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December 3rd 2019 – International Day of Persons with Disabilities; The Future is Accessible

December 3rd 2019 – International Day of Persons with Disabilities; The Future is Accessible

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The International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992 by United Nations. Its aim is to “promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development.”

OPSEU in close partnership with its Disability Rights Caucus recognize the important contribution that people with disabilities can make to our society and our workplaces. We are very aware of the significant challenges we face. About one in five people live with a disability and they frequently face discrimination. The result is that people with disabilities face higher rates of unemployment and chronic poverty.

Experience has shown that when barriers to their inclusion are removed and people with disabilities can participate fully in our society. However, governments continue to cut public services to pay for privatization and tax cuts and the result is that barriers grow. “The Future is Accessible” means that we must all work toward removing barriers that stand in people’s way.

President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says OPSEU and its Disability Rights Caucus want a future where people can live their lives barrier free.

“We will push to remove barriers, whether that means access to a building without using stairs; or getting a job without fear of discrimination or feeling free to disclose a mental health condition at work,” said Thomas. “We believe everyone should be able to have the same access to information, physical spaces, social interaction and employment.”

First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says working towards an accessible future is everyone’s responsibility.

“We must create a future where people are not excluded because of their health or physical impairments,” said Almeida. “Everyone in OPSEU should call out barriers wherever you see them, and work together to overcome them.”

The Disability Rights Caucus of OPSEU is committed to networking, advocating, educating, and increasing the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. The caucus works in our communities and within our union to raise awareness, identify barriers, and remove those barriers so that all members can participate fully.

The caucus asks that everyone bear in mind that workers with disabilities face many barriers to employment and we need their knowledge, experience and voices to continue our fight for fairness, equality, accessibility, and inclusion.

We invite everyone to learn more, speak up, and act to ensure the dignity and well-being of persons with disabilities.

In Solidarity,

Your Disability Rights Caucus members