Rights, Laws, Policies
The Government of Canada has signed-on to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability. (UNCRPD).
Human rights legislation in Canada applies equally to “people with physical or mental disability.” In Ontario, these rights are refined by the Ontario Human Rights Code .
In Ontario, the law dealing with services and supports for individuals with a developmental disability (Social Inclusion Act) does not reference the United Nations Convention. Passed in 2008, before Canada agreed to the UNCRPD, the Social Inclusion Act was intended to provide a framework for support for individuals living in community settings rather than institutional ones.
The law continues to restrict access to approved agencies for funding for residential care in local communities and introduced a certification and assessment process – Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) – which had the intention of ensuring “equity, but often created barriers, confusion, and long waiting lists.
Arch Disability Law Centre in Toronto, provides legal support and services to individuals with disabilities. The site is through court rulings that laws are created through precedent.
The Steps to Justice website provides a good explanation of individual rights within the context of laws and policies. It references ARCH as a good source of information.
For individuals with an intellectual disability, understanding your rights and being able to express choices can be a challenge.
ARCH, using a grant from the Huronia Class Action Lawsuit, developed a program for individuals with a developmental disability, called Respecting Rights, to encourage individuals to speak out with confidence.
Policies are rules, plans of action, or guidelines, that indicate how laws and regulations are to be implemented. They provide instructions for workers responsible for making service decisions on a case by case basis.