CCD Voice of Our Own (Annual General Meeting Edition)

On the CCD Agenda

  • CCD Celebrates Canadian Leaders Working for an Accessible and Inclusive Canada
  • CCD Committee Chairs Appointed
  • New Working Group on Employment Established
  • Updates

In June, CCD held its Annual General Meeting and this edition shares the highlights of the AGM.

CCD Celebrates Canadian Leaders Working for an Accessible and Inclusive Canada

The CCD Awards celebrate the contributions of those who have pushed the ableist boundaries of Canadian society to make this country more accessible and inclusive.  With the 2013 CCD Awards, CCD honours the following winners and their achievements:

BCCPD - John Simpson
ACCD - Ron Wickman
MLPD - Valerie Wolbert
NS-LEO - Linda MacRae Triff
PEI Council of People with Disabilities - Ray Mahar
COD NL - Ray McIsaac
CAD - Roger Carver
DAWN-RAFH Canada - Bonnie Brayton
NNMH - Jean Beckett
TVAC - Judith Pilote
People First of Canada - Cathy O’Donnell
CWD – O - Pat Seed
AEBC - Paul Thiele
NWT Disabilities Council - Pooja Chugh

CCD Committee Chairs Appointed

The CCD Council appointed the following Committee chairs.
• Transportation Committee: Pat Danforth,
• Access to Technology Committee: Gary Birch and John Rae,
• Social Policy Committee: Marie Ryan,
• International Development Committee: Steve Estey,
• Ending of Life Ethics Committee: Dean Richert and Rhonda Wiebe,
• Human Rights Committee: Anne Levesque and Yvonne Peters.

New Working Group

The Council struck a new working group which will focus on the development of policy recommendations on employment and people with disabilities.  The following have agreed to participate:

• Jean Beckett,
• Ralph Ferguson,
• Nathalie Fougere,
• Pat Danforth,
• Susan Grodsky.

Member Group Updates

At the CCD Council Meeting, held in June 2013, Council members shared updates about organizational priorities.  CCD shares highlights from reports made around the Council table about work underway across Canada. 

BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD)

Maintaining and growing funding - We are attempting to access new funding opportunities by building relationships with the private sector and working on increasing individual donations, including monthly giving. We are fortunate to have a PR/Advertising company working for us pro bono to rebrand and modernize our image in order to broaden and increase our attractiveness to potential funders.

Maintaining our systemic/policy work - We are continuing to speak out and work towards bringing about positive change for British Columbians with disabilities, particularly those living on low incomes. We are working closely with four other groups (Inclusion BC, Community Legal Assistance Society, SPARC BC, and Canadian Mental Health - BC Division) in two networks we have formed (Disability Without Poverty (DWP) and Supporting Increased Participation [for people with disabilities] (SIP) ). The SIP table has been working closely for the past year with senior staff of the Ministry of Social Development and we are beginning to see some positive results through this work such as the introduction of an annualized earning exemption pilot for people receiving provincial disability benefits.

Read more.

Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities (ACCD)

Barreir-free Health and Medical Services for Albertans with Disabilities – Albertans with disabilities are facing barriers in accessing medical and diagnostic health services as many doctors’ offices, diagnostic clinics, and medical equipment are not accessible.  Some of the barriers are: misperceptions about people with disabilities, lack of suitable and timely health care delivery, lack of health care in rural areas, poor transition from children’s to adults’ to seniors’ services, lack of patient input to decision-making, uncoordinated information and referral, inaccessible offices and equipment, and need for patient education about preventative and ongoing health care. 

In summary form, some recommendations are:

There needs to be increased collaboration between doctors and people with disabilities in the health care system to find solutions that will provide accessible health and medical services for people with disabilities.

Doctors offices and diagnostic clinics should be included in the Alberta Building Code.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons Standards of Professional Behaviour and Good Practice should include a duty to accommodation standard.

The Alberta Government should only fund services that are accessible to all Albertans, including people with disabilities.

Visit the Campaign for Barrier-free Health and Medical Services in Alberta.

Universal Disability Supports – The Alberta system is fragmented, limited in scope and difficult to navigate.  Some people with disabilities are not eligible for supports or eligible for only very few supports and there are many negative consequences for people with disabilities.  People with disabilities are asking the Government of Alberta to provide a seamless and comprehensive system of supports.  Personal and technical supports should be universally available to all Albertans who need them, irrespective of age and/or disability type.

Read more.

Saskatchewan Voice of People with Disabilities

The Voice has been in a redevelopment stage, since the retirement of our long-standing Executive Director, Bev Duncan.  We have just hired a part-time Executive Director, Marg Friesen, who was previously Executive Director of the Welfare Rights Centre in Regina. Marg has an impressive and successful history of working with people with disabilities in both the community and field of education (Public Schools).  Amber-Joy Boyd continues to provide good service to the Voice and its consumers as Program Manager. Bev still does some consulting work for the Voice, as we won’t let her get away.

Our major aim at the present time is to develop new funding opportunities to not only maintain our existing programs and services, but to expand these services through new project funding.

Our Girl Power Camps program continues to go well and not only provides good visibility throughout the province but has proven to be a good source of additional community and corporate donations. We are now in the final stages of developing a similar program for males with a disability.

Our newest priority project is to develop and deliver a community support program designed to offer financial management and personal skills development to individuals and families who have demonstrated an inability to manage their financial resources with respect to such basic needs as food and shelter. This would be accomplished through teaching basic financial management, budgeting, shopping and other necessary life skills, as well as providing personal assistance through advocacy, intervention and mediation to resolve issues and complaints. This would fill a void in the community, since the closing of the Welfare Rights Centre.

Financially, we have implemented cost cutting and expense reduction to offset decreased funding. We were fortunate to maintain our core funding from the provincial government, but are presently pursuing them for increased funding to support additional programs and services, especially those not provided by any other community agency.

As previously outlined, we are intensifying our efforts to obtain new funding sources, as well as undertaking some direct funding projects such as our present Grey Cup Lottery to win tickets to the 2013 Grey Cup Game in Regina. To assist with these projects we plan to increase our Provincial Board of Directors at our AGM.

Read more.

Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD)

One of MLPD’s priorities is to ensure we have sustainable funding.  When MLPD met with our Minister of Family Services Jennifer Howard, she renewed the $50,000 that MLPD receives from the Province of Manitoba.  The organization is promoting our expertise to government and other bodies.  More work on fundraising is underway.

There have been cutbacks at the MLPD.  A halftime position has been cut, the office is closed one day a week and board meetings have been reduced from monthly to quarterly.

The MLPD is developing partnerships in the community, such as with the Social Planning Council. 

The MLPD is addressing such issues as poverty, transportation, housing, and ethics.

Read more.

Citizens With Disabilities – Ontario (CWDO)

Citizens with Disabilities – Ontario has developed an online conference system.  This is being considered as a resource that could be used for raising donations through webinars and other activities. 

Read more.

Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities (LEO)

NSLEO has been in operation close to 35 years.  Thirty five years ago, there were quite a number of interesting leaders in Nova Scotia-  Ron Kanary, Sean McCormick, Marg Hiltz, Raleigh Orr.  Jim Derksen gathered some of these people together and said you should have an organization in Nova Scotia.  That was the beginning of the Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities.

LEO has cut our staff from two to one and we now have a virtual office.  LEO will likely have to do some fundraising to address the cutbacks.

LEO is addressing a number of issues – working with the transportation industry to make the transit system accessible, housing, poverty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, tourism, the Provincial Access Awareness Week, access to wheelchairs and educational activities.  LEO also provides disability information to the public.

Read more.

PEI Council of People with Disabilities

Our top priority issues are maintaining financial sustainability while building our organizational profile and services. We want to building awareness of the services we provide. Two examples…


Despite some frightening ‘glitches’ that threatened this year’s delivery of this excellent program, the PEICOD is happy to report that the two-month long island-wide ‘Summer Tutoring Program’ is up and running after all..
A cut in funding had resulted in there being serious doubts whether the program could continue for the summer of 2013. But then a Corporate Sponsorship partner stepped up to the plate and that contribution made the difference – and so now the Coordinator and 13 tutors are hired and preparing their lessons for their 130 students.

The PEICOD Summer Tutoring Program is designed to help school children with disabilities retain the knowledge they have gained over the previous year by the delivery of a minimum of two one-hour classes a week in the comfort of their own home. This means that in most cases, when the new school year begins in September they begin on an equal basis with their peers. Their summer lessons, delivered by qualified Education graduates, make a notable difference in the child’s time at school once the summer is over. Many students are enrolled for the classes by their parents every year.

An exciting introduction to those classes in 2013 is the donation of Samsung Galaxy Tablets for the use of teachers and students alike. And where did those ‘tablets’ come from, when funding is so difficult to come by? The answer is – from those same generous corporate partners. Each tutor will now be able to connect their students to the free website to enhance their learning experience, in addition to their regular classes. Watch this space in the Fall for a report on how those Galaxies helped!



Youth who have dropped out of high school or who have attempted post-secondary education and did not graduate are at a bigger disadvantage when it comes to competition for jobs or re-training opportunities. If a youth has a suspected or diagnosed disability they are at an even greater disadvantage. The PEICOD’s project, Transition Back to Essential Skills: Boot Camp Basics, has tackled this situation. By developing a readiness for work or retraining program that offers  intensive ‘boot-camp style’ learning, focusing on the nine essential skills necessary for long-term outcomes and realistic planning for employment and training, the students can gain the skills needed for everyday living tasks.

Not all youth with disabilities and barriers to employment have the ability to access or even know what services are available to them outside of school. Once they leave school they are even further removed from knowing where to go for help. Parents or care-givers are often the first ones to make contact with outside agencies who are faced with job seekers who have lost the basic essential skills. Transition Back to Essential Skill: Boot Camp Basics helps to redress this situation.

The material for the boot-camp has been created by the PEICOD’s Work Abilities Program. No more than 5 participants for each session will be referred to PEICOD from Government Programs, Youth Groups and Disability organizations. The limited number in each working group ensures each person receives the help they need.

Read more.

Coalition of Persons with Disabilities Newfoundland and Labrador (COD)

In February of 2013, the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities Newfoundland and Labrador (COD) decided to hold a public meeting to close our organization, because we were having cuts to the bulk of our funding, which comes from CCD and the provincial government.

Two unexpected things happened.  One was we had unprecedented media coverage.  Between November and June, we have done 46 media interviews.  We also found out that we had a lot of support we were not aware of. 

The second thing that happened was that a local businessman offered to work with us so COD could continue in the community. 

During the meeting, the majority voted to keep the organization open and to try to secure sustainable funding.  We are in the process of working on sustainability.  We have also downsized and cut our expenses.

We have office space with the Municipalities of Newfoundland and Labrador and that has brought COD into contact with new partners that want to work with us.

We have received a grant to work on advance health care directives.

We continue to develop our relationship with media and to develop non-traditional partnerships.

Read more.

Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC)

One of AEBC’s priorities is equitable library services for persons with vision impairment.  AEBC has been pushing for a hub for those who are print disabled.

AEBC is developing a camp for students between the ages of 8 and 12 years of age.  The camp will include 20 students and 20 mentors. 

AEBC will be developing a strategic plan.

Read more.

Canadian Association of the Deaf

Canadian Association of the Deaf’s Top Priority Issues

“Rebooting Ourselves” is a transition project to re-invent the CAD (structure, by-laws, fundraising, communications, youth involvements, etc.) and to find a social enterprise to bring in revenues. The activity is to hire a Director of Development, survey the community to obtain demographic data as well as their priorities for the CAD, host a training/brainstorming conference in October 2013, and send CAD President on a lightening fast town-hall tour of Canada. 

The “Open Up” project is about making accessible videos and info kits of important health information. We already have “verbal” agreements from organizations like Canadian Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation, and others to allow us to adapt their existing information of ASL-LSQ Signed videos and Simple Language English-French text information.

Read more.

DAWN - RAFH Canada

DAWN - RAFH is focused on four pillars: violence against women and girls with disabilities, housing, employment and health equity.  DAWN – RAFH’s new website provides information on these and other matters of concern to the organization. 

DAWN – RAFH is addressing health equity through our national project, which is in partnership with the Canadian Association for Community Living.  Also under health equity, we are addressing assisted suicide.  Carmela Hutchison, DAWN President, has been invited to serve on the CCD Ending of Life Ethics Committee.

DAWN – RAFH is working on a CURA project which is exploring economic boom and bust cycles from the perspective of women living in northern mining towns.

Read more.

NOTE: In July, DAWN – RAFH shared sad news, the passing of Maria Barile, a Canadian leader and provided the following summary of Maria’s contributions and leadership to the community.

Sudden loss of disabled women’s leader – Maria Barile (1953-2013)

July 26, 2013 (Montréal) - It is with profound sadness that we learned about Maria Barile’s death on the night of July 24th at Sacré-Cœur hospital at the age of 59. She was a major icon within the women’s rights movement and disability rights movement in Quebec and Canada.

Maria was ahead of her time in her vision of disability rights activism. “We cannot achieve social change by using the same structures that exclude people. Rather, it can be achieved by replacing these, with more egalitarian structures” she said at Action des femmes handicapées Montréal (AFHM)’s 25th anniversary conference in 2011. It is these structures that she worked her entire life to change.

Among the concrete changes she made were co-founding the DisAbled Women’s Network of Canada – DAWN-RAFH Canada - as well as being a co-founder of Action des femmes handicapées (Montréal) over 26 years ago; two institutions by and for women with disabilities to which she was passionately dedicated.

Maria has said: “The lesson learned from living with many barriers is that the impossible is possible if you look for other ways to achieve your goals.” This is what she aimed to do her entire life through her active involvement in projects linked to innovations in assistive technologies, universal design and the concept of inclusion practice. Maria was a strong supporter of equal access to education and information for people with disabilities. She always advocated for the autonomy and empowerment of women with disabilities through access to knowledge, education and information.

She spoke out against violence faced by people with disabilities, and women with disabilities in particular, and spent her entire life ensuring their voices were heard and their needs were met.

She was a woman filled with empathy, generosity and resilience. She has left us an invaluable legacy: her impressive career as an activist, her involvement in issues affecting women with disabilities, her optimism, and love of life.

At DAWN-RAFH Canada, Maria was recently working on a project linked to women’s shelters and transition houses for women who have experienced abuse. This project will be a catalyst for implementing the principle of universal design to ensure these essential services become accessible to all women. Until the very end of her life, Maria worked to find ways to support and assist women who have been victims of violence.

All of our thoughts are with you, Maria. We will miss you, but know that you will remain in the hearts of everyone who knew you and you will always be remembered for the path you have paved for those who will follow you.

National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)

Since the announcement of the funding cutbacks of SDPP, even though the National Educational Association of Disabled Students is facing financial challenges, like all groups in the national disability community, the board and staff are working extremely hard to pursue viable funding opportunities to keep the organization going with both project and operational funding. 

At the same time, we are building our capacity and expertise at the board level, so that we can function most effectively, so those are two priorities - fundraising and capacity building.

In terms of current needs of post-secondary students and recent graduates with disabilities, NEADS is focused on financial aid and financial literacy, the transition from school to work and also mental health and scholarships.  

NEADS has submitted grant funding proposals to a number of funders.  For example, NEADS is seeking funding to develop a strategic building plan.

In the area of employment projects, NEADS has undertaken some exciting projects.  In BC, we held three strategies to employment events in Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna.

Currently, NEADS has 9,000 individuals in our ever-expanding data base, which enables us to communicate effectively on issues.  Through the database, we communicate with students, recent graduates with disabilities, nongovernmental organizations and student movements, disability service providers, financial aid officers and 250 universities and colleges across Canada.

NEADS will be developing a membership portal which will make it easier for members to both access the organization’s resources and to interact with one another.

NEADS intends to use the size of its membership to promote donations through Canada Helps and targeted campaigns.  Social media will also be a component of NEADS’ strategy.

By working together, we will be able to continue the important work that we do in Canada

Read more.

National Network for Mental Health (NNMH)

The National Network for Mental Health has become a virtual organization.  The organization is now working to recruit new members to the organization and to develop fundraising proposals. 

Read more.

People First of Canada

People First is focusing on education and employment.  For example, People First has met several times with MP Phil McColeman to discuss labour market issues. 

People First is also focusing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in its work. 

The Federal Government has renewed People First of Canada’s funding

Read more.

Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada (TVAC)

The Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada (TVAC) undertakes global monitoring with respect to the circumstances of thalidomide victims.  For example, following a study done in Germany about the health of thalidomiders, their pension was increased tenfold.  TVAC is working to have the needs of its Canadian members met, because there are many unment needs.

Read more.