In the summer of 2015, Rick Hansen, CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation, pledged his support for Barrier-Free Canada, an initiative that is advocating for the government to enact a new piece of legislation called the Canadians with Disabilities Act (CDA). The CDA would apply to all persons in Canada with disabilities whether visible or invisible, and whether temporary or permanent. The CDA will ensure accessibility, inclusion and equal opportunity for all Canadians with disabilities, allowing them to live to their full potential.
Today, more than four million Canadians live with some form of disability. Due to the aging population, this number will grow to more than nine million over the next 15 years. Aging is the biggest cause of disability. That means that by 2030, 1 in 5 people will have a disability.
Unless Canada acts now, in the coming years, these millions of people will be held back from living full lives, not because of their disability, but because of the barriers that exist.
"I strongly urge all parties to support the enactment of legislation to make accessibility and inclusion a reality throughout Canada, for the benefit of Canadians with disabilities, their families and a stronger nation. A Canadians with Disabilities Act would be a fantastic 150th birthday present to help build our country, whose constitution clearly envisions Canadians with disabilities as equal and contributing citizens. Accessibility and inclusion are human rights deserved by all Canadians." says Hansen.
Visit http://barrierfreecanada.org to learn more about the organizational effort to build a non-partisan community coalition in support of the CDA. The Canadian government website, with information on the current legal and legislative framework that guarantees the equal rights of people with disabilities, can be found here: http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/disability/acts.