On December 3, people across Saskatchewan and around the world will observe the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The goal of this annual observance — first proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations — is to promote widespread understanding of disability issues while marshaling support for the rights, dignity and general well-being of disabled persons everywhere.

The theme for this year’s observance is: “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all.”  Within that context, the UN’s objective is to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”

That too is our Commission’s goal.

During 2016-2017, discrimination based on disability accounted for 63.1% of all formalized complaints made to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. The majority of which (87.6%) were employment-related complaints. As a Commission, we were diligent this past year in supporting the aims of the Saskatchewan Disability Strategy. We worked hard to improve public transportation for people disabilities, addressed and advanced numerous mental health issues and, following a comprehensive community consultation, published “Access and Equality for Deaf, deaf, and Hard of Hearing People: A Report to Stakeholders” — which is intended to be part of a longer-term systemic advocacy process.

Yet, there is still room to grow. Together we can transform our province into a just, sustainable, inclusive and resilient place where the needs of every person with a disability are met.