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Toronto Sun

Special Report in March 20, 2006 Edition of the Toronto Sun

theinfozone.net
Read about Warren's World on international news site, The Info Zone

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Watch Warren appearing on CTV's Canada AM

1st Helen Henderson
Toronto Star's Helen Henderson's feature on March of Dimes' Warren's World (Jan 2006)

Toronto Star's Helen Henderson's second feature, following up post-election on the future of Warren's World (Feb 2006)

Warren at Ryerson
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A Special Gift From a Special Canadian

Warren receives the commemorative necktie from Herb Davis, Policy Advisor to Senator Consiglio Di Ninno. Herb's father, Walter Davis, an internationally recognized crusader of equality and champion of accessibility, originally recieved the tie as the first recipient of the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Award. Click here to hear and see the podcast
Helen Henderson's Sat March 4
June 5, 2006
Toronto
By Claire Taylor

Robert Goulet receives Humanitarian Award

Robert Goulet's celebrated career as a singer-actor earned him a place on Canada's Walk of Fame this past Saturday. But it is his work in inspiring cancer victims that earned Mr. Goulet a place in the heart of Warren's World.

At a ceremony prior to his rehearsal at Toronto's Hummingbird Centre, Robert Goulet was honoured with the Warren's World 2006 Humanitarian Award.

"I am overwhelmed and very humbled by this very special recognition," said Mr. Goulet, who was clearly moved. "Look at me now…I'm getting all teary."

Warren Rupnarain, inveterate star of the March of Dimes' Warrens World phenomenon, described Mr. Goulet as exemplifying the ideals of courage, inspiration and hope. "Robert Goulet shows anyone with a disabling condition that we can and should reach higher to celebrate the human spirit in the face of adversity. He is a wonderful man that has helped so many," explained Rupnarian.

Robert Goulet was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the mid-1990s. Today, not only has he survived and overcome the cancer, he dedicates countless hours to tirelessly help others during his public speaking and motivational events.

Rupnarian was also clearly moved by the experience. "I was deeply touched that such a celebrated legend was able to take time away from what is clearly a whirlwind, grueling schedule, and talk about charitable work in promoting health and wellness," he said.

And, according to Rupnarain and the other officials from the March of Dimes who presented the award, Goulet's passion for the cause continues to grow.

"If I can help even one person by raising awareness, then by God I am going to do it," explained Mr. Goulet.

While Rupnarain is no stranger to meeting celebrities and public figures, his experience with Robert Goulet was clearly different. "I felt a bond, and I was teary, too, when I listened to Robert talk about his challenge with cancer and his fight to remain positive. This is what Warren's World is all about," said Warren.

Is Warren, the 23-year old who has overcome cerebral palsy himself, leading the new generation of Robert Goulet fans? "I love this guy! The only thing I forgot to ask Robert was if he could sign an autograph for me."

Robert Goulet Receives the Thumbs Up!
A Memorable March of Dimes experience with Canada's Crusader of Compassion

Warren's World Team, pictured left to right: Bob Burrows (All Access Communications), Steven Christianson (Government Relations - March of Dimes), Neil Prime-Coote (All Access Communications), Robert Goulet, Warren Rupnarain (Warren's World), Andria Spindel (President & CEO, March of Dimes)

The Ontario Human Rights
Exchange Summit
What Does Bill 107 Mean to You?

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Diving Over Barriers
"It's an Absolutely Fantastic First Step," says Warren
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An All-Party Celebration at Queen's Park

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Breaking Down Education Barriers - Building Opportunities for Toronto's Students

click here for results of the survey

In other news across the nation and around the world...

UN adopts landmark bill for disabled rights (CBC News, December 13, 2006)

The UN General Assembly Wednesday adopted the first UN convention to protect the rights of the disabled.
The convention, which will protect the rights of more than 600 million disabled persons, requires countries to adopt laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of any form of disability, from blindness to mental illness.
Its purpose is to "Promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity."

It also protects the rights that have already been granted, such as ensuring wheelchair-accessible buildings.
Upon ratification participating nations must eliminate any existing laws that discriminate against the disabled.
Nations will be largely responsible for enforcing the rights, though an optional protocol to the treaty binds states accused of violating the terms to respond to a complaint through a proceeding before a special committee.

First human rights treaty of 21st century It was also the first human rights treaty of the 21st century and will affect about 10 per cent of the world's population, according to UN estimates. Theoretically, there should be no need for such a convention, because people with disabilities are included in existing human rights conventions, said New Zealand Ambassador Don MacKay, who chaired the committee. "The reality, unfortunately, has not followed the theory. The existing human rights instruments have fallen far short in their protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed to persons with disabilities." The committee has been working on the new convention since 2001 with the help of disabled persons. The UN has been actively involved in disabled rights since it declared 1981 the International Year of the Disabled under the slogan "Full Participation and Equality." In 1993, the UN's Vienna Declaration for Human Rights reaffirmed that all human rights and fundamental freedoms included persons with disabilities. Previous efforts were 'limited'

Up until now, the UN's actions have been limited, said Jim Derksen, a member of the human rights committee with the Council of Canadians with Disabilities. Derksen was involved in parts of the planning process for the new convention. He told CBC.ca that this new convention is a "reason to celebrate" because only in about 40 countries are the rights of disabled persons articulated in law. In some countries, a disabled person's right to marry, vote and even travel are restricted. The convention "interprets what the Universal Convention on Human Rights means for people with disabilities," he said. Derkson says the effect of this convention will reach much farther than the 10 per cent estimated by the UN. "In the developed world, where the life expectancy is 70 years or older, the average person lives eight years of their life with a disability," he says. 'Tremendously exciting' Laurie Beachell, the national co-ordinator of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, calls the convention "tremendously exciting." His organization was involved in the planning of the convention, with one member attending all of the meetings in New York. "I think this convention goes a long way towards recognizing the equality of all citizens and the need to address the needs of people with disabilities worldwide," he said.

The next step, Beachell told CBC.ca, is to call on the government of Canada to ratify the convention. He hopes ratification will happen in Canada within the next nine months, the same period of time it took the government to ratify the conventions on women and children. "We would hope that the government would ratify this with the same speed." Ratification by 2008 The convention will come into force 30 days after its ratification by 20 nations, which is expected to happen within the next two years. It will be formally opened to signing on March 30, 2007, after which governments can start their ratification procedures. By ratifying, nations "reaffirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others," the treaty says

Feds Announce Budget Day for March 19 -- An RDSP?

We’ll be seeing a brand new, polished pair of shoes for federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on March 19.  It was announced from Ottawa this week that the traditions of Budget Day, which have historically included the Finance Minister sporting “new shoes”, will unfold on the third Monday in March.

What will be included in the annual expenditure and revenue document of the Government of Canada.  An RDSP, we hope.

The idea of a Registered Disability Savings Plan has been debated and advanced for a number of years now.  For anyone interested in further reading on an RDSP, consider the research paper (published by the Caledon Institute) included as a link at the bottom of this article.   

The Liberal Party of Canada included in its 2006 election platform the promise to introduce an RDSP.  More recently, Minister Flaherty had released the findings of a Minister’s Task Force, which included recommendations to introduce such a fiscal measure.

March of Dimes has been involved in promoting fiscal measures like the RDSP for many years now. 

For those wanting the “short strokes” on an RDSP, consider the following: download

The RDSP would provide a flexible savings vehicle that permits family members to make financial contributions to relatives with disabilities, both during their lifetimes and upon their death, without penalization under provincial programs. It would also recognize families’ financial contributions with a tax incentive.

Income generated within the RDSP would not be taxable during the lifetime of the designated person with a disability.  Income from the RDSP would not be ‘clawed back’ by provincial or federal income programs (such as ODSP or the Guaranteed Income Supplement). Instead, it would be taxed just like Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan benefits.

So keep your ears open on the 19th of March and tune into this website to find the full details of Federal Budget 2007

More on Accessible Parking Permits in Ontario Warren's Letter to the Editor of the Toronto Star, February 14, 2007

Dear Sir/Madam:

My name is Warren Rupnarain.  I am both a life-long Torontonian and a life-long wheechair user as a result of cerebral palsy.

I am writing in response to today's Editorial that discusses the Accessible Parking Permit  Program for people with disabilities and Councillor Howard Moscoe's comments.

I completely agree with your Editorial that states "Toronto Councillor Howard Moscoe goes too far."

Councillor Moscoe's solution to the problems with the system is to simply "scrap" the system -- and require people with disabilities to pay the street meter.  Scrapping the system is not a solution whatsoever, as it would seriously punish those thousands of valid permit holders.  But more to the point.  Can someone who requires the use of a wheelchair even reach the meter?  I am part of an advocacy initiative called Warren's World (a March of Dimes project, found at

www.warrensworld.ca).  I know for a fact that not all wheelchair users and others with disabilities can physically access the meter.  My crew and I from Warren's World are on the streets everyday.  We live the issues surrounding accessibility (or the lack thereof), and we experience the real challenges therein.  To Councillor Moscoe I say we need accessibility first!, On behalf of my crew, we humbly suggest to Councillor Moscoe that we ensure total accessbiility before considering that we altogether eliminate another level of government's program.

 Read Helen Henderson’s article from February 17. http://www.thestar.com/article/181865

United Nations to Celebrate Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons

The Convention of the Rights of Disabled Persons is ready for international signing on March 30th of this year at UN Headquarters in New York City.

The Convention not only represents years in the making, commencing with the International Year of the Disabled Person in 1981, but this is the first international human rights treaty to be signed in the new millennium.  The treaty will directly affect the lives of more than 650 million people worldwide.  For Warren’s World, this is incredibly significant.

The principles of the Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons include the following:

Warren’s World is currently making arrangements to participate in the signing of the treaty at UN Headquarters.  More information will be posted as it is received from the UN Secretariat of the Convention.

Update on Vancouver 2010's Drive for Accessibility

We have updates on Vancouver 2010. 

This first deals with the overall commitment to accessibility.  As stated from the official Vancouver 2010 website, “With barrier-free venues and transportation, these Games will be as accessible as possible to people with a disability. By providing 50,000 event tickets to social agencies for their clients, people of all ages and from all walks of life will have the opportunity to see sport at its best.”

The second deals with a unique commemorative from the Royal Canadian Mint. 

Starting on February 23rd and running to the opening day of the Vancouver Olympics, the Royal Canadian Mint will release 12 souvenir quarters in general circulation depicting various sports, among which the Mint will issue 2 commemorative 25-cent coins celebrating the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games and two of the sports featured in the 10-day Paralympics.

For official information on how to obtain your 2010 Paralympic coins, visit:

http://www.mint.ca/royalcanadianmintpublic/index.aspx?requestedPath=/en-CA/Home/default.htm

In other news across the nation and around the world...

April 12, 2007

Dear Mr. Rupnarain:

We appreciate that you have taken the time to share your views and concerns regarding disability legislation.

The Government of Canada recognizes that many people with disabilities continue to face barriers to full inclusion in Canadian society. As you may know, on February 6, 2007, the Prime Minister announced the Government of Canada's intention to move forward with a Canadians with Disabilities Act. We are currently conducting policy research to develop a proposal for the legislation. Over the coming months, we will be seeking opportunities to engage concerned stakeholders, including Canadians with disabilities.

In addition, Budget 2007 introduced an Enabling Accessibility Fund that will contribute to the capital costs of construction and renovations that seek to improve physical accessibility for people with disabilities. Budget 2007 commits $45 million to the fund over the next three years to help with the costs of building new facilities for people with disabilities or the costs of improving the accessibility of existing ones. The Government of Canada will work in partnership with the provinces and community groups over the coming months to develop an Enabling Accessibility Fund.

I appreciate your ongoing efforts to raise awareness of disability and accessibility issues through the Ontario March of Dimes and would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your very informative website, www.warrensworld.ca , which I very much enjoy reading.

Thank you again for taking the time to write. I look forward to working with you as we move forward in developing this important piece of legislation.

Sincerely,
Caroline Weber
Director General
Office for Disability Issues
Department of Human Resources and Social Development






April 8, 2007

(as quoted directly from the website of the Ministry of Community & Social Services)
McGuinty Government Takes Another Step Towards An Accessible Ontario
Making Progress On Developing New Province-Wide Standards For Accessibility

TORONTO - The McGuinty government is taking an important step towards a fully accessible Ontario by opening up recruitment for the next two Standards Development Committees that will develop province-wide accessibility standards in the areas of built environment and employment, Community and Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur announced today.
"An accessible Ontario is going to be a stronger Ontario where all of our citizens can participate fully in every aspect of their communities," said Meilleur. "These Standards Development Committees allow people with disabilities, representatives of the business community and the public sector to work together to develop standards that will make full accessibility a reality in the daily lives of all Ontarians."

The two committees announced today will work to develop proposed accessibility standards in two vitally important areas:
* The accessible built environment committee will look at the barriers in the physical environment, both indoors and outdoors, as well as issues such as clear signage and parking.
* The employment accessibility committee will look at how people with disabilities can be given an equal opportunity to apply for jobs and ways in which workplace policies and practices can be made more inclusive.

Standards Development Committees draft proposed accessibility standards, which are then posted for public consideration and feedback. These committees are formed under the landmark Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, which will make Ontario accessible by 2025.

Those interested in participating in the accessibility standards development process can find more information on the Ministry of Community and Social Services' website at:
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/english/pillars/accessibilityOntario/

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