Guide to Disability Rights in Canada

Over the course of the past century, Canadians with disabilities have had to overcome many obstacles. They have had to overcome accessibility issues in the workplace, accessibility of schools, access to public buildings and in many other manners. Persons with disabilities have had to combat difficulties because of vision, mobility, mental health and other issues.

The disabled have had to endure many physical obstacles, and also problems with the public not understanding the difficulties that the disabled have had to face. For many years, the disabled were faced with environmental obstacles such as stairs, written notices and signs, and other similar physical difficulties. In addition, because the public did not know about the disabled and the problems that they faced, the disabled were often discriminated against.

The disabled faced a number of issues through the years and in the 1970’s, the Canadian Government realized the difficulties that the disabled faced. The government enacted the first law that gave the disabled specific rights. The Canadian Human Rights Act gave all Canadians equal rights on the basis of sex, race, nationality and disability. This legislature gave all Canadians the same rights under the law, which was a needed step.

In 1977 to address the needs of all people the Canadian Human Rights Act was passed. It brought to light the need for all Canadian citizens to be treated equally, but it did not specifically address the needs of the disabled. In the 1970’s the American government started to address the needs of the disabled, and because of this, the Canadian government also began to help the disabled.

In the subsequent years, several significant developments occurred which led to positive changes for the disabled. Some of the notable developments include the formation of the Coalition of Provincial Organizations of the Handicapped, which gave the disabled a central voice in helping the disabled, and act as a spokesman with the government. Another key date was in 1981, when the International Year of the Disabled was established. This helped get the word out about the problems that are facing disabled persons. And, another key moment in the battle to get the disabled help was the creation of the Obstacles Report, which was based on an investigation into the troubles that people with disabilities faced. From the investigations a list of problem areas were identified.

Based on the findings of these reports, the Canadian Government introduced legislation aimed at helping the disabled. These include the Blind Persons Act and the Employment Equity Act among others.

While the struggles of the disabled is a continuing effort, the Canadian Government has taken steps in ensuring that the disabled are treated fairly, and that they are given every legal opportunity to have the same life as non-disabled. While the disabled still need to overcome their disabilities, the laws in effect can help them achieve their goals.