DRPI Canada

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Welcome to DRPI Canada. DRPI Canada is a collaborative project funded by SSHRC (Social Science and Humanities Research Council) working to establish a sustainable monitoring system to address disability discrimination in Canada.

The project adopts a holistic conceptual framework grounded in the general human rights principles: dignity, autonomy, non-discrimination, inclusion, respect for difference, and equality. Research, training, and knowledge mobilization and dissemination are integrated across four inter-related themes: Monitoring Individual Experiences, Monitoring Media, Monitoring Law and Policy, and Monitoring Survey Datasets.

The DRPI Canada project Comes to a close in March, 2012.

Who is involved with DRPI Canada?

DRPI Canada includes community members, academics, people with disabilities, students, bureaucrats, researchers, lawyers, statisticians, and disability rights policy experts. This project brings together:

  • 14 disability rights, legal, media monitoring and policy experts from different provinces
  • 12 disability and human rights organizations recognized for their work in this field
  • 3 universities and 3 university-based research institutes
  • 4 government agencies
  • 1 private media research company

It is the mandate of DRPI Canada that people with disabilities be involved in all aspects of project governance and implementation. The project is organized and governed to promote ongoing collaboration, training, the sharing of resources and ideas between community and university-based investigators and partner organizations.

Objectives and Approach

While there are a number of international and Canadian human rights commitments, Canada lacks comprehensive and multi-level analysis of disability rights violations. DRPI Canada takes a significant step forward to:

  • develop a sustainable system to monitor the human rights violations of people with disabilities in Canada by integrating different levels of analysis: individual, systemic, media, and survey data
  • arm the academic and disability communities with evidence-based knowledge and tools for ongoing disability rights monitoring

The project is grounded in a human rights approach to disability, which focuses attention on the way that systemic discrimination and social exclusion increase vulnerability to abuse, poverty, unemployment, other forms of discrimination and inequitable social conditions. The human rights approach represents a significant shift in the understanding of disability. It conceives of disability as an important dimension of human culture, and it affirms that all human beings irrespective of their disabilities have certain rights which are inalienable.

Areas of Monitoring

DRPI Canada takes a comprehensive approach to monitoring disability rights in Canada by coordinating work in four interconnected areas:

  • monitoring individual experiences
  • monitoring media
  • monitoring law and policy
  • monitoring survey data sets

The project’s knowledge dissemination and mobilization strategy is supported by a Virtual Knowledge Network (VKN).

Monitoring Individual Experiences

Monitoring individual experiences is the central theme since, for the first time in Canada, the individual experiences are documented using rights-based standards. Research questions include:

  • What barriers do people with disabilities face to exercising their civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights?
  • How is the exercise of rights by people with disabilities affected by intersecting forms of disadvantage (e.g. race, gender, age, ethnicity, education level, income level, geographic location)?

Monitoring Media

The monitoring media theme investigates both the coverage and depiction of people with disabilities in the media. Research questions include:

  • To what extent are disability issues and people with disabilities covered and portrayed in Canada’s major print and broadcast media?
  • Is there a significant divergence in the depiction of disability between mainstream and disability media?

Monitoring Law and Policy

The monitoring law and policy theme examines the systemic framework in which the individual experiences occur. Research questions include:

  • How are the federal and provincial responsibilities for disability allocated and what mechanisms are in place to further investigate efforts across these sectors?
  • What are the approaches to disability employed by policy makers and how these impact on the realization of rights for people with disabilities?
  • How have Canadian courts and statutory human rights bodies addressed disability issues?

Survey Data set Monitoring

Survey data set monitoring examines the ways in which existing survey data sets can be used and improved to monitor disability rights. Research questions include:

  • Do current Statistics Canada and l’Institute de statistique du Quebec survey data sets permit an assessment of whether and how the rights of people with disabilities are being realized?
  • To what extent are surveys administered and data collected in accessible formats for people with a diversity of disabilities?
  • How can data collection be improved to facilitate disability rights monitoring?

Cross-theme Virtual Knowledge Network (VKN)

Knowledge mobilization and dissemination of this project is supported by a VKN that ensures:

  • Internal communication among theme members, information dissemination, e-learning, and e-collaboration
  • External communication and dissemination of project outputs to different groups such as the general public, community organizations, the media and policy makers

DRPI Canada – People

Individual Researchers

  • Dr. Marcia Rioux, Disability Rights Promotion International, York University
  • Dr. Normand Boucher, Centre interdiscipinaire de recherche en réadaptation et intégration sociale (CIRRIS), Laval University
  • Ms. Sandra Carpenter, Centre for Independent Living in Toronto
  • Mr. Ray Cohen, Canadian Abilities Foundation
  • Mr. Cameron Crawford, Roeher Institute
  • Dr. Daniel Drache, York University
  • Dr. Christo El Morr, York University
  • Mr. Steven Estey, Council of Canadians with Disabilities, International Committee
  • Dr. Patrick Fougeyrollas, Institut de réadaptation en déficience physique de Québec (IRDPQ), Laval University
  • Dr. Isabel Killoran, York University
  • Mr. Andrew Laing, Cormex Research
  • Dr. Roxanne Mykitiuk, York University
  • Ms. Yvonne Peters, Disability Rights Legal Expert
  • Dr. Michael Prince, University of Victoria
  • Dr. Geoffrey Reaume, York University

Organizational Partners


  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
  • York University, Canada