The issue

Deaf people around the world suffer oppression and violations of their human rights.

Our position

All Deaf people must be given the same human rights and dignity that are given to non-Deaf people.

The Canadian Association of the Deaf-Association des Sourds du Canada is the Canadian representative to the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD). Through our membership in the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, we are also supporters of Disabled Persons International. Both groups are recognized by the United Nations. While supporting DPI, the CAD-ASC agrees strongly with the WFD that only the WFD itself can be the appropriate international representative of the unique culture, language, and values of Deaf people. This is because we believe the Deaf are not a disabled group but a cultural group. The fact that non-Deaf society imposes communication handicaps upon us does not mean our deafness is a disability.

Notwithstanding the above, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities identifies deafness as a disability. The Convention affirms that all people with disabilities, including deafness, have the same rights, equalities, and freedoms as people who do not have disabilities. The Convention puts the onus on “states parties” (meaning national governments) to not only uphold these rights, equalities, and freedoms, but to actively implement, promote, and defend them. CAD-ASC along with other national disability organizations monitors the federal government’s implementation of these CRPD measures and prepares “shadow reports” in response to Canada’s reports to the UN.

The CAD-ASC condemns those countries which continue to deny Deaf people citizenship, property rights, education, employment, and civil rights. We oppose those countries which equate deafness with mental illness or spiritual evil, with the result that thousands of Deaf people are unjustly imprisoned, murdered, abandoned, incarcerated in mental hospitals, forcibly sterilized, and abused in other ways.

All Deaf people have a right to their natural language and culture, which is Sign language and Deaf culture. State efforts to suppress Sign and deny Deaf culture must be fought; they are in direct contradiction to the Convention.

The Canadian Association of the Deaf – Association des Sourds du Canada is a member of the North American Advisory Committee of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI); in this role, we share issues, solutions, and resources with the United States and Mexico in regards to interpreting and Sign language rights. In a like manner, we support the creation of a WFD North American Regional Secretariat through which Canada, the United States, and Mexico would be able to support and consult with one another as a united bloc.

We encourage Deaf people to form their own national organizations. We support them in their efforts to obtain education, employment, and empowerment, and to acquire devices which will assist them.

Although the Canadian Association of the Deaf-Association des Sourds du Canada itself is unable to provide sponsorships or financial assistance to potential Deaf immigrants to Canada, we support their applications and we protest any attempt by Canada Immigration and Customs to reject them solely on the grounds of their deafness.


The Canadian Association of the Deaf-Association des Sourds du Canada
606- 251 Bank Street
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1X3
(613) 565-2882