Barrier Free Canada (BFC) and its supporting organizations have made history: a Canadians with Disabilities Act (CDA) is officially on the governing agenda.
It began as a small advocacy movement aimed to encourage political parties to adopt a CDA in their respective election platforms. March of Dimes Canada is a founding supporter, and we have been a founding member of the Steering Committee since its inception in early 2015.
The BFC Steering Committee originally spearheaded the execution of an advocacy campaign to promote a CDA. Three political parties endorsed a CDA in their official federal election campaigns.
This has now evolved into the commitment to move forward on a CDA - proclaimed recently by the Prime Minister's Office, the Office of the Minister responsible for disability, and the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. The CDA has been formalized into the operational mandates of each.
Developmental dialogue on a CDA is to begin immediately in the new year. Things have moved beyond Liberal commitments and are now unfolding into the machinery of government.
The idea is to get something enacted by Canada's 150th in 2017. Our advocacy in recent weeks has focused on getting a CDA into the Throne Speech.
Currently, we are conducting official dialogue with all relevant staff and Ministers to maintain the pressure to move beyond official commitment and to announce official "next steps", which would entail stakeholder consultation.
Additionally, we are part of a multi-agency social media advocacy campaign directed to individual Members of Parliament, to enhance and augment all-party support and
enthusiasm for a CDA.