helping employers to be more inclusive, we know first hand of the many barriers which deny persons the right to work. The CRPD is an important treaty as it calls for laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace. However, the CRPD recognizes that promoting rights is much more than the prohibition of discrimination and requires certain duties of employers. These include providing barrier free workplaces that follow the principles of universal design and provide reasonable accommodations. The CRPD also requires governments to actively promote and provide opportunities and programs for persons with disabilities as well.
Article 27 of the CRPD deals specifically with employment and demands the parties to the treaty take these appropriate steps to protect the rights of persons with disabilities:
- Prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, continuance of employment, career advancement and safe and healthy working conditions;
- Protect the rights of persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others, to just and favourable conditions of work, including equal opportunities and equal remuneration for work of equal value, safe and healthy working conditions, including protection from harassment, and the redress of grievances;
- Ensure that persons with disabilities are able to exercise their labour and trade union rights on an equal basis with others;
- Enable persons with disabilities to have effective access to general technical and vocational guidance programmes, placement services and vocational and continuing training;
- Promote employment opportunities and career advancement for persons with disabilities in the labour market, as well as assistance in finding, obtaining, maintaining and returning to employment;
- Promote opportunities for self-employment, entrepreneurship, the development of cooperative and starting one's own business.
- Ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to persons with disabilities in the workplace.
- Promote the acquisition by persons with disabilities of work experience in the open labour market.
- Promote vocational and professional rehabilitation, job retention and return-to-work programmes for persons with disabilities.