Re “Border inaccessible to disabled” by Bruce Wark in the Aug 7th edition of The Coast
Bruce Wark does an excellent job of exposing an appalling, outmoded approach to persons with disabilities still sanctioned by our immigration system. It is applied in a variety of ways to exclude otherwise qualified immigrants and their families.
As the NDP representative in the Parliamentary review of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in 2001, I proposed eliminating this unfair practice but my amendment was defeated by the Liberal majority on the Committee. Currently, I have a bill in the House to keep disability from being a factor for immigration applicants who have been approved under provincial sponsorship programs. I will also be pushing for additional changes.
By signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the government undertook an inclusive approach to persons living with disabilities. It’s time it lived up to that commitment by getting rid of the discrimination built in to our immigration system. This would send a message to those inside and outside Canada that we are truly becoming the inclusive society we claim to be.
Judy Wasylycia-Leis, MPNDP Critic for Persons with Disabilities
By Judy Wasylycia-Leis MP, NDP Critic for Persons with Disabilities