Youth with Disabilities Advise on the Creation of an Accessible and Inclusive Canada

Media Release - For Immediate Release │October 31, 2016

On Tuesday, November 1, 2016 in Ottawa at the National Youth Forum, Natalie Spagnuolo, a member of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities' (CCD) Social Policy Committee, will provide recommendations on where the Government of Canada should provide leadership to improve opportunities for participation by people with disabilities as it moves forward with promised accessibility legislation.

Ms. Spagnuolo, who will address Minister Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, intends to encourage action in 6 areas:

1. Targeted employment programs for youth with disabilities;

2. A poverty reduction strategy which is inclusive of Canadians with disabilities;

3. Comprehensive income and disability-related supports, which are not tied to employability;

4. A national commitment to deinstitutionalization;

5. Amendment of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to remove the medical inadmissibility clause, which prevents the immigration of people with disabilities to Canada;

6. Amendment of existing legislation to address well-documented barriers (for example, the Elections Act (people with vision impairment cannot independently verify their ballot) and the Canada Transportation Act (lack of accessibility regulations).

"Accessibility and inclusion are processes that require continuous dialogue and work," states Ms. Spagnuolo. "As society evolves over time, new barriers arise, and it is important to recognize the expertise of disabled people – and especially youth with disabilities – so that disability communities are in charge of identifying the sources of their exclusion and working out the solutions to these issues."

In addition to being a member of CCD's Social Policy Committee, Ms. Spagnuolo is a Ph.D candidate in Critical Disability Studies at York University. For CCD, accessibility and inclusion legislation is an opportunity to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Canada ratified in 2010 with the support of Parliament and the Provincial and Territorial Governments. CCD is the lead organization on a multi-agency research collaboration, The Alliance. Its purpose is to consult Canadians on the development of federal accessibility and inclusion legislation. -


For more information contact: Barry McMahon, Chairperson CCD National Accessibility and Inclusion Act Committee - email: John Rae, Chairperson, CCD Social Policy Committee – email: Natalie Spagnuolo, CCD Social Policy Committee Member – email:

Contact: Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), 909-294 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3C 0B9 Tel: 204-947-0303 Fax: 204-942-4625 Email: