Statement from the Green Party of Canada for International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The Green Party of Canada today wishes to recognize all those living with disabilities, both in Canada and around the world, and in honour of this year’s theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities, call on our government and Canadian society as a whole to do more to “Break Barriers and Open Doors for an inclusive society and development for all.”

Every day, people with disabilities confront myriad physical, social, economic and attitudinal barriers that exclude them from participating fully in mainstream society. As a result, they and their families live with disproportionate levels of poverty and social exclusion.

The Green Party of Canada supports a more inclusive Canadian society, where everyone’s unique strengths and abilities are honoured. Canadians with disabilities are too often exiled to inadequate, stigmatizing and ineffective systems of income support that were never designed to address their real income needs.

The Canadian Association for Community Living states that of the 500,000 working-age people with intellectual disabilities in Canada, most live in poverty and only 25% are employed. Canadians with disabilities are ready, willing and able to contribute to contribute to the Canadian labour market.

The Canadian government must commit to investing in better support systems, and must do more to break down the barriers preventing Canadians living with disabilities from fully engaging with and contributing to community life.

The Green Party supports greater access to adapted social housing, improved infrastructure for accessibility tools, and more stringent enforcement of the Employment Equity Act to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal opportunity to long-term employment.