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IRIS is honoured and proud to be joining with our partners and friends from diverse disability and Deaf communities in Canada and around the world in marking December 3rd, International Day of Persons with Disabilities. We both recognize immense accomplishments of the disability rights movement and the struggles that lie ahead.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) remains a beacon and a foundation for all our work. As we begin new partnerships in these coming weeks with Human Rights Watch (The Caring Economy initiative) and with Open Society Foundation (Fight for Rights in Ukraine project) and redouble our commitment to existing partners with whom we are proud to ‘work from the margins in,’ we remain hopeful of building new societies where all can participate and belong, committed to respectful, valuing and inclusive social, economic, and political relations.

To that end, we will continue our work in 2024 in convening systemically marginalized communities, including persons with disabilities and Deaf people, in co-design and co-production of research, community actions, digital platforms, arts and cultural expression, to create a better, more equitable societies.

Also, this December 3rd we are pleased to announce five new publications from IRIS and our team:

Trafficking & Indigenous Women with Intellectual, Cognitive and Psychosocial Disabilities: Promising Preventative Practices – reports on research undertaken in partnership with the Native Women’s Resource Centre Toronto. It outlines the nature and scale of the issue and privileges the voices of neurodiverse Indigenous women and gender diverse people who have experienced sexual exploitation and trafficking on what needs to be done to effectively respond to, and prevent this growing problem.

Accommodating People with Disabilities in Exercising their Right to Decide – provides background and guidance for third parties on how to accommodate their health care and other services to enable and support people with intellectual, cognitive, communicational, or psychosocial disabilities to make and guide their personal life, health care, and financial/property decisions. It also provides guidance to people with disabilities and their supporters in requesting and arranging accommodations for their right to decide.

Primer on Disability and Public Policy – looks at what public policy is, how it is made, how it impacts people with disabilities, and how disability communities can engage in the policy making process. As more and more of the current generation of disability communities’ leaders and senior policy makers in disability policy step back and make way for a new generation – we hope this resource and various specific “Primers” on disability policy we are publishing will support proactive public policy engagement.

Primer on Disability Income – focused on the income security system in Canada, this policy primer sets out the elements of the current disability income system, the core principles that should guide reform, and the challenges linked to eligibility, policy coherence, adequacy and disincentives. It explains key concepts and provides the policy language that we hope will enable informed conversation and participation in the public discussions on the disability income system now under way.

Legal Capacity, Disability, and Human Rights – is an international collection of essays about the state of the art of developing theory, philosophy, legal concepts, and law reforms in Canada and around the world related to advancing a right to equality in legal capacity – recognized in the UN CRPD. Key conceptual challenges to address, and legal questions are explored, and innovative solutions are advanced to take us steps closer to everyone’s right to decide being fully recognized and supported.