CCD Voice of Our Own - Summer 2014

On the CCD Agenda
A Doctor's Note for Home Mail Delivery

A Doctor's Note for Home Mail Delivery

In December, Canada Post announced it would be eliminating door-to-door mail delivery.  This summer, there was a new development.  Canada Post informed CCD and other disability organizations that to receive door-to-door mail delivery as an accommodations people with disabilities would have to provide a doctor's note.  While it is positive that Canada Post is recognizing the need to accommodate people with disabilities for whom the community mail box will be a barrier, having to get a doctor's note to qualify for the accommodation adds an extra layer of complexity to accessing a community service.

"The requirement to get a doctor's note to avail oneself of a necessary service is something which is all too familiar in the lives of people with disabilities," states Tony Dolan, CCD Chairperson.

Getting a letter from a doctor to qualify for a service means a person with a disability must expend time, energy and money.

The requirement to have a doctor's note to qualify for services nondisabled people take for granted is becoming another barrier that people with disabilities have to negotiate.

The first step in developing an accommodation is to listen to the person with a disability.  Due to the individualized nature of disability, there is no one size fits all accommodation.  People with disabilities, themselves, not doctors, have the best understanding of how their disability can best be accommodated in a particular context.

Deepak Chopra, CEO Canada Post, received a letter from CCD and many of its member groups, explaining our opposition to using doctors as a gatekeeper for an essential service.

Member Group Updates

British Columbia Coalition of People with Disabilities

The BCCPD supports people with all disabilities, to live with dignity, independence and as equal and full participants in the community.  Read more.

Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities

ACCD on the Web!


Membership Survey Results

In April 2014, ACCD distributed a survey to verify which current disability programs and services are most important to ACCD members. The survey asked participants to rank a list of issues from 1-10. The topics included: healthcare, transportation, education, housing, employment, recreation, government services, home care, Alberta Aids to Daily Living and income support.

Based on the results, the more common concerns included healthcare, transportation, housing, income support and employment. Others were more varied in their responses, such as home care, government services, AADL, recreation and education.

The survey also collected examples of healthcare issues that are concerning ACCD members. Responses included: medication costs, accessibility, mental health, professional counselling, brain injuries, stroke, rehabilitation, wait times and the criminalization of those who have mental illnesses. For more information go to and search for Action Notes, May 2014.

Accessible Dentists, Optometry and Pharmacy Services in Alberta

ACCD has started a new project that will address barriers that prevent Albertans with disabilities from accessing dental, optometry and pharmacy services. During this project, ACCD will research existing policies and conduct audits of service providers to compile evidence that current standards fail to accommodate people with disabilities. ACCD will also be consulting members of the disability community to gather first-hand experiences of issues that people with disabilities have faced when attempting to access dental, optometry and pharmacy services. An advisory committee will be formed to lend expertise with drafting recommendations for changes that are needed to improve the accessibility of dental, optometry and pharmacy services. Through this project, ACCD intends to advocate for equitable and appropriate dental, optometry and pharmacy services in Alberta.

Keep an eye on our website, for updates on the progress of this project.

ACCD’s 2014-2015 Board of Directors

President, Weslyn Mather-Edmonton
Vice President, Dave Storey-Grande Prairie
Secretary-Treasurer, Art Erickson-Wabamun
Earle Snider, Director-Edmonton
Lui Greco, Director-Calgary
Brian Irvine, Director-Didsbury
Kent Hodgins, Director-Lethbridge
Ian Young, Director-Edmonton

Take Action for Barrier-Free Health and Medical Services

Sign up at to support removing barriers to make health and medical services in Alberta accessible for persons with disabilities.

Saskatchewan Voice of People with Disabilities

See the Ability Not the Disability

The Saskatchewan Voice of People with Disabilities is  a consumer driven directed organization that actively promotes full participation in society for people with disabilities. Read more.

Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD)

Run for Rights

By Deanna Ng

Rain or Shine, people have traveled to the finish line so that Run for Rights can help Winnipeg organizations fundraise to do work for human rights.  This includes rights of people with disabilities.  MLPD will participate in this on an annual basis.

You can walk, run, cycle, rollerblade or be creative in how you travel the scenic 5 km route.  If you wish to complete the 10km run/walk, you go the same route again. 

Anne Lindsay the Executive Director of Local Investment Toward Employment (LITE) participated last year by walking the course.  “It is a nice experience to be outside with so many different people form lots of different community groups.   We feel good about supporting human rights causes.”  LITE supports people with barriers to employment find employment. 

MLPD encourages all members to get involved either by traveling the course and collecting pledges or simply by volunteering. 

Carlos Sosa, MLPD Co-Chair, has volunteered for many years at the Run for Rights.  “This is a positive experience to connect with like minded people.”  He found this a good way to support Winnipeg based organizations that have a belief in rights as well as dignity for all people. 

The Run for Rights is supported and part of the Manitoba Runners’ Association.

Citizens With Disabilities Ontario

Meet CWDO's Board Members for 2014-15!

Here is a list of CWDO's Board Members for 2014-15 who were elected or re-confirmed at our Annual General Meeting on June 19, 2014.

Welcome to new board members Michele Gardner, Cher Monteleone and Sam Savona joining us for three-year terms!

Pat Seed, Chairperson (Thunder Bay)
Sousan Zaribaf, Vice-Chairperson (Scarborough)
Scott Allardyce, Secretary (Markham)
Tracy Odell, Treasurer (Scarborough)
John Szczygiel, Member-at-Large (Ottawa)
Michele Gardner, Member-at-Large (Toronto, NEW!)
Terrance Green (Ottawa)
Cher Monteleone (Thunder Bay, NEW!)
Line Nyangezi (Thunder Bay)
Christina Ranieri (Toronto)
Sam Savona (Toronto, NEW!)
Jeffrey Stark (Ottawa)

Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec

A disabled person commits suicide because he was being pressured to leave his home: COPHAN is appalled and demands an explanation

Regrettably, COPHAN has learned that on September 14, to resist relocation from his home, Yvan Tremblay of Granby ended his life. COPHAN asked the Quebec government to provide the community a clear explanation of what happened. It also called for an evaluation of housing and safety policies and how they respect freedom of choice.

Mr. Tremblay lived for nearly 10 years in a home he liked, which he had developed with the support of his family.  Allegedly, he was under pressure to move because his housing no longer met new safety guidelines.  Mr. Tremblay's last letter was about intimidation by government employees and the disregarding of a service recipient's choice.

COPHAN demanded for several years to participate in discussions about safety regulations for care facilities to avoid this kind of situation, but without success. This case demonstrates the Quebec government does not uphold the right of people with disabilities to make their own choices and face the consequences. COPHAN does not believe that forcibly moving people from their home to ensure their safety is the right way to respond to the tragic events of L'Isle-Verte. According to Richard Lavigne, Director, "This event shows that people with disabilities do not weigh heavily in the balance. Government officials decide for them what is right, encroaching on their freedom and denying their right to take risks."

Thousands of Quebecers with disabilities daily experience situations where administrative guidelines do not respect their rights. With the story of Mr. Tremblay, many of these people now rightly fear they may be forcibly relocated for safety reasons or for any other reason.

During this period of reform, how far will they go? Where is the line between the right to make our own choices and the security obsession of those who want to protect us? For COPHAN, it's all about balance, but we will never accept others deciding what is good for people with disabilities!

Nothing about us without us!

PEI Council of People with Disabilities

Promoting Full Participation and Inclusion

The PEI Council of People with Disabilities mission is the promotion of the full participation and inclusion of people with disabilities in PEI society.  As the Council's website states, it is guided by principles found in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  Read more about the Council's work online.

Coalition of Persons with Disabilities  - NL (COD-NL)

Hebron provides funding to the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities - NL 

(St. John’s, 11 July 2014) - The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities - NL (COD-NL) is excited today as it accepts a generous donation from Hebron of $5000.00. 

Kelly White, Executive Director of COD-NL, states that “we need investments such as this one from Hebron to promote public awareness, to break barriers and open doors for an inclusive society for all”. White issued a heartfelt thank you to The Hebron Project, for their continued investment in persons with disabilities. 

“This generous donation will make an immediate difference to our organization. At a time when we, like many, are feeling the funding pinch, we would not be able to continue providing service without the support of community leaders like Hebron. We thank them for their commitment to making a positive impact in our communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador” states Jerry Weir, President, COD-NL. 

Hebron is an oil field located offshore Newfoundland and Labrador in the Jeanne d'Arc Basin, 350 kilometres southeast of St. John's, NL. The Hebron Project co-venturers are ExxonMobil Canada Properties (operator), Chevron Canada, Suncor Energy Inc., Statoil Canada and Nalcor Energy. For more information on the Hebron Project visit 

Operating at the provincial and local levels, COD-NL is an organization concerned with all persons with disabilities, promoting their rights and raising public awareness of their needs. COD-NL is proactive, working to improve legislation and services at all government levels and networking with national and regional groups to support independence and foster positive self-concept of its members.

Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians

Furthering Student Success Through Scholarship: 2014 AEBC/T-Base Scholarship Awards

For the third consecutive year, T-Base Communications and Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) have awarded three scholarships to recognize outstanding blind, low vision, and print disabled post-secondary school students, awarded on the basis of academic performance, community involvement, and overcoming adversity.

“At T-Base, we understand and appreciate the needs of blind and low vision students who are in pursuit of a post-secondary education. We fully support, and champion the need for fully accessible study and learning materials delivered in a timely fashion. We hope that our ongoing support to the education market through partnerships such as the T-Base and AEBC scholarship program helps underline the importance of an accessible education for all,” said Dave Longbottom, President and CEO of T-Base Communications.

Two Jennifer Laura Eve Wilson Memorial Scholarships (worth $1,000 each) were awarded by AEBC to Millaz Khalil and Danica Blackstock, and the T-Base Communications Scholarship (worth $2,000) was awarded to Brian Kijewski. “The selection committee was very impressed with all candidates, which always makes final selection challenging. We are thrilled to announce this year’s recipients and offer our support through scholarships as they progress in their educational careers,” said Anthony Tibbs, President of the AEBC.

In the 2014/2015 academic year, Millaz Khalil will be pursuing a Paralegal Diploma from Capilano University while continuing his community work with various organizations that support equality, acceptance, and raise awareness of different issues facing many minorities today, and Danica Blackstock will be attending The University of Waterloo for her B.A with a major in social development studies and a minor in legal studies. She one day hopes to practice as a Lawyer, specifically advocating for those with disabilities who are facing injustices. Brian Kijewski will be working towards his diploma in Music Industry Arts at Fanshaw College and aspires to operate his own recording studio as an audio engineer.

“These students have shown tremendous dedication to their studies, and have clear goals,” adds Longbottom. “T-Base is committed to ensuring that the delivery and accessibility of learning materials to blind and print disabled students mirrors that of their sighted peers. We are pleased to continue our support of braille literacy and accessible education by awarding this scholarship to Brian Kijewski. This individual highlights why braille literacy and providing choice from a range of accessible formats is so important. Brian’s ability to maintain braille as his preferred format, in conjunction with other accessible technologies will facilitate his future success as an audio engineer. We are pleased to support Brian by way of scholarship as he works towards achieving his academic goals.”

About AEBC - The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians is a national charitable organization dedicated to promoting the increased inclusion of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians in all aspects of social life, from employment to participation in elections. AEBC’s members, comprised of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted consumers and supporters from across the country, participate in working groups and committees, engage with local, city-based chapters, and engage in public awareness and education activities on a daily basis.

About T-Base - T-Base Communications helps organizations communicate effectively with their blind, low vision and print disabled customers, and students, who cannot access information in conventional print or online formats, while at the same time ensuring full compliance with all applicable legislation. T-Base is the North American leader in the secure design, production and delivery of alternate format communications materials in braille, large print, and audio, as well as online with web accessibility and accessible PDF.

Canadian Association of the Deaf

Strengthening Deaf Girls’ and Young Women’s Economic Prosperity

The Canadian Association of the Deaf (CAD) would like to thank Robyn Mackie as she departs from her position as Director of the Project, ‘Strengthening Deaf Girls’ and Young Women’s Economic Prosperity’. We welcome Leanne Gallant as her replacement, effective immediately.

Samantha Nasso has returned as Administrative Assistant providing support for the project and the CAD-ASC office. Leanor Vlug of Vancouver, BC continues as the Project Advisory Committee chair. 

About the Canadian Association of the Deaf - The Canadian Association of the Deaf/Association des Sourds du Canada (CAD-ASC) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1940 that provides consultation and information on Deaf interests, conducts research and collects data regarding Deaf issues in Canada. It protects and promotes the rights, needs, and concerns of Deaf people in Canada who use our official signed languages (American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des Signes Québécoise (LSQ)). For more information, visit,

DisAbled Women's Network of Canada / Réseau d’action des femmes handicapées (DAWN-RAFH Canada)

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD 2014)

The United Nations General Assembly has designated June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.   

The global population of people aged 60 years and older will more than double, from 542 million in 1995 to about 1.2 billion in 2025. Globally, four to six% of seniors experience some form of abuse at home.

For older people who are Deaf or have a disability, there is a double disadvantage, as research has clearly indicated that both people with disabilities and seniors are more likely than others to be subjected to acts of violence and/or to live in abusive situations. (Please see The Roeher Institute, 1995 and MacLean, 1995)  Studies indicate that women with disabilities are sexually assaulted at a rate at least twice that of the general population of women. (The Roeher Institute.)The rate for women with intellectual disabilities and Deaf women is even higher than other women with disabilities. (Violence Against Women with Disabilities Fact Sheets. Health Canada. Ottawa: 2004)

To respond to the abuse of seniors with disabilities, DAWN-RAFH Canada and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) are implementing a project entitled “Preventing And Responding to Elder Abuse in the Lives of People with Disabilities and Deaf People.”   

The project is taking place in one community in each of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada, using a local-level community development approach to assist communities to organize around the issue of violence against seniors with disabilities and Deaf seniors.

Peter Park is one of the founding members of People First Canada and an Outreach Worker to seniors for the project. According to Mr. Park, the issues that affect seniors are the same issues that affect everyone else. They have the same concerns about violence and abuse, are concerned about their health, respect for their rights, and employment, just like everyone else. “Just because we are seniors doesn’t mean we want to be idle … unfortunately it can sometimes mean we are seen as an easy target though” he says.

Bonnie Brayton, National Executive Director of DAWN-RAFH Canada  also noted that for some disability communities there is an added ‘retraumatization’ when aging means moving back into institutions.  Many women and men with intellectual disabilities, including Peter fought for many years to get out of institutions and sadly today, our response to the changing housing and support needs of seniors is to do the very same thing.  Congegrated living and institutions always increase the risk of abuse.  We’ve got to do better.

Without a Voice – Women with disabilities and Victimization

One of the biggest problems in addressing violence and abuse of  women with disAbilities and Deaf women is underreporting. We know that women do not report abuse, and we know why. First, violence is so normalized in their  lives that they often do not even recognize that what they are experiencing is abuse. Second, they may be dependent on the abuser for care giving and/or financial support. Third, when they do report, they are not believed or seen as credible witnesses or they encounter other barriers to the justice system – barriers other women do not experience, such as transportation and physical access or even the ability to communicate what they are experiencing.

DAWN-RAFH  Canada continues to call on call on Canadian leadership in every sector that touches their lives,  to work directly with us and our partners across Canada to develop and implement a response to the more than two million women with disabiliteis and Deaf women in Canada who are without a voice!  We must all commit to greater collaboration between the judicial system, victim’s service, the police, the violence prevention sector and health and social service networks to give them a voice !


Myths about People with Disabilities and Sexuality should not be used to support Legalization of Prostitution

July 21, 2013 (Montreal) -  Since the Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the Bedford case struck down some of Canada’s prostitution laws on December 20, 2013, various assertions have been made in favour of the complete decriminalization of prostitution.

As the debate continues on Parliament Hill and across the country, one of these assertions focuses on the role that sex workers play in ensuring that people with disabilities (particularly men) have access to ‘safe’ paid sex with sex workers who are ‘trained’ specifically to work with people with disabilities.

“However there is no data to support this as a reason for the legalization of prostitution,” says Bonnie Brayton, National Executive Director of the DisAbled Women’s Network / Réseau d’action des femmes handicapées (DAWN-RAFH) Canada. “First of all, it is an ableist argument, and secondly, it re-enforces a sexist notion of male dominance, that men should have the sexual right to access the female body.”

Fran Odette, co-author of “The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability”, notes that “the pre-occupation with people with disabilities as recipients of paid sex disregards the reality that millions of Canadian women and men with disabilities engage in healthy, normal sexual activity every day.”

DAWN-RAFH Canada is also concerned that the socio-economic exclusion of people with disabilities are more likely to put them at risk for exploitation along with, and as sex workers, who may experience exploitation by those who ‘purchase’ sex and by those who exploit sex workers. 

According to the United Nations, there are more than half a billion women with disabilities globally. They are consistently the lowest income group in any nation, developing or developed. Additionally, women with disabilities are known to suffer the highest rates of sexual violence.

“Based on these facts, and due to ableist attitudes that reflect narrow definitions of desirability and desire, we can assume that a higher than average number of sex workers are also women with disabilities, many of whom may not self-identify,” Brayton contends. However, there is no existing research to confirm this, Odette notes, as data collection of this nature has not been undertaken in Canada or elsewhere.

“In a Canadian context we know there are people with disabilities who may engage in activity which may include sexual expression with a sex worker,” say Odette.  “We know of instances of exploitation by sex workers of persons with disabilities. However, we also know of sex workers who are committed to providing good service to people with disabilities, with fairness and with dignity”.

DAWN-RAFH Canada supports legislation that will place sex work and individuals who engage in sex work, in control of both their physical and moral person, and reduces the risk of harm or violence in carrying out their work and would criminalize anyone who seeks to harm or exploit them.

DAWN-RAFH Canada is a national, feminist, cross-disability organization whose mission is to end the poverty, isolation, discrimination and violence experienced by Canadian women with disabilities and Deaf women.

National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)

Sad news: The passing of Christine Nieder

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Christine Nieder, a member of the National Educational Association of Disabled Students' (NEADS) board of directors and our National Graduate Experience Taskforce. Christine passed away earlier this week in Vancouver. Christine was a member of the NEADS Board since January 2012, was a key driver in the establishment of the Taskforce, and served on the Taskforce since its inception two years ago. She was instrumental in the final development of the National Graduate Student Experience Survey and the service provider surveys. Christine presented the work of the Taskforce in several locations, most notably at the conference of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) in 2013. Her presence and contributions enriched the work of our organization on the national stage, particularly shown through her concerns and expertise for adaptive technologies and financial literacy. Christine was a dedicated advocate for the rights of post-secondary students and graduates with disabilities in British Columbia. The legacy that is her great work and passion will continue to be realized as the Graduate Experience project moves toward its completion.

The loss of Christine Nieder is keenly felt by all in the NEADS family. Our thoughts are with Christine's family and friends in this difficult time. We will inform you of any arrangements or wishes of the family as soon as we have that information.

National Network for Mental Health

The National Network for Mental Health is working to reduce the stigma and isolation created by mental illness.  NNMH's Mental Health Blog is a bridge to resources that challenge negative attitudes about mental health. Read more.

People First of Canada

People First of Canada is the national organization that is the voice of people who have been labelled as having intellectual disabilities.  People First is recognized as a group made up of people who take action.  Consult the PFC website to learn more about the action being undertaken by the volunteers and staff who make up the People First community. Read more.

Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada

TVAC is the voice Thalidomide survivors.  Check out the TVAC webstie for resources such as the "Study on the Current Living Conditions of Canadian Thalidomide Survivors and Their Projection for Their Future".  The report provides a snapshot of the status of TVAC's members. Read more.

Northwest Territories Disabilities Council

The NWT Disabilities Council held its AGM on 18 September 2014.  Check out the Council's web page for the election results.