End Exclusion Coalition Launches National Action Plan on Disability

    OTTAWA, Nov. 21 /CNW/ - Today, under the banner of End Exclusion, people
with disabilities, their families and organizations issued a road map for
ending the devastating exclusion, poverty and isolation experienced by
Canadians who live with disability.
    At 11:45am, hundreds of people will gather on Parliament Hill to help
raise awareness about the issues facing Canadians with disabilities and their
families. National disability organizations, joined by community groups and
the general public, will provide personal testimony about the barriers facing
Canadians with disabilities and share their priority issues. An Accessible and
Inclusive Canada is of concern to all Canadians.
    The National Action Plan on Disability, developed by persons with
disabilities and their families and friends, focuses on improving
disability-related supports, reducing poverty, increasing employment
opportunities, and enhancing access, full citizenship and inclusion in
Canadian communities. "The National Action Plan on Disability has as its
foundation the principles outlined in the United Nations Convention on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the newest international human rights
treaty," stated Marie White, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians with
Disabilities (CCD).
    "Canadians with disabilities and their families are twice as likely to
live in poverty as other Canadians," stated Zuhy Sayeed, President of the
Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL). "Immediate action is needed
to address the poverty, exclusion and lack of access to needed supports of
Canadians with disabilities and their families."
    The event will highlight some of the key attributes of what life would be
like in an Inclusive and Accessible Canada:

    -   Canadians with disabilities-children, youth, working people, seniors-
        would have needed disability-related supports to fully access and
        benefit from Canada's bounty. Women with disabilities, Aboriginal
        People with disabilities, persons with disabilities from visible
        minority communities and those from other marginalized communities
        would be equally able to access all aspects of Canadian society, as
        would Canadians with invisible disabilities, chronic illnesses,
        episodic disabilities or environmental sensitivities or those living
        in rural or remote areas.
    -   Canadians with disabilities would have safe, adequate accessible
        housing in their community and live free from residential
        institutions and confinement.
    -   The building blocks of employment, adequate incomes, and disability-
        related supports and environmental access would make social,
        economic, cultural and political citizenship accessible and inclusive
        of all persons with disabilities.

    Paul-Claude Bérubé, Chair of the Canadian Association of Independent
Living Centres (CAILC) stated, "An Inclusive and Accessible Canada is
achievable and possible. It will take collective efforts and commitments to
make it real. This National Action Plan can provide people with the road map
to get us there."
    Human rights lawyer and legal scholar David Lepofsky will share with the
attendees of End Exclusion 2007 innovative solutions on how barrier removal
can be achieved for Canadians with disabilities in the context of this
country's federal/provincial jurisdictional framework. Mr. Lepofsky's
scholarly work and his adroit and witty public addresses provide a cogent
analysis of how Canada's legal framework provides a platform for achieving
useful and timely barrier removal for persons with disabilities.
    Demonstrating their commitment to addressing disability issues Ministers
Solberg, Flaherty and MacKay have confirmed they will speak at the End
Exclusion event. It is anticipated that Members of Parliament representing all
Parties will attend portions of the End Exclusion 2007 event. Clearly a
consensus exists, disability issues are issues of concern to all and it is
clear that action is required to build an Inclusive and Accessible Canada.
    Canadians with disabilities want the same things all Canadians want:
education, jobs, safe places to live, family life, equal access to our
communities and a fair share of benefits of Canadian citizenship.

For further information:

For further information: Mr. Laurie Beachell, National Coordinator, CCD,
Ph: Office (204) 947-0303, Cell (204) 981-6179; Mr. Michael Bach, Executive
Vice President, CACL, Phone: Office (416) 661-9611, Cell (416) 209-7942; Ms.
Traci Walters, Executive Director, CAILC, Phone: Office (613) 563-2581, Cell
(613) 323-5290

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