The 2018 International Day of Persons with Disabilities and Launch of the CCDS New Brand, Eviance

In celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on December 3rd, 2018 the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies hosted an event at the SHAW Centre in Ottawa, entitled “Intersectionality and Human Rights: Monitoring Change Together”. This event was co-hosted with ARCH Disability Law Centre and was presented in collaboration with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work, and nineSixteen.

One of the major announcements of the December 3rd event was the official announcement and launch of the new organizational brand from the ‘Canadian Centre on Disability Studies’ to ‘Eviance’. As indicated during the event, under the new title, Eviance will continually move towards acting as a knowledge hub and build upon the partnerships in the cross-disability sector to create a more inclusive, equitable, and accessible society in Canada.

More than 60 people attended the event on December 3rd. Bringing together various persons with disabilities and representatives from several national organizational from across the country, the event was full of presentations, networking opportunities, and small-group discussions on monitoring the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). In addition to the launch of the Eviance brand, there were several intriguing presentations, including from our own Dr. Susan L. Hardie (Executive Director, Eviance), and others, including Roberto Lattanzio (Executive Director, ARCH Disability Law Centre), Marie-Claude Landry (Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission), Steve Estey (Council for Canadians with Disabilities), Maureen Haan (Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work), Bonnie Brayton (DAWN Canada), and Tabatha Tranquilla (Canadian Human Rights Commission). The event also included a presentation from Marcia H. Rioux (C.M., PhD Distinguished Research Professor, York University), who discussed her work with Disability Rights Persons International (DRPI). During her presentation, Dr. Rioux introduced DRPI as a collaborative international project that serves the purpose of establishing a comprehensive and sustainable system that monitors the human rights of people with disabilities in accordance with the UNCRPD.

Fittingly, during the event, we also had the privilege of receiving a special announcement from our guest the Honorable Carla Qualtroug (Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility). Minister Qualtrough, brought the good news that Canada had recently acceded to the Optional Protocol to the UNCRPD and that opportunities would soon come to fruition for collaboration in the cross-disability sector.

The event on December 3rd acted as catalyst, and as one beginning step in creating the time and space to learn from various diversely-located stakeholders in the cross-disability community. It allowed Eviance to facilitate conversations about what monitoring looks like through an intersectional and human rights framework and brainstorm, and a chance to discuss how we could work together to advance cross-disability issues in Canada. Eviance received very positive feedback on the new brand, the structure and content of the presentations, and the opportunities it created to initiate dialogue moving forward. For instance, participants noted the following when asked to reflect on their experiences:

“Great work! Looking forward to future events by Eviance.”

“Keep asking [inviting] stakeholders with personal experience to future events. They will provide personal passion to all the inspiring ideas.”

“Engage all of us in whatever you do! Allow us to help create Eviance’s future!

“Keep doing what you did today. We need to build unity and work toward a vision of a fully inclusive world.”

The members of the Eviance team would like to thank everyone who attended and took part in the planning, organization, and facilitation of this event. We feel that it created an opportunity to bring people together, understand the needs of the community better, and celebrate with our partners and allies in the cross-disability sector.

Moving forward with monitoring the UNCRPD from a human rights and intersectional perspective, we at Eviance look forward to working with others throughout the year and once again next year on December 3rd, 2019 for our annual event.