International Day of Persons with Disabilities observed

The Premier's Council on the Status of Disabled Persons held its annual event today in recognition of the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

For more than 20 years, the day has been recognized to encourage people, organizations, governments, and societies all over the world to focus upon issues related to the inclusion of persons with a disability and on measures to support greater equality. The theme for 2014 is Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology which promotes the removal of barriers specifically related to information and communications technology.

“Today is an opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion in our communities and in our workforce,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “Our government is focused on creating jobs, improving our province's finances, and helping families in our communities. Improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities will help all New Brunswickers contribute to our economy to their full potential and will support many families in our province.”

In partnership with Muscular Dystrophy Canada, the council welcomed guest speaker and break dancer Luca Patuelli. Luca was born with Arthrogryposis, a rare disorder that is characterized by limited joint movement and poor muscle growth, and at the age of eight he was diagnosed with scoliosis. Luca’s disability has not slowed him down. He has developed unique dance moves which have been featured on the popular television shows America’s Got TalentSo You Think You Can Dance and Ellen.

“We are pleased that Luca was able to join us for today’s event,” said council chair Jeff Sparks. “His journey is an important reminder that anything is possible and that we can all benefit by opening doors for persons with a disability. The goal of our event today was to promote understanding about disability issues and to increase awareness of the benefits for society that are possible through the inclusion of persons with disabilities in every aspect of our political, social, economic and cultural life.”

Other highlight’s from today’s event include the release of the status report #2 of the Disability Action Plan-The Time for Action is Now and the announcement of Disability Awareness Week 2015.

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