A more crucial emphasis for disabled-rights proponents, perhaps, has been on the need to make a firm distinction between the "medical" and "social" models of disability.
The "medical" model, said campaigners, came out of science in the early 20th century. It was individualistic. The medical model acts as if a person's disability, whether a missing limb or paraplegia, is medical "damage," which places the disabled person outside human normalcy.
In response, advocates of the "social model" of disability have been arguing since the 1970s that the problem for people with disabilities is not that they're in a wheelchair, without a limb or blind.
It is that society doesn't accommodate them, whether with disabled-only parking or books in braille.
With the discussion thus shifting to communal rights for the disabled, people in Canada and much of the Western world began to put their emphasis on reducing social barriers to access and inclusion.
The complex debate over disability models continues to boil, as governments, businesses and employers in the industrialized world are increasingly compelled to do everything they can to accommodate disabled men and women.
Given that the Canadian Charter of Rights forbids any form of "discrimination" on the basis of "physical disability," is there any limit to how far an organization must go to include a person who is visually impaired, in a wheelchair or without a limb?
Even while governments and businesses are being pressed by legislation to include disabled people in every aspect of life, Stainton said courts have been ruling there are financial limits to consider in providing "reasonable accommodation."