UN CRPD


Canada’s obligation to provide accessible voting is part of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)


The convention on the rights of persons with disabilities is the response of the international community to the long history of discrimination, exclusion and dehumanization of persons with disabilities. The convention ensures that the world’s largest minority enjoys the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. It covers many areas in which persons with disabilities have been discriminated against including access to justice, participation in political and public life, education, employment, freedom from torture, exploitation and violence as well as freedom of movement.

Once a country ratifies the convention, the obligations established by the convention must be reflected in the State’s national and legal framework, development planning and budgeting, and in related policies. The convention highlights the concreate pragmatic steps that state parties should take to support the inclusion of persons with disabilities into all areas of development. Canada Signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities in 2010. 

Article 29 – Within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities - Participation in Political and Public Life
 “Removing the barriers that impede persons with disabilities means more than simply making places and services accessible. It also means making sure that persons with disabilities are not impended from “full and effective participation and inclusion in society” 

State Parties shall guarantee to persons with disabilities political rights and the opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others, and shall undertake:

a) To ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others, directly or through freely chosen representatives, including the right and opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote and be elected, inter alia, by:
i. Ensuring that voting procedures, facilities and materials are appropriate, accessible and easy to understand and use;
ii. Protecting the right of persons with disabilities to vote by secret ballot in elections and public referendums without intimidation, and to stand for elections, to effectively hold office and perform all public functions at all levels of government, facilitating the use of assistive and new technologies where appropriate;
iii. Guaranteeing the free expression of the will of persons with disabilities as electors and to this end, where necessary, at their request, allowing assistance in voting by a person of their own choice;

b) To promote actively an environment in which persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in the conduct of public affairs, without discrimination and on an equal basis with others, and encourage their participation in public affairs, including:
i. Participation in non-governmental organizations and associations concerned with the public and political life of the country, and in the activities and administration of political parties;
ii. Forming and joining organizations of persons with disabilities to represent persons with disabilities at international, national, regional and local levels.

Under Article 4 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities general obligations are set out informing that:
To summarize article ​4 of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of persons with disabilities​ it is stated that:
State parties ratifying the convention must ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability.

As a result state parties must adopt strategies and legislation for the implementation of the rights recognized within the convention.  This includes abolishing existing laws that may prevent people with disabilities from accessing their rights.
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