CPA Academy
65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference

CPC Workshop E: Access to Assistive Technologies: Implementation of Standards across Commonwealth Parliaments

About the Workshop

CPC Workshop E: Access to Assistive Technologies: Implementation of Standards across Commonwealth Parliaments

Important progress has been made in the decade since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). But more needs to be done. Despite constituting approximately 15% of the world’s population, persons with disabilities continue to be disproportionately represented in governance and at all levels of decision-making. Persons with disabilities historically and globally have been the subject of cultural and legal hindrances which have limited their ability over generations to reach their full potential. Today, persons with disabilities participate in terms of real numbers in a minimal way in the political/parliamentary process despite their representation in populations globally.

Inclusive and representative parliaments are crucial to ensuring a healthy and fair democracy. Legislative and policy work can have a tremendous impact on the lives of persons with disabilities, both articulating the rights that persons with disabilities are entitled to and protecting them from discrimination in political, economic and social spheres. Parliament has a particular responsibility to serve as a role model for society and to lead the way in creating a disability-responsive government at the national and local levels.

Panellists

CPC Workshop E: Access to Assistive Technologies: Implementation of Standards across Commonwealth Parliaments
Hon. Paul Maynard MP, Member of the House of Commons, Parliament of the United Kingdom

Paul is the Member of Parliament for Blackpool North & Cleveleys winning the seat in 2010, and has served as a Transport, Justice Minister, and Government Whip. Paul’s constituency is the 2nd most deprived Conservative held seat in the country. Paul is a strong campaign for better financial resilience and in keeping access to cash, speaking in the House on several occasions. Other areas of interest are transport, infrastructure, and animal welfare. Paul currently sits on the Justice Select Committee.

Dave Dame, Director of Accessibility, Microsoft

Dave is a seasoned technology executive who is passionate about designing and developing hardware and software for users of all abilities. He has extensive experience in design thinking, product management, and agile delivery. Dave is a champion for accessibility and builds high-performing teams fostering cognitive diversity and inclusion.

In his role as Director of Accessibility, Dave is leading the accessibility portfolio for Surface Products aligning with Windows and product innovation roadmaps to empower users of all abilities.

Dave is a leadership coach, enterprise agile leader and trainer with over 20 years of product management and leadership experience, which he leverages to drive large-scale transformation in complex organizations. Dave’s practice focuses on scaling change by building up high-performing teams through training & empowering workforces – over the course of his career he has trained over 600 professionals in product management, leadership and agile delivery practices. He has worked with technology companies such as OpenText, PTC, and MCAP; in many cases improving delivery times by over 150%. Dave also spends a significant portion of his time coaching well-seasoned executives, and is very proud that he has played a role in the development of nearly 20 SVP-level and C-level executives.

Hon. Carla Qualtrough MP, Member of the House of Commons of Canada and Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Delta in 2015. She has served as Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion since 2019. Minister Qualtrough has previously served as Minister of Accessibility, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.

A successful lawyer, dedicated volunteer, and Paralympic swimmer, Minister Qualtrough is a strong advocate for Delta, with a commitment to addressing inequality and championing diversity.

Committed to equity and inclusion, Minister Qualtrough has practised human rights law at the federal and provincial levels. She chaired the Minister’s Council on Employment and Accessibility in British Columbia, and was an adjudicator with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal. Minister Qualtrough has been visually impaired since birth.

Passionate about the power of sport and physical activity to change lives, Minister Qualtrough has volunteered locally, nationally, and internationally, including with the International Paralympic Committee and for the Toronto 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games. She has been President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Chair of the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada. She was also on the Board of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, and was Vice-Chair of the Delta Gymnastics Society.

As an athlete, Minister Qualtrough won three Paralympic and four World Championship medals.

Minister Qualtrough has degrees in political science from the University of Ottawa and in law from the University of Victoria. Among many awards for her work, she has been named one of Canada’s Most Influential Women in Sport numerous times, and received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Hon. Romina Alam MP, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan

Hon. Romina Khursheed Alam was first elected to the National Assembly on a reserved seat for Women as a candidate pf Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) in 2013. She had served her party as a Secretary Youth Wing and organiser Women Wing. In her first tenure from 2013 to 2018 she served as: 

  1. Parliamentary Secretary Climate Change 
  2. Media Coordinator Young Parliamentarians Forum 

She was again elected in 2018 and 3.5 years was active as Opposition legislator. Later, after the change of government in April 2022, she was appointed as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and Convener of Parliamentary task force on SDGs. Ever since her appointment, she has brought a new vigour and momentum to Parliamentary pursuits to SDGs.

Senator Hon. Ras Adiba Mohd Radzi, Senate of Malaysia and Paralympic Athlete

Senator Hon. Ras Adiba Mohd Radzi was appointed as Senator in the Upper House of Malaysian Parliament in May 2020. She is formerly a broadcast journalist, news presenter and sports commentator, having served on channels TV3 and NTV7. She has represented Malaysia in Para badminton, shooting and currently President of National Para Shooting Association. Now, she serves as Chairman of Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), through which she became the first woman, first senator, first national Paralympic athlete, and first disability rights activist to be appointed for the role. She is known as an activist for PWD rights in Malaysia as well as President of OKU Sentral, a non-governmental organisation championing the rights of persons with disabilities.

Besides, Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi  has been appointed as Distinguished Fellow of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). IIUM rector Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak said the appointment of Ras Adiba as the Distinguished Fellow of the Media and Communication Centre (Comet) at the AbdulHamid AbuSulayman Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences (AHAS IRKHS) took effect from August this year until July next year.Distinguished Fellow will also help strengthen Comet’s cooperation network at the national and international levels, including government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)

In May 2022, Senator received the Lifetime Achievement Award (Women Empowerment) at the Women of Excellence Awards 2021/2022 (WOEA 2021/22) tonight. The award, organised by FM Media Communications in collaboration with The CEO Malaysia magazine, is to recognise over 70 female entrepreneurs and personalities from across the country. Furthermore, Senator  Ras Adiba Radzi is among the three candidates shortlisted by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for the 2022 International Women’s Day Recognition.The awards primarily recognise women in the Paralympic Movement who inspire and emulate the Paralympic ideals and serve as positive role models. Following hundreds of nominations, this year the shortlisted women and organisations nominated come from Zimbabwe, Malaysia, Iran, Botswana, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada and Mongolia.

Workshop Resources

CPC Workshop E: Access to Assistive Technologies: Implementation of Standards across Commonwealth Parliaments

Workshop Summary

CPC Workshop E: Access to Assistive Technologies: Implementation of Standards across Commonwealth Parliaments

This session explored the challenges that persons with disabilities face when interacting with Parliament, especially the experiences of Members of Parliament. It included a presentation covering some of the most accessible technologies from an assistive technology expert. It also included a discussion of what resources are available and what are needed for Parliamentarians to implement assistive technologies without duplicating effort.

Important progress has been made in the decade since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), however this has not been enough. Despite constituting approximately 15% of the world’s population, persons with disabilities continue to be disproportionately represented in governance and at all levels of decision-making. Persons with disabilities historically and globally have been the subject of cultural and legal hindrances which have limited their ability over generations to reach their full potential. Today, persons with disabilities participate in terms of real numbers in a minimal way in the political/parliamentary process despite their representation in populations globally.

Inclusive and representative Parliaments are crucial to ensuring a healthy and fair democracy. Legislative and policy work can have a tremendous impact on the lives of persons with disabilities, both articulating the rights that persons with disabilities are entitled to and protecting them from discrimination in political, economic and social spheres. Parliament has a particular responsibility to serve as a role model for society and to lead the way in creating a disability-responsive government at the national and local levels.

This workshop comprised of a review of some of the assistive technologies currently available followed by a panel discussion about experiences as Members of Parliament with disabilities, successes in implementing changes, identifying gaps of what is needed for further change, and what can be done on a policy level.

Workshop Recommendation

CPC Workshop E: Access to Assistive Technologies: Implementation of Standards across Commonwealth Parliaments

As part of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference outcomes, each workshop put forward a recommendation. The following recommendation was agreed:

 

“Parliaments must adopt assistive technologies to enhance the accessibility of their institutions to persons with disabilities.”