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The International Day for Persons with Disabilities was established on December 3 by the United Nations to create awareness, understanding and action for the legal and social rights of persons with disabilities.

This year CUPE is launching a disabilities rights campaign, championed by the Persons with Disabilities National Working Group.

Our new campaign will raise awareness of disability issues, create relationships with disability rights organizations, and provide tools to help ensure the rights of our members with disabilities are understood and upheld. Watch cupe.ca for details!

Events to mark this important date are happening right across the country. Special thanks to the Council for Canadians with Disabilities for providing information on the following events:

  • In Edmonton, there will be a celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Edmonton Expo Event Centre, 7515 118 Avenue (Ballrooms 105 and 106). The theme is Theatre and Arts.
  • In Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta an event will be held at the Pioneer House Club 50, 10102 100 Avenue, featuring a proclamation from the mayor, local recognition awards, and disability awareness activities. For more information email: cgowers@employabilities.ab.ca.
  • In Halifax, the 5th Annual Symposium on Inclusive Education and Employment is being held December 3-4 at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, 1919 Upper Water Street.
  • In Ottawa, check out the Celebration of People annual awards program and dinner at the Hampton Inn and Conference Centre. The awards recognize the achievements and contributions of individuals, businesses and organizations promoting accessibility, inclusion and full community participation by citizens with disabilities.
  • In Saskatoon, the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program is holding a luncheon on Dec. 3 featuring local world champion, paralympian, and entrepreneur, Alexandre Dupont. The celebration will take place in Hall A at Saskatoon’s Prairieland Park.
  • In St. John’s, the Independent Living Resource Centre will host a celebration between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. at 4 Escasoni Place.The theme is Removing barriersto create an inclusive and accessible society for all.
  • In Toronto there is a celebration at City Hall on the main floor of the rotunda from 4:30 p.m.to 6:30 p.m.(with an exhibitor showcase from 11:00 a.m.to 6:30 p.m.).Celebrate the rights, independence and achievements of people with disabilities both locally and globally.
  • In Winnipeg, the Manitoba Disabilities Issues Office is holding an event from 9:00 a.m. until noon on Dec. 3 that will look at removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all. It will be held at the Winnipeg Convention Centre, 375 York Avenue.
  • In Vancouver there will be a celebration at the Roundhouse Community Centre from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. A panel will discuss barriers to employment for persons with disabilities.
  • Plus, a film festival, a panel discussion and a musical performance will be held at the United Nations in New York to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

There are lots of ways you can support the campaign and members with disabilities:

  • Get involved with activities to promote the campaign and raise awareness about disability issues and rights. Start by getting in touch with the Persons with Disabilities National Working Group member for your region.
  • Are you a steward? There are two Steward Learning Series workshops that relate to disability rights: 1. Creating accommodation-friendly workplaces; 2. Disability issues for stewards.
  • CUPE staff also offer duty to accommodate courses. Check with your education representative to find out about courses offered in your region.
  • Let us know about your local’s bargaining successes on disability issues, and help inform our bargaining equality resources. Email us at equality@cupe.ca.
  • Work to ensure that bargaining committees have a person with a disability. People with disabilities need to be reflected in all of our union structures.
  • Become informed and stay informed. Here are some useful web resources: Council of Canadians with Disabilities, ccdonline.ca; Canadian Working Groups on HIV and Rehabilitation, hivandrehab.ca; Canadian Abilities Foundation, abilities.ca; Disabled Women’s Action Network (DAWN), dawncanada.net.