A Comparative View of Equality Under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Disability Laws of the United States and Canada
25 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2016
Date Written: 2015
In 2006, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [CRPD], the first international treaty addressing specifically the rights of people with disabilities, including in the workplace. The purpose of the CRPD is “to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity....” The CRPD has been ratified by 160 countries, including Canada, but not yet by the United States. Article 27 of the CRPD, entitled Work and Employment, prohibits not only discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, but also the right of people with disabilities to reasonable accommodations, equal remuneration for work of equal value, safe and healthy working conditions, assistance in finding, obtaining, maintaining and returning to employment, rehabilitation, job retention and return-to-work programs, as well as affirmative action programs, incentives and other measures to promote equal employment opportunities. As compared to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Canadian Charter, the CRPD, therefore, goes beyond prohibiting discrimination and instead seeks to ensure greater substantive equality for people with disabilities in the workplace. As such, the author proposes that both US and Canadian legislatures and courts should look to the CRPD to help their respective countries move beyond traditional notions of formal equality towards a new right to substantive equality in the workplace for people with disabilities.
Keywords: disability, equality, CRPD
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