Toronto – November 29, 2019 – In 1992, United Nations resolution 47/3 established December 3rd as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The UN Disability Inclusion Strategy lays the foundation for both sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion. Along with targeted measures, the UN strategy involves mainstreaming the rights-based disability approach to effect changes in the way organization’s manage work systems, work environments and workplace culture.
In Canada, every workplace represented by UFCW Canada contains collective bargaining language that protects workers from discrimination on the job. UFCW Canada representatives provide services to 250,000 members throughout the country, working diligently to resolve issues related to wage disparity, gender bias, and as you can imagine, disability-related discrimination — also known as ableism. Ableism can be defined as discrimination in favour of able-bodied persons, expressions of which can reflect institutionalized discrimination or personal prejudice. In fact, according to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, 52% of all complaints accepted on the grounds of discrimination in 2018 were related to ableist attitudes.
UFCW Canada works hard to ensure that accessibility measures are prioritized in our organizational structure and culture. Disability rights awareness is a growing part of our union’s initiatives as strategic organizational research begins to inform our collective bargaining outlook. Significant focus has been placed on profiling disability issues and bringing visibility to the experience of workers with disabilities –a focus which has been marginalized for too long.
Our union remains steadfast in our advocacy for disability justice. This includes ensuring that proper workplace accommodations are made for members on modified duties as a result of work-related injuries and for those who require one or multiple accommodations on the job.
This December 3rd, I encourage you to voice your support for barrier-free workplaces and the advancement of disability justice initiatives as we work together to drive transformative change on disability inclusion measures.
For more information on UFCW Canada’s work in disability justice see www.ufcw.ca/socialjustice
Paul R. Meinema, National President