COVID-19 Pandemic and Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Library of Parliament has published an analysis of The COVID-19 Pandemic and Rights of Persons with Disabilities:

“The COVID-19 pandemic presents multiple risks to the rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities.”

“Approximately 6.2 million Canadians over the age of 15 live with one or more disabilities. Although definitions vary, the Accessible Canada Act indicates that a disability exists when a person’s impairments interact with barriers in a way that hinders full and equal participation in society.”

“Persons with disabilities are a diverse group with a wide range of abilities and needs. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Convention) – which Canada ratified in 2010 – guarantees their enjoyment of such rights as those to ‘full and effective participation and inclusion in society’ and to ‘the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination.’ In situations of risk, member states also have an obligation under Article 11 of the Convention to take ‘all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities’.”

“These and other rights found in the Convention and in domestic human rights laws are threatened by the pandemic in several ways. This HillNote outlines some of the challenges facing persons with disabilities in Canada during the pandemic, and the potential impact on the health-related and inclusion-related rights of such persons. It will also highlight some positive measures that have been identified both in Canada and internationally to help fulfill state obligations, including Canada’s COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group.”