Canada’s constitution, nor the Bill of Rights do NOT guarantee the right to health for persons with disabilities?

 

Approaches to health for persons with disabilities include the right to health and the right to medical services. The right to health includes the right of persons with disabilities to physical or overall wellbeing, health protection, health security, or a life free of illness or disease

. The right to medical services captures references to the state’s commitment to cure, restore or rehabilitate health; to ensure adequate health facilities for the population; or to provide access to healthcare services, curative services, medical aid, medical assistance or treatment to persons with disabilities.

The term ‘disability’ refers to both general references to disabilities and specific mentions of mental or physical disabilities.

No relevant provision or limited means that the constitution does not explicitly protect the right to health for persons with disabilities. This does not mean that the constitution denies this right, but that it does not explicitly include it for persons with disabilities or all persons.

No disability-specific protections means that the constitution explicitly guarantees the right to health, or free medical services to broadly, but does not specifically guarantee any of these rights to persons with disabilities or broadly protect persons with disabilities from discrimination.

Aspires to health rights means that the constitution protects the right to health or medical services for persons with disabilities but does not use language strong enough to be considered a guarantee. For example, the nation will endeavor to provide the right to health for persons with disabilities or the state intends to provide medical services broadly and persons with disabilities enjoy equal rights.

Prohibits discrimination broadly and guarantees health rights means that the constitution guarantees the right to health, or free medical services broadly and provides general protection against discrimination based on disability, but does not specifically guarantee any approach to health for persons with disabilities.

Guarantees health rights to person with disabilities or free medical services broadly means that the constitution explicitly guarantees health rights to persons with disabilities or guarantees the right to free medical services broadly.

On mouseover on the map, a note may appear for some countries which indicates “potential positive action”. This is a measure or measures that may be taken to promote the right to health for persons with disabilities. Positive action can be framed in guaranteed terms (e.g., “the State shall adopt measures of affirmative action for persons with disabilities”) or in terms that leave open the possibility for positive action (e.g., “Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from taking measures to promote the right to health for persons with disabilities, in order to address past discrimination against them”).

Why consider constitutions?

Among the tools that governments use to regulate human rights are national and sub-national legislation, targeted programs and policies, and national constitutions. Most of the maps in our website are based on national policies and laws such as whether education is free, and whether parents can take leave for children’s health needs. The implications of these policies, if implemented and enforced properly, are clear. Constitutions typically outline a broader set of rights for which implementation mechanisms are less clear. They often need to be translated into laws and policies to have a widespread impact on citizens’ lives, however:

Map reflects constitutions in place as of May 2014

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Constitutions are fundamental building blocks of a nation’s government and laws. As such, they can play an important role in establishing values and rights that may be more equitable and progressive than prevailing social norms.
Constitutions are particularly difficult to repeal or amend. Their commitments remain relatively stable and permanent even as different political parties assume power, which can help guard against attempts by governments to retreat from or weaken national human rights guarantees.

Constitutions are typically the highest laws of a country, which means that they can be used to overturn formal legislation and policies, as well as customary and religious laws, that violate human rights.

Constitutions often contain mechanisms for the legal enforcement of citizens’ rights. In countries around the world, such provisions have been used successfully to combat discrimination and hold governments accountable to their constitutional commitments.
For these reasons, we consider it important to provide information on countries’ constitutional provisions in addition to the commitments outlined in policies and legislation.

informationial text from the WORLD Policy Analysis Center, greater amounts of imformation may be found at the United Nations Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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