October 18, 2011

DRPI Canada and the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities co-facilitate a research launch for DRPI Canada’s Vancouver chapter.

Forum participants were invited to discuss the DRPI-Canada (Vancouver) draft report and provide their recommendations as to how it can be used to positively influence and protect the human rights of people with disabilities in British Columbia (BC). It was a great event that brought a new level of perspective to the research.

Participants sitting at the Vancouver research launch
Participants at the Vancouver research launch

In addition to DRPI-Canada’s Normand Boucher, the BCCPD was pleased to welcome several guest speakers, including disability activist and DRPI-Canada monitor Jewelles Smith, disability activist and DRPI-Canada interviewee Laura Mackenrot and Susan O’Donnell, Executive Director of the BC Human Rights Coalition.

Participants engaged in lively discussion and ultimately agreed that consciousness-raising and persistence are the most important tools for people to consider as they strive to protect and improve people with disabilities’ human rights.

Participants were asked to think about what was missing from the report. One omission that was noted by a few participants was a discussion and analysis of what it is like for people with disabilities who wish to start families.

Laura Mackenrot explained to the group that people with disabilities often abstain from making human rights complaints because they are afraid they may face repercussions, such as losing their disability benefits. Susan O’Donnell stressed that contacting organizations like the BC Human Rights Coalition is an effective and safe way for people to seek help around human rights violations.

DRPI-Canada has provided people with disabilities with an additional safe space to make their voices heard. For this reason, the DRPI-Canada (Vancouver) report, once finalized, will be a useful tool and point of reference for the organizations and advocates who work to improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

The BCCPD has enjoyed working in partnership with the DRPI-Canada team and would like to thank them for the work they have done for the disability community.

View photos from the research launch.