A. Project Description
Soon after its inception, the LCO received project proposals identifying complex issues related to the law as it affects persons with disabilities. Based on these proposals and the LCO’s internal research, the Board of Governors approved a multi-year project to develop a coherent framework for the law as it affects persons with disabilities.
The purpose of this project is not to recommend specific reforms to particular laws affecting persons with disabilities, although certainly law reform may be needed in many areas. Rather, the purpose of the project is to articulate a set of principles and considerations that may form the basis of a coherent analytical framework for this large, diverse and complex area of the law. The end result of this project will be a document that provides a basis for evaluating current laws and policies, and developing new ones that respect the rights and circumstances of persons with disabilities.
The LCO recognizes that this is a challenging endeavour. The disability community is diverse in its needs, perspectives and circumstances. The laws in question span the range of individual experience, including housing, education, employment, income supports, decision-making, accommodations and benefits, and many more. The issues at stake are difficult and complex. However, the LCO believes that such a tool will be a valuable contribution to the law as it affects persons with disabilities, and will provide a basis for important discussions that will no doubt continue to evolve.
The LCO’s project on the law as it affects persons with disabilities is a sister project to its similar project on the law as it affects older persons. In some areas, the issues raised by the two projects will overlap, and in others they will significantly diverge. In either case, the completion of the two projects in tandem allows each to shed light on the other.
B. The Process
Given the complexity and diversity of the issues raised by this project, in addition to its own research, the LCO will be consulting widely and drawing on the knowledge, experience and perspectives of persons with disabilities, advocates, service providers, government officials and experts.
The process commenced in the spring of 2009 with a Preliminary Consultation Paper on Approaches to Defining Disability. The intent of that Paper was to assist the LCO in scoping approaches to the project. The Paper was widely disseminated, and the LCO received substantive comments and submissions from organizations, individuals and experts. During the summer of 2009, the LCO also conducted a series of preliminary interviews with organizations serving, representing or advocating for persons with disabilities, in order to identify key issues and perspectives from a variety of viewpoints.
In early January 2010, the LCO will be issuing a Call for Papers and will be funding a series of expert papers on topics related to the law as it affects persons with disabilities. This will be followed in the spring of 2010 by in-person consultations across the province.
There will be further events and consultations in the fall, leading up to the release of an Interim Report in the early months of 2011. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the Interim Report before the development of a Final Report.
C. The Purpose of this Paper
This Paper is based on the preliminary research of the LCO, as well as its initial stakeholder interviews, and the responses received to the Preliminary Consultation Paper.
This Paper has been developed to provide context for the LCO’s Call for Papers. Therefore, the purpose of this Paper is not to provide an exhaustive discussion of any of the many issues raised by this Project. Rather, it outlines the scope of the Project, the approach that the LCO is taking at this point, and the issues that have been identified thus far.
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