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Our new report shows the continued systemic use of restraint and seclusion in BC schools. Read more.

From December 1-3, we're celebrating the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Film festivals will be held in 5 locations across BC. Stay tuned for details!

Watch our 60th Anniversary video that honours and remembers the civil rights history of people with intellectual disabilities in BC. Read more about our history here.

Honouring the Convention - Community Forum Transcript Available

The Disability Advisory Committee of the Community Legal Assistance Society (of which BCACL is a member) hosted a community forum titled "Honouring the Convention: A Call to Action in B.C." on December 10, 2010, the International Day of Human Rights.

For the first time in B.C. since Canada ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in March of this year, a broad group of community advocates came together to form real strategies to make the CRPD a reality.

If you were unable to attend the forum, you can read the transcript here. A report and a video of the event will also be posted to the website and distributed at a later date.

Forum Transcript

Speaker Presentations (note: many speakers did not use powerpoints. See the transcript for presentation details)

Forum Program

About CLAS and the Disability Advisory Committee

About the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Thank you to our sponsors for their generosity


About CLAS and the Disability Advisory Committee

The Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) provides legal advice and assistance to people who are physically, mentally, socially, economically or otherwise disadvantaged or whose human rights need protection. In 1987 CLAS established a Disability Law Program to "redress discrimination and promote the rights of persons with disabilities."

"The Disability Advisory Committee, comprised of self-advocates, community advocates, community groups, and representatives of the CLAS Board and staff, discuss strategies for addressing legal issues facing people with disabilities. The community support and law reform activities are primarily carried out by working with members of disability organizations and other equality seeking groups" (www.clasbc.net).

Representatives from the following organizations form the CLAS Disability Advisory Committee:

  • BC Alliance on Mental Health & Addiction
  • BC Association for Community Living
  • BC Coalition of People with Disabilities
  • BC Personal Supports Network
  • BC Rehab Foundation
  • Community Legal Assistance Society
  • Motivation, Power and Achievement Society (MPA)
  • Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
  • Opportunities through Rehabilitation and Work Society
  • Richmond Centre for Disability
  • Social Planning and Research Council of BC
  • University of BC, Equity

Judy Willows is the Chair of the Disability Advisory Committee and sits on the Board of Directors of the Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS).

About the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The BC Association for Community Living (BCACL) has created a webpage on this site dedicated to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Visit www.bcacl.org/unconvention for more information.


Speakers include representatives from:

  • BC Association for Community Living
  • BC Coalition of People with Disabilities
  • BC Human Rights Coalition
  • BC Personal Supports Network
  • Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Canadian Human Rights Commission
  • Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Civil Rights Now!
  • Community Legal Assistance Society
  • Council of Canadians with Disabilities
  • Human Resources and Social Development Canada
  • Learning Disabilities Association of Vancouver
  • Muscular Dystrophy Canada
  • The Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action
  • The Poverty and Human Rights Centre
  • University of Victoria

Forum Program

8:30 – 9:00 Registration
9:00 – 9:10 Introduction and Welcome - Judy Willows (Community Legal Assistance Society)
9:10 – 9:30 Keynote Speaker - Dulcie McCallum (former Ombudsman of B.C.)
9:30 – 10:15

Information on the Convention from a Community Perspective

Laurie Beachell (Council of Canadians with Disabilities) and Dulcie McCallum

10:15 – 10:30 Break
10:30 – 11:15 The Federal Experience in Negotiating and Ratifying the Convention

Carmelita Olivotto (Human Resources and Social Development Canada) and Harvey Goldberg (Canadian Human Rights Commission)

11:15 – 12:00 The Promise of the Convention for People with Disabilities – Personal Reflections

Paul Caune (Civil Rights Now!), Jill Stainsby (Canadian Mental Health Association), Rick Moore (Learning Disabilities Association Vancouver), Sky Hendsbee (BC Association for Community Living) and Barb Goode

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00– 2:45 The Potential of the Convention Articles - a panel discussion

• Susan O’Donnell (BC Human Rights Coalition) - Access to Justice (Article 13)

• Aleem Bharmal (Community Legal Assistance Society) - Access to Justice (Article 13), Liberty and Security of the Person (Article 14)

• Michael Prince (University of Victoria) - Work and Employment (Article 27)

• Robin Loxton (BC Coalition of People with Disabilities) - Health (Article 25)

• Kathleen O'Hanley (BC Association for Community Living - Education (Article 24)

• Bev Gutray (Canadian Mental Health Association) – Health (Article 25)

• Paul Gauthier (BC Personal Supports Network) - Living Independently and Being Included in the Community (Article 19)

• Laurie Beachell (Council of Canadians with Disabilities) - Accessibility (Article 9) & Personal Mobility (Article 20)

2:45 - 2:55 Break
2:55 – 3:55 Strategies for Using the Convention to Promote Real Change - a panel discussion

• Frances Kelly (Community Legal Assistance Society) - How can the Convention be

used to enhance existing legal rights?

• Shelagh Day (Human Rights Committee of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for

International Action and Poverty and Human Rights Centre) - How can the monitoring

and reporting processes be used as a political tool to promote real change?

• Michael Prince (University of Victoria) - How can we change social policy?

• Seth Klein (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) – How can research and public

relations be used to promote change?

3:55 – 4:20 Audience Questions and Discussion
4:20 – 4:30

Summary and Closing - Dulcie McCallum