BURNABY—Canada’s largest union is launching a new disability rights awareness campaign today. The Canadian Union of Public Employees’ national campaign is “A Solidarity of Abilities,” championed by the union’s Persons with Disabilities National Working Group. December 3 is the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, established by the United Nations to create awareness, understanding and action for the legal and social rights of persons with disabilities.
“What is the one equality-seeking group anyone could be a member of tomorrow? Persons with disabilities”, says Pat Shade, the B.C. representative on the National Working Group. “I am very pleased to be the British Columbia spokesperson for this new campaign. ‘A Solidarity of Abilities’ showcases our members with disabilities who are vital in our workplaces and in our communities.”
Shade says the campaign is also aimed at developing partnerships with community groups that advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities. Initiatives in B.C. will include a column by CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill published in Transition, the magazine of the BC Coalition of People With Disabilities, and a video on disability rights produced by renowned documentary filmmaker Angelina Cantada.
“Workers need to know that they have the legal right to have their disability accommodated in the workplace. It’s a matter of human rights and social justice,” affirms O’Neill. “Persons with disabilities make great contributions in the workplace. We must do all we can to ensure they can access employment. Our Division executive and the rank and file members on our Persons With Disabilities Working Group are pleased to support this important campaign.”
The six-month campaign will raise awareness of disability issues and provide tools to help ensure the rights of workers with disabilities are understood and upheld.
Campaign materials are available at cupe.ca/disability-rights.