1980. A "Special Committee on the Disabled and Handicapped" is created by the government of Canada. The purpose of the committee was to identify the obstacles faced by people with disabilities and find solutions in overcoming these obstacles. The committee interviewed witnesses from many social classes, occupations, and level of government.
The committee recommended that certain changes needed to be made in order for disabled individuals to have equal access to a full range of opportunities (education, employment, housing, transportation, etc.), equal access to public buildings and facilities, community care services, issues related to Aboriginal people with disabilities, and improved living conditions with individuals residing in institutions. These recommendations, totalling over 130, were reported in Obstacles, the first report of its kind - a comprehensive, federal report on the challenges of people with disabilities. The committee served as a precursor to the Standing Committee on Human Rights and the Status of Disabled Persons, created in 1987.
The creation of both the report and the committee were representative of a move towards inclusion of people with disabilities, as opposed to segregation. The Obstacles report was released in 1981, the International Year of Disabled Persons. After the release of the report, a number of reforms were made in Canada, aiming to create a more inclusive society.
-Colette Leung and Erna Kurbegovic
Smith, D. (1981). Obstacles: Report of the Special Committee on the Disabled and the Handicapped. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada.
Collin, C. (2012). Overview of Studies Related to Persons with Disabilities, House of Commons 1981-2012. Ottawa: Library of Parliament Research Publications. Retrieved from http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/2012-84-e.htm