As workers and activists, we need to understand that not all disabilities are immediately noticeable – from mental illness to learning differences, diabetes, chronic pain, cognitive dysfunction and much more. CUPE strongly supports the struggle of the disability rights movement. This commitment is even more important because of the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, which hit some of our most vulnerable citizens hardest.
Persons with disabilities are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and have a higher mortality rate than the rest of the population. New safety protocols have posed additional challenges and concerns for persons with disabilities, undermining their access to full participation in society. For persons with disabilities who have intersecting identities, such as women, Black, Indigenous, racialized and 2SLGBTQI+ people, the impacts are even worse. We encourage all union leaders to take action to advance disability rights in our workplaces.
Disability justice is a union issue. Achieving disability justice makes life better for all workers.
The United Nations’ theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2023 is “United in action to rescue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for, with and by persons with disabilities.” CUPE recognizes the important message behind this theme to promote inclusion, equality and accessibility for the disability community.
What can you do?
Use December 3 to educate and advocate for disability justice at work, in your local and in your community.
Bargain for measures that support disability rights in your collective agreement, including employment equity, duty to accommodate, short and long-term disability coverage and language on mental health, HIV/AIDS and episodic disabilities.
Support calls to get the details right on the new Canada Disability Benefit in 2024.