August 16, 2016
Hon. Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
25 Eddy Street
Re: Call to designate October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in Canada
I am writing on behalf of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA) to recommend that the Government of Canada designate October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month to promote the benefits of hiring people with disabilities.i
Other groups calling for this designation include the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, Link Up Employment Services, Canadian Business SenseAbility, and the Canadian Association of Supported Employment.ii The United Statesiii and the provinces of Manitoba,iv Saskatchewanv and Ontariovi have already declared October as Disability Employment Awareness Month. Other provinces celebrate disability awareness as well.vii CASHRA encourages all provinces and territories to make this declaration.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and human rights laws across Canada recognize that people with disabilities have the right to equal opportunity in employment without discrimination. Unfortunately “ableism” – attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potential of persons with disabilities – is one of the biggest barriers to employment.
People with disabilities want to work, lead independent lives and contribute to the community like everyone else. Designating October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month will bring much needed attention and help businesses understand that a more inclusive workforce strengthens their bottom line.
We look forward to hearing from you about this idea as well as participating in the federal government’s consultation on planned accessibility legislation.viii
Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies
Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister responsible for Families, Children and Social Development
CASHRA member agencies
- See Alberta: http://employabilities.ab.ca/2013/11/alberta-disability-employment-awareness-month-a-success. Also see New Brunswick: www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/pcsdp/promos/daw2016.html