Canada’s commitment to further increase disability inclusion reaffirmed at the United Nations


News release

June 15, 2023              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada


Ensuring the equal participation of persons with disabilities in society remains a key priority for the Government of Canada, and is one of the reasons why it is taking the concrete steps needed to ensure underrepresented groups are included in program and policy development.

This week, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, led Canada’s delegation to the 16th session of the United Nations Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The overarching theme for this year’s session, “Harmonizing national policies and strategies with the CRPD: achievements and challenges,” led to many important discussions with delegates from the countries represented.

Minister Qualtrough reaffirmed Canada’s continued commitment to increasing disability inclusion. She outlined Canada’s progress on the national and international stage since the Accessible Canada Act was passed in 2019, as well as the country’s concrete actions to ensure underrepresented groups are included in federal program and policy development.

As part of the conference, alongside the United Kingdom and Singapore, Canada co-hosted a side event on disability inclusive support systems. During this event, participants explored modern approaches to building accessible and disability inclusive support systems, employment opportunities and economic stability for persons with disabilities.

In recognition of their impressive achievements and leadership in the disability community, Minister Qualtrough invited three youth leaders to be part of Canada’s official delegation: Carly Fox from Ottawa, Ontario; Paula McDonald from western Saskatchewan; and Brandon Bowen from Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador.

The delegation also included Sam Turcott, Assistant Deputy Minister for Accessibility, British Columbia Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction; and Darren Macdonald, Executive Director, Manitoba Accessibility Office, as representatives of provinces and territories.


“It was an honour to again lead Canada’s delegation to the United Nations to highlight our government’s progress on disability inclusion, joined by our partners in the disability community who have helped us achieve it. Our delegation was able to listen and learn from our international partners, and re-commit to helping build a world where persons with disabilities are truly and meaningfully included.”

– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

Quick facts

  • The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted by the General Assembly on December 13, 2006 and came into force on May 3, 2008.
  • Canada ratified the CRPD in 2010 and acceded to its Optional Protocol in 2018.
  • This year’s session, which ran from June 13-15, 2023, was framed around the following sub-themes:
    • Ensuring equal access to and accessibility of sexual and reproductive health services for persons with disabilities;
    • Digital accessibility for persons with disabilities; and
    • Reaching the under-represented groups of persons with disabilities.

Associated links


For media inquiries, please contact:

Tara Beauport
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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