CANADIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION SUBMISSION TO THE COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN PREPARATION OF THE COMMITTEE’S DEVELOPMENT OF THE GENERAL COMMENT ON THE RIGHT OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES TO WORK AND EMPLOYMENT DECEMBER 2021 1. THE CANADIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION The Canadian Human Rights Commission (the Commission; CHRC) is Canada’s national human rights institution. It has been accredited “A-status” by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, first in 1999 and again in 2006, 2011 and 2016. The Commission was established by Parliament through the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) in 1977.1 It has a broad mandate to promote and protect human rights. The Constitution of Canada divides jurisdiction for human rights matters between the federal and provincial or territorial governments. The Commission, pursuant to the CHRA, has jurisdiction over federal government departments and agencies, Crown corporations, First Nations governments and federally-regulated private sector organizations. Provincial and territorial governments have their own human rights codes and are responsible for provincially/territorially-regulated sectors. The Commission’s efforts to promote and protect human rights include screening and, where possible, mediating discrimination complaints, representing the public interest in the litigation of complaints, developing policy and conducting research in consultation with rights holders and stakeholders, issuing public statements, and tabling special reports in Parliament. The Commission is committed to working with the Government of Canada as well as domestic and international partners and stakeholders to ensure continued progress in the protection of human rights, including Canada’s implementation of the rights and obligations enshrined in the various human rights treaties to which Canada is a party. The Commission also conducts compliance audits under the Employment Equity Act (EEA).2 The purpose of the EEA is to achieve equality in the workplace so that no person is denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability, and to correct the historic employment disadvantages experienced by four designated groups: women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and racialized people. 3 In 2019, the Commission was mandated with several new responsibilities under the Accessible Canada Act (ACA), the Pay Equity Act, and the National Housing Strategy Act. The Commission was also designated as a body responsible for monitoring the Government of Canada’s implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), in accordance with article 33.2 of the Convention. Available at: laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/PDF/H-6.pdf. Although Canada’s human rights laws are not part of the Constitution, they are considered “quasi-constitutional” in nature, meaning that all other laws must be interpreted in a manner consistent with human rights law. 2 Available at: laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/PDF/E-5.401.pdf. 3 The Commission notes that the terms “visible minority” and “Aboriginal” are increasingly outdated, and as such, they are used only to reflect their official usage in Canadian legislation and in Statistics Canada survey data. Where other terms (such as Indigenous or racialized) can be used, the Commission supports this. 1 2 In the spirit of constructive engagement, the Commission wishes to provide the following written submission to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Committee) for the development of the Committee’s draft General Comment on the right of persons with disabilities to work and employment (General Comment). This submission follows the Commission’s previous written contribution to the Committee in March 2021, for the elaboration of the Committee’s outline of the draft General Comment.4 The Commission welcomes and supports the Committee’s efforts to create guidance for States parties towards the implementation of article 27 on work and employment. We offer the following comments for the Committee’s consideration. 2. ACCESSIBILITY AND WORK AND EMPLOYMENT There is growing recognition – both domestically and internationally – that more needs to be done to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment and participation of all people with disabilities in work and employment. The Commission emphasizes the important interrelation between articles 9 (accessibility) and 27

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