A project leads by Disabled Peoples' International

‍    Work Biography for Steven Estey

Council of Canadians with Disabilities

Steven Estey works as a Government & Community Relations Officer at Council of Canadians with Disabilities, which is a Membership Organizations company with an estimated 53 employees; and founded in 1976. They are part of the Strategic Communications team within the Marketing Department and their management level is Non-Manager. Steven graduated from Saint Mary's University and is currently based in Winnipeg, Canada.

Consultant, Self-employed

Bio: Steven Estey is an International Human Rights consultant, with a focus on the human rights of people with disabilities. In June of 2020 Steven finished a very successful two-year term as interim National Coordinator of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD). He is also a former Human Rights Officer at Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI) a Canadian based NGO that has worked for over 30 years to advance the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities around the world. Steven has travelled widely, for more than 25 years in many countries around the world. He has worked with Disabled Peoples' Organizations, Human Rights Institutions, Governments, Intergovernmental Organizations and United Nations Agencies to advance disability rights.

Over time he has gained wide experience in the areas of international cooperation, economic development, human rights and disability.

He has testified before several parliamentary committees in Canada and spoken on Human Rights and people with disabilities at the United Nations and in many countries around the world.   From 2003, until the successful conclusion of the negotiations in 2006, Steven was advisor to the Canadian Government delegation to the United Nations, which drafted the new Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). From 2007 until 2010 he led DPIs work to encourage Governments around the world to sign and ratify the CRPD.

Since 2010, when he left DPI, Steven has devoted his time to projects strategically aimed at the effective implementation of the CRPD and related to the full realization of disability rights and the effective implementation of the CRPD around the world.  Steven has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from St. Francis Xavier and a Master’s in International Development Studies from Saint Mary’s; both Universities are in Nova Scotia. 

Members of the Commonwealth Disabled People's Forum


Steven Estey a travaillé avec des organisations de personnes handicapées, des institutions des droits de la personne, des gouvernements, des organisations intergouvernementales et des organismes des Nations Unies, à l’avancement des droits des personnes handicapées, pendant plus de 30 ans. Steven a notamment occupé le poste de coordonnateur national du Conseil des Canadiens avec déficiences. Il est également un ancien agent des droits de la personne de l’Organisation mondiale des personnes handicapées, qui avait auparavant son siège social à Winnipeg et qui œuvre sur la scène internationale pour l’avancement des droits des personnes en situation de handicap. Steven est un expert canadien de premier plan pour les questions liées à la Convention des Nations Unies relative aux droits des personnes handicapées. Steven est atteint de surdité tardive.

Diane Dri


We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Steve Estey, a good friend, social activist, he was deeply involved in the disability movement and the CRPD.  In loving memory, Steve,

Steve's unwavering commitment to the rights of people with disabilities and his dedicated work with DPI leave an indelible mark on our hearts and the world. His collaboration with Henry Enns was a testament to his passion and determination.

Steve's legacy as a deaf activist will continue to inspire and empower generations to come. His advocacy was not limited to words; it broke down barriers and gave a voice to those who needed it most.

As we mourn his passing, let us also celebrate the incredible life he lived and the profound impact he had on the disability rights movement. Steve's spirit will forever remind us to strive for a more inclusive and just world.

Rest in peace, Steve Estey. Your legacy lives on and your work will continue to make the world a better place for all.

Disabled Peoples’ International united


Steve and I have had a long working relationship and friendship that stretches back over 30 years. He was the President of NEADS and also a consultant on many important projects that he led for us after his time on our board of directors. I have so many great memories of Steve doing the work together, but also of many dinners, lunches and social gatherings. As terribly sad as all this is I'll remember for as long as I'm on this earth, all the times with Steve and the great laughs we shared over food and drink. Steve introduced me to Judy Heumann at Delta Chelsea Hotel over breakfast some 20 years ago and so many other monumentally important folks. Steve was a raconteur -- so many travels and experiences around the globe to share -- and such a brilliant companion always. I have funny stories about things that happened with Steve when he was representing us at meetings, including the one time he attended a conference at the old Delta Hotel and Suites in Ottawa, and he had to leave the hotel in a hurry to catch his plane home. He contacted me when he got back to Halifax to say that he had left some clothes in this room and would I pick them up at the front desk and send them back to him. I did that and it turned out the bag at the hotel I retrieved had Steve's clothes along with several ties, pants and shirts that weren't his that must have come from someone else's room and were in the lost and found. We laughed and laughed as he told me that half of stuff wasn't his. He also told me that as a young student at university in Nova Scotia he had the dubious distinction of living in two apartment buildings that were condemned and demolished shortly after his lease was up. And there was another place he stayed at in Halifax, while at Dalhousie (or was it St. Mary's University) that was a basement apartment that was perfect for him and his short stature -- but it had very low ceilings and any friends he invited over who were over about 5 foot 7 in height had to duck down to avoid hitting the ceiling with their heads. 

I shared the news of Steve's passing last night on our Facebook page with some background information on his importance to our community. I've added a really good photo of him from his Twitter account and a link to a video presentation from 2021 of remarks he made celebrating the International Day of Disabled Persons. I thought those specific remarks (fireside chat style at his house) were important as Steve provided context on his significant work on the CRPD and his Canadian and international advocacy efforts on behalf of disabled persons and our organizations. We will be making further efforts soon to acknowledge Steve on our website and other social media and during a NEADS event this Friday. Condolences to Steve's wife Anne, son Isai and family. Please share the obituary when you have it. I'm sure we'll all be able to find it on our own. We have lost so many beautiful, dedicated human rights leaders in the disability movement in recent years.

Frank Smith (he/him)

National Coordinator of the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)


My deep sympathy for his proxies and friends. Such a long way with Steven and pionners towards  the Quebec, Canada and UN recognition and exercice of human rights for all. 

We shall miss his diplomatic talent and international network

Patrick Fougeyrollas

International Network on Disability Creation Process (INDCP)