Canadian Public Policy, vol. 36, 2010, p. 199-214
The Conservative Party of Canada has declared that as a federal government it will introduce a national disability act to promote reasonable access to medical care, education, employment, transport and housing for Canadians with disabilities. This article reviews international experiences of the role of such legislative measures in meeting the needs of disabled people, focusing on the United States, Australia and the UK. Through a selective and integrative literature review, the analysis summarises existing research, highlights issues of policy and practice and draws lessons for Canada. Literature from four fields is examined: disability studies, law and human rights, political science, and public and social policy. The analysis suggests that such laws are insufficient on their own to promote access. Other policy instruments required include supportive employment programmes, tax incentives, and the direct provision of basic supports.