A Voice of Our Own: June 2008

Volume 26 Issue 3

In this Issue:

CCD Committee Updates

Call to Action

CCD Member Group Quarterly Update

CCD Committee Updates

Transportation Committee

One Person/One Fare Case Update

The Federal Court of Appeal denied Air Canada and West Jet leave to appeal the Canadian Transportation Agency's (CTA) positive ruling in the One Person/One Fare case. As you will recall, the CTA ruled that a passenger with a disability who requires an extra seat to accommodate his/her disability should not pay an additional fare. The Federal Court of Appeal awarded costs to CCD. CCD has been informed that the airlines will seek permission from the Supreme Court to appeal the CTA's decision.

Human Rights Committee

CCD Calls for Complete Restoration of Court Challenges Program

A coalition of equality-seeking groups, including CCD, called on the Canadian Government to ensure that the government's settlement with the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada includes restoration of funding for the Court Challenges Program for both minority language groups and equality-seeking groups. "The coalition will be delighted to see access to justice restored for minority language groups," Shelagh Day of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action and speaking on behalf of the coalition, said today. "However, restoring the language rights side of the Court Challenges Program while continuing to deny access to justice for equality-seeking individuals and groups, does not serve the goals of justice and fairness. The Government of Canada must restore full funding to both parts of the Court Challenges Program."

Groups assert that de-funding of the Court Challenges Program has served to undermine the integrity of the justice system. "Rights without access to the use of those rights are no rights at all," Victor Wong of Chinese Canadian National Council said today. "The Canadian Government must act swiftly to completely restore funding for the Court Challenges Program and regain the trust of both linguistic minorities and equality groups."

"The Court Challenges Program is a critical component of Canadians' access to justice and to an effective system of constitutional rights protection," Marie White, Chair of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) added. "Effective enforcement of legal rights is for everyone, all groups and not just the wealthy."

The Court Challenges Program was established in 1978 with an express access-to-justice mandate, namely to help official language minorities pursue important cases involving language rights. Following the adoption of the Charterin 1982, the mandate of the Program was expanded to include funding for Charter-guaranteed language rights. In 1985, when the right to equality came into force, the mandate of the Program was expanded once again to provide financial support for equality-seeking groups and to cases involving multicultural heritage.

All other national political parties are committed to restoring funding for the Court Challenges Program. The Court Challenges Program has supported challenges and interventions of national importance, giving rise to the rich body of equality jurisprudence in Canada—a body of jurisprudence that is internationally respected and emulated in other nations. Some examples of Program-supported cases include: redress for the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act; criminalization of pornography that portrays sex in a way that is harmful to women and children; amending employment insurance benefits rules that discriminate against parents of children with disabilities; expanding the common law definition of marriage to include same-sex unions; challenging VIA Rail's decision to purchase used rail cars that were not accessible; testing criminal law provisions that permit the use of disciplinary force against children by parents and teachers; ameliorating the systemic discrimination against African Canadians in the criminal justice system; addressing the discriminatory impact of immigration security certificates on racialized communities; challenging the sex discrimination in the Indian Act's status entitlements; and ensuring voting rights for inmates in federal prisons.

CCD Meets with Human Rights Commission

On 27 May 2008, the CCD Human Rights Committee met with representatives of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), including Jennifer Lynch, the Chief Commissioner. During the meeting, the Commission responded to CCD's research project that examined how well the Commission's new business model meets the needs of persons with disabilities. The Commission is already addressing a number of the concerns raised by CCD's research. A positive outcome of the meeting was that the CHRC and CCD agreed to have regular discussions by conference calls and through face-to-face meetings.

Federal Court Disappoints

The Federal Court quashed the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal's decision in the Brown case. CCD intervened in the case at the Federal Court. The decision greatly disappointed CCD.

The Brown case underwent two judicial reviews at the Federal Court. The first addressed a decision made by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that concluded that the National Capital Commission (NCC) and Public Works (PW) discriminated against Bob Brown by not providing universal access to the York Steps in Ottawa. The second judicial review addressed the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal's decision that PW discriminated against Mr. Brown by not participating in a consultation process on the provision of universal access at the York Steps.

The CCD Human Rights Committee met by conference call on 26 June 2008 to review the decision. CCD will monitor future developments in this case.

photo Jum Derksen in wheelchair at base of stairs

Jim Derksen contemplates inaccessible York Steps

Setting the Record Straight on Latimer

An article, titled "Tracy Latimer, the Victim; Robert Latimer, the Murderer", describing CCD's position on the Latimer case, written by Marie White and Laurie Beachell, was circulated to all MPs in June. A Voice of Our Own published this article last quarter.

International Development Committee

CCD Networks with other NGOs

In May, Committee members Chris Lytle and Yutta Fricke participated in the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC). Chris is a member of the CCIC board. Yutta made a presentation on disability and development during the meeting. CCIC brings together non-governmental organizations committed to advancing international development.

Social Policy Committee

CCD Participates at CPPD Roundtable

On 3 June 2008, Laurie Beachell attended the Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD) Roundtable meeting. The Roundtable provides advice to CPPD directors on how to improve the administration of the Benefit to better address the needs of persons with disabilities.

Senate Committee on Poverty Hears from CCD

On 17 April 2008 and on 13 June 2008, Marie White presented before the Senate Committee on Poverty. During both presentations, CCD called upon the Government of Canada to resolve the poverty of Canadians with disabilities by assuming a greater role in income security for persons with disabilities. A first step would be to make the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) refundable. Presently, only those with a taxable income receive any benefit from the DTC. CCD also called upon the Government of Canada to extend EI sick benefits from 15 weeks to 52 weeks thus enabling people with connection to the labor market to retain their jobs and deal with their health issues. This benefit would be particularly helpful to those with episodic disabilities such as mental health concerns or Multiple Sclerosis. Additionally, CCD urged the Government of Canada to explore long-term substantive options for addressing poverty and disability, such as the Basic Income Initiative proposed by the Caledon Institute on Social Policy.

Other presenters included Dr. Michael J. Prince of the University of Victoria, Michael Mendelson of the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, and Walter Zelaya of COPHAN.

End Exclusion Update

  • CCD shared the National Action Plan on Disability with all MPs.
  • The NDP caucus endorsed the National Action Plan.
  • The Liberal's Green Shift policy endorsed a refundable disability tax credit for low income Canadians with disabilities.
  • CCD is distributing a flyer called "Your Help Is Needed". Everyone is encouraged to present the National Action Plan on Disability to their MP this summer.

Access to Technology Committee

CCD Responds to CRTC Consultation Notice

On 18 June 2008, the CCD Access to Technology Committee, which is chaired by Kier Martin, met to discuss the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) 10 June 2008 notice of a consultation regarding "Unresolved issues related to the accessibility of telecommunications and broadcasting service to persons with disabilities".

The CRTC is an independent agency responsible for regulating Canada's broadcasting and telecommunications systems. It reports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

The CRTC proceeding will include in-person presentations to the Commission, which will begin on 17 November 2008 at the Conference Centre in Gatineau, Quebec. CCD will make a presentation.

End of Life Issues

VP-Net Ethics Conference

On 9 June 2008, the VP-Net Ethics stream held a conference, which focused on the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeon's Statement on Withholding and Withdrawing Life Sustaining Treatment. Rhonda Wiebe and Dr. Joe Kaufert provided the leadership for this important conference, which raised many key issues about the ethics of withholding and withdrawing life sustaining treatment. This event, which was open to the public, provided an opportunity for Manitobans from many different communities to hear a thought provoking address by Dr. Jocelyn Downie. In the afternoon, there was a panel which included Jim Derksen, Dean Richert and Dr. Nancy Hansen from the disability community. Laurie Beachell and April D'Aubin from the CCD office attended this event.

Mark Your Calendar

National Euthanasia Symposium on Death Making

24-25 October 2008&#8212Winnipeg, Manitoba
Sponsored by: Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Canada

Speakers Include:

  • Diane Coleman and Stephen Drake from Not Dead Yet
  • Rhonda Wiebe, MLPD
  • Jim Derksen, CCD
  • Dr. Mark Moster, Institute for the Study of Disability and Bioethics
  • Neil Kraveski, Lawyer for Samuel Golubchuk
  • Hugh Scher, Legal Counsel for Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

To register contact: Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Tel.: 1-877-439-3348
Email: info@epcc.ca
Web: www.epcc.ca

CCD: Some fast facts

National Council

  • Met on 7-8 June 2008 in Winnipeg.
  • The AGM occurred on 8 June 2008.

CCD's new Executive Committee:

  • Marie White, Chairperson
  • John Rae, First Vice Chair
  • Carmela Hutchison, Second Vice Chair
  • Roy Muise, Treasurer
  • Claredon Robicheau, Secretary
  • Susan Ralph, Member-at-Large

Members-at-Large on Council:

  • Robin East
  • Doreen Gyorkos

Committee Chairs:

  • Yvonne Peters, Human Rights Committee
  • Steve Estey, International Development Committee
  • Marie White, Social Policy Committee
  • Pat Danforth, Transportation Committee
  • Kier Martin, Access to Technology

New Committee Established

The Council established a new committee to address issues such as assisted suicide, Latimer, euthanasia. Rhonda Wiebe and Dean Richert will co-chair this new Committee.

CCD Award Recipients:

Organization Recipient
BCCPD Linda Bartram
ACCD Larry Pempeit
SK Voice Thelma Sinclair
COPHAN Simon Lortie (posthumously)
NS-LEO Cynthia Bruce
PEI Council Anne M. McPhee
CAD Leanor Vlug
NEADS Stephen McDonnell
NNMH James Fardy (posthumously), Carmela Hutchison
TVAC Johanne Hébert
CWD—O Tracy Odell
AEBC Richard Marion
NWT Council Kim Poulter

Support CCD's Disability Rights Defense Fund (CCD-DRDF)

One step forward. One step backward. This was the Council of Canadians with Disabilities' (CCD) recent experience in the courts and it points to the Canadian disability community's on-going need for a robust litigation capacity.

Early in May, the CCD learned that the Federal Court of Appeal rejected Air Canada's and West Jet's bid to appeal the Canadian Transportation Agency's (CTA) positive decision regarding passengers with disabilities who require additional seats when travelling by air. The CTA ruled that a passenger with a disability should not be required to pay for additional seats required to accommodate his/her disability. Through this legal initiative, begun in 2002, CCD is working to eliminate another barrier to the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities. As already mentioned, CCD has learned the airlines are seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

CCD's victory in the VIA Rail case, where the Supreme Court of Canada strongly upheld the equality rights of persons with disabilities, undoubtedly contributed to the positive decision in the One Person/One Fare case. The language in the VIA Rail Case, regarding accessibility and ensuring no new barriers will be created, will stand the disability community in good stead for years to come.

Later in May, the Federal Court of Canada quashed the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision in Bob Brown's case concerning the lack of universal access provided by the York Street Steps in Ottawa. CCD intervened in this case, making strong arguments concerning universal design and the importance of consultation with the disability community when developing an accommodation. Should this matter be appealed, CCD would want to continue with our intervention.

CCD is concerned, however, about whether we will have sufficient resources in the future to continue fighting discrimination in the courts. CCD has made extensive use of the Court Challenges Program (CCP) to support its equality rights litigation. As you know, CCP was defunded by the current government and thus access to justice for persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups is seriously limited. A case like CCD's seven year battle with VIA Rail can expend in excess of $500,000 in legal fees alone. The One person/One Fare case has only been possible because of the considerable support of our legal counsel David Baker of bakerlaw.

To begin to address our concerns about funding future litigation, CCD has established a Disability Rights Defense Fund. This fund has been established to offset some of the costs of litigation, however at present, it can realistically only support interventions, not the taking forward of cases where CCD is the plaintiff. CCD is beginning a campaign to build a more substantive Fund and to this end thus we seek your support. This Fund accepts charitable donations earmarked for litigation and CCD is seeking contributions from its network and beyond to support the Disability Rights Defense Fund.

The Court Challenges Program was founded in 1987 to administer funding for equality rights and language rights test cases. The current Federal Government withdrew funding from this vitally important community organization in 2006, severely limiting access to justice for equality seeking communities, such as persons with disabilities. Unwilling to have the termination of the CCP hamper its ability to seek justice through the courts, CCD is developing new strategies, such as the CCD-DRDF, to bolster its capacity to fight discrimination. At the same time, CCD continues to call upon the Federal Government of Canada to reinstate funding for the CCP. Our litigation track record demonstrates how important access to the courts is when it comes to the elimination of barriers.

The One Person/One Fare case and the VIA Rail case are not the only instances where legal action has strengthened the rights of persons with disabilities in Canada. CCD has been involved in many of the landmark cases that have helped to bring down barriers that were preventing the full and equal participation of Canadians with disabilities. CCD has used the Canadian legal system to advance jurisprudence on the following issues:

  • the accommodation of people with disabilities in employment (Bhinder, O'Malley, and Grismer cases),
  • access to long term disability benefits (Gibbs case),
  • how equality is defined under the Charterof Rights and Freedoms (the Andrews case, the Lovelace case),
  • inclusive education (Eaton case),
  • the right of deaf people to have interpreters in medical settings (Eldridge case),
  • the application of the proscribed legal penalties when the victim of a killing is a person with a disability (Genereux and Latimer), and
  • the equal protection of the law (Latimer case).

CCD intervened in these cases to share with the court a disability rights perspective on the issues under consideration. Through CCD's intervention, the judges had the opportunity to benefit from the collective experiences of the disability rights community and the analysis of human rights by legal experts fully informed by disability experience.

It must be understood that litigation is NOT CCD's preferred strategy for removing barriers. CCD would rather be working collaboratively with Government in areas of law and policy reform. Certainly this would be more cost effective and productive, however, since no dialogue on social policy currently exists, litigation becomes an option simply because other avenues are closed. CCD would prefer to be in dialogue with Transport Canada on numerous issues but at present the Department has shown no interest in talking with the disability community about how barriers might be removed.

There are always new cases making their way through the legal system. In many instances, the courts need to hear the disability rights perspective on the issues being resolved. Your contribution to the CCD-Disability Rights Defense Fund will assist CCD to participate in equality rights cases of critical importance to Canadians with disabilities.

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities is a registered charity. Donations are tax deductible and you will receive a charitable tax receipt for 100% of your gift to the CCD. To minimize administrative costs, the CCD uses the services of Canada Helps (www.canadahelps.org) for on-line donation transactions. Canada Helps is a secure and easy way to give. Of course, donations can also be mailed to: CCD, 926-294 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 0B9.

CCD Member Group Quarterly Update

British Columbia Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD)

Emergency Planning Strategies

From communication with the public during disasters, to evacuation, post-evacuation assistance, and recovery, people with disabilities have different needs than the general public. And these needs must be included in emergency planning strategies.

Over the past few years, BCCPD has been working collaboratively with a broad network of disability organizations and people with disabilities to build relationships with the emergency management sector. We have initiated several projects related to emergency preparedness, including formation of the Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities Committee (EPPDC) which is made up of representatives of these sectors.

Here is a list of the various projects and publications:

In 2008, BCCPD held 3 workshops on Planning, Response and Recovery which culminated in the report: "A Road Map to Emergency Planning for People with Disabilities." The report summarizes the outcomes of the workshops, proposed actions, panel presentations, and includes workshop resources.

"Workplace Emergency Planning for Workers with Disabilities: A Handbook for Employers and Workers." The handbook helps employers to develop emergency response plans that include employees with a range of disabilities.

"Checklist to Facilitate Health Emergency Planning for At-Risk People" assists emergency managers to develop and implement plans and operational protocols to maintain the safety and health of more vulnerable people during emergencies.

"Learning C-MIST: Train the Trainer: Helping individuals with disabilities create personal preparedness plans." This is a workshop manual for community leaders on considering people's "functional needs" in an emergency, rather than merely their disability.

The BCCPD is also a member of the Public Safety Education Advisory Committee which is made up of different emergency stakeholders and produced the "Public Safety Education Plan for Vulnerable, At-Risk and Multicultural Populations." The purpose of the committee and the plan is to facilitate vulnerable population groups accessing appropriate public safety education materials.

For information, please contact Karen at BCCPD.

Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities (ACCD)

Therapeutic Pool Closes

In early March 2008, ACCD was approached by Dave Denholm and Ian McLachlan, two Edmonton-based seniors looking for assistance in their efforts to keep the Edmonton General Hospital's therapeutic pool open.

Denholm and McLachlan, representing the Save the Pool committee, showed ACCD a petition signed by over 100 seniors who used the pool and who were lamenting its closure. Denholm explained, "Most of the people using the pool are outpatients, primarily elderly, who have no alternative means of getting the exercise they need in any other way within the community. For a great many of these people, the pool is their only means of maintaining an exercise regime, and the curtailment of these programs represents a major problem for their continuing ability to function with some degree of independence."

To assist the lobbying efforts of the group, ACCD wrote a letter to John Brennan, Chair of the Caritas Health Group. In the letter, ACCD outlined the pool users' concerns, stating:

Other pools are not appropriate for these seniors. They cannot simply "join the Y." The pool at Edmonton General had many advantages that are not available at any other pool in Edmonton. These include ramp, depth of pool, water temperature, railings, and proximity to other services to seniors, to name a few.

Despite "many exhausting and discouraging months of intense lobbying" by the Save the Pool committee, the decision was made to close the pool.

In a letter to the Edmonton Journal, committee secretary Sandi Price notes, "While the committee to Save the Pool may have drowned, a new committee is forming and will continue the challenge of finding ways and means to remain active in warm water and to find ways to remain active and age in place."

Respite Care Project

The Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities is working with the Alberta Disabilities Forum on a new project, funded by Alberta Health & Wellness, that explores various perspectives on respite care needs in Alberta.

Caregiver fatigue is a significant issue and respite care alternatives are critical in order to keep families from 'burning out.' Lack of respite care is an issue across the continuum of continuing care and impacts caregivers of persons with disabilities at home, in supportive or assisted living facilities, and in residential settings.

The goal of providing a Provincial Caregiver Respite Program is to enable caregivers of persons with disabilities to maintain or enhance their own health and well-being while providing support and assistance to the individual with a disability. It is a tool to deliver an individualized service to caregivers that is focused on promoting health and quality of life. It is a means of responding to the various individual needs of caregivers in geographically diverse locations and eliminates the needs of persons traveling to defined respite or wellness programs.

Although the focus of respite care is the caregiver, persons with disabilities have reported benefits of respite care programs including raising spirits, providing peace of mind, feeling good that the caregiver was able to do something for him/herself, alleviating the feeling of being a burden, feeling more relaxed, and improving relationship with the caregiver. Many reported an increase in quality of life as a result of caregiver support received by the primary caregiver.

The provision of respite care services not only enhances quality of life for caregivers of persons with disabilities and persons with disabilities, but may also serve to prevent or forestall the need for more intensive services such as caregiver replacement.

The project has three phases: research and consultation; demonstration project; and final report production. The project will be 18 months in duration ending on September 30, 2009.

Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD)

Planning for the Future

The 2007-08 year has been a challenging one for MLPD, both financially and because we embarked on a major strategic planning exercise, which is still ongoing.

Following the 2007 annual general meeting, a planning committee was struck to organize and carry out a major strategic planning event which was held on February 23, 2008. Prior to this session, initial feedback was sought from members and community organizations the MLPD works with to serve as a starting point for discussion at the planning event. At this session, Facilitator Marsha Dozar led 42 members, organizational representatives and interested persons from the disability community through the daylong strategic planning session. The morning began with reports from the three planning sub committees: Community and Government Relations, Office Administration and Membership. Four groups then took turns discussing: (1) membership; (2) community/government relations; (3) finances and fundraising and (4) organizational structure, functioning, leadership and governance.

During the afternoon, participants identified priority issues for the coming year and recommended continuing with the existing mission statement and goals while making changes to organizational structure, leadership, staffing, operations and procedures. The majority of members indicated the MLPD is still relevant and that after 34 years it should continue. Housing, income security and transportation were felt to be important issues, as was the need for a revitalized membership and a greater degree of involvement of members.

The current challenges faced by MLPD include:

  • a declining and aging leadership,
  • a loss of profile as an umbrella association,
  • decision-makers' wish for solutions not simply problem identification,
  • a very competitive fundraising environment,
  • less recognition of the value of advocacy organizations and greater emphasis on service delivery,
  • inability to create an inclusive, transparent and effective organizational structure with present resources.

Issues Critical to MLPD Rebuilding Include:

  1. Membership Renewal
  2. Strengthening Community and Government Relations
  3. Revitalizing Finances and Fundraising Capacity
  4. Creating an Effective Governance Model, Structure and Leadership

Since the February planning event, the MLPD Provincial Council has undertaken several key initiatives as a starting point to revitalizing the MLPD. As a result of the MLPD's current critical financial situation, the position of Provincial Coordinator was eliminated at the end of March 2008. We thank Carol Polson, Provincial Coordinator for the past seven years, for her dedicated service to MLPD. A Volunteer Management Team was formulated to oversee the day-to-day operations of MLPD and to work with our Administrative Coordinator to ensure the organization functions smoothly on a daily basis. A Proposal Writing Group has been formed to develop proposals and prepare reports to funders.

Over the next several months, the MLPD will be working with Jim Derksen who has been hired by MLPD to lay out a more in-depth strategic planning document which will include directions to renew and revitalize the organization, ways to involve the membership (and particularly youth with disabilities) in organizational activities to a greater extent and to foster financial sustainability.

We held our annual general meeting on June 6 2008 with Marie White, Chairperson of CCD, as guest speaker. The following members were elected to Provincial Council: Zanna Joyce, Paula Keirstead, Ross Eadie, Terry McIntosh, Joe Hearn and Theresa Swedick to fill existing vacancies.

At a Council meeting on June 16, the following Executive was elected: Terry McIntosh and Harry Wolbert, Co-Chairs; Dean Richert, 1st Vice Chairperson; Colleen Watters, 2nd Vice Chairperson; Ross Eadie, Secretary; Clare Simpson, Treasurer.

Other highlights of the past year include:

Ethics Committee:

The MLPD Ethics Committee was revitalized in February 2008 to develop strategies for dealing with such issues as the Golobchuk case and the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons' (MCPS) Statement on withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment. Committee members attended two lunch and learn sessions relating to the College's statement and participated in a VP-Net conference on June 9 related to end of life issues and withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment. In addition, the committee drafted a letter to the College in response to their statement.

Housing Committee:

Housing Committee members heard February 8 that Habitat for Humanity Winnipeg has committed eight of its 11 home building projects in 2008 to visitable design. The Committee also identified a need for more and better housing for those with low to moderate incomes with an eye to the aging "Boomer" population of people with disabilities. The Committee and the Winnipeg Social Planning Council Poverty Committee are planning a member exchange

Confédération des organismes de personnes Handicapées du Québec

For an Inclusive Quebec

Persons with functional disabilities and their families want a comprehensive policy based on the right to equality and the enjoyment of all rights and freedoms that would involve all social, economic, cultural, civil and political actors. The policy must set objectives for the inclusion of persons with functional disabilities; timelines; financial and human resources necessary to ensure its application; and the implementation of a solid tracking and evaluation/review mechanism. The policy must declare that the equal social participation of persons with functional disabilities and their families continues to be a societal issue. The policy must be expressed using clear and simple terms so that it can be communicated to all components of society as well as accessible to all those for whom it is intended.

A Policy for Applying the Necessary Conditions to Exercise Rights

In order to ensure the full and equal participation of persons with functional disabilities in society, the policy must promote and ensure the application of the necessary conditions so that persons with functional disabilities and their families can fully enjoy all rights and freedoms.


The policy must engage Quebec society to achieve inclusion (see Appendix).

The policy must clearly state that persons with functional disabilities and their families are equal citizens as all other citizens, both under the law and in practice.

It must state that the right to equality constitutes the basis for all actions that lead to the full and equal participation of persons with functional disabilities and their families in all areas of human activity; and in the exercising of their political, economic, civil, social and cultural rights.

It is mandatory that the policy be founded on the fact that living with one or several functional disabilities constitutes a potential factor for exclusion and discrimination under existing environmental conditions for exercising rights.

The policy must aim to bring consistency to laws, regulations, directives and all other administrative decisions in a manner that ensures that persons with functional disabilities and their families have equal access to all programs, services and measures intended for use by the general population; and that their rights be equally respected in all Quebec regions.

Engaging All Actors of Society

The policy must be intended for all people and all components of Quebec society. It must be the point of reference for all political, civil, economic, social, cultural and any other actors so that their actions are consistent and contributing to the development of an inclusive Quebec.

The policy must hold the public, paragovernmental, private and community sectors accountable. They must commit to its complete implementation so that persons with functional disabilities and their families can exercise all their rights equally.

The policy must define the tracking and management mechanisms that will ensure that the public, paragovernmental, private and community sectors have the financial, technical, material and human resources required in order to be able to achieve the inclusion and the right to equality of persons with functional disabilities and their families, in their respective structures, programs, services, measures and in any actions undertaken.

The Same Rights and Freedoms for All

The policy must interpolate all actors, hold them accountable and engage them to respect all rights and freedoms as stated in all Quebec, Canadian and international juridical tools.

A Rationale for Parity and for the Elimination of Barriers

The policy must recognize that a situation of handicap stems from the interaction between what belongs to the person (personal factors) and what belongs to the environment (environmental factors). The interaction that occurs between these two factors and their impact on the person's lifestyle and life objectives will either create a situation of social participation where the person will be able to exercise all his or her rights, or create a situation of handicap.

The policy must identify situations of handicap as well as decrease and eliminate obstacles. It must set objectives for results along with targets for achieving parity for all Quebec citizens.

Transversal Application of the Policy Result: An Inclusive Quebec

In order for Quebec to make a commitment toward inclusion, the six following elements, which allow for the right to equality, must guide the implementation of the policy:

  • The fight against all forms of discrimination, whether they are direct, indirect, systemic or intersectional (see Appendix), and the fight against all forms of exploitation;
  • Universal accessibility (see Appendix);
  • The duty to accommodate (see Appendix);
  • Financial compensation for additional costs related to the disability;
  • Access to programs, services and measures intended for the general population;
  • Establishment and maintenance of alternative measures and, if needed, specific services.

Transversal Objectives

The policy must recognize that several transversal objectives apply to all areas of citizenship:

  • To provide the right to information and access to all forms of communication including new information technology;
  • To ensure that all training programs, whether they are academic, continuing education or independent programs, allow for the gaining of knowledge about disability issues, disability needs and how to meet those needs;
  • To ensure the participation and equal partnership of the person and of the independent disability community movement in both individual and collective decision making processes related to matters that concern them and all of society;
  • To ensure the development of measures that support families and caregivers;
  • To ensure the development of measures that support family life and parenting;
  • To recognize the expertise of family members and involve their participation in individual and collective decision making processes on matters that concern them;
  • To recognize independent community organizations as representational entities and as avenues for individual development and active participation;
  • To establish support and assistance programs and measures;
  • To coordinate and streamline resources and measures in order to prevent working in "silo environments".

Common Orientations

The policy must make a commitment to respond to orientations that are intersectorial and that get the different actors working together so that they do not delegate a part of their responsibilities to another actor. To achieve this, the policy must:

  • Confirm the government's responsibility and essential role in the obligation for means and for results;
  • Insist that all actors recognize and respect the heterogeneity of persons with functional disabilities (sex, age, social condition, type of disability, status, sexual orientation, language, ethno-cultural origin, etc.);
  • Use an approach that considers the whole person; focus on people's abilities; and respect people's freedom of choice, their independence and their empowerment;
  • Reinforce the recourses in the case of a violation of rights;
  • Ensure that both men and women benefit from their rights equally;
  • Prioritize and guarantee the necessary means for retention in the community;
  • Ensure a maximum protection against risk factors that can result in a disability and act on the determinants of health;
  • Fight against poverty and exclusion, and ensure to all persons the right to an adequate standard of life for themselves and their families. This includes food, clothing, adequate housing and on-going improvement to their living conditions;
  • Have recourse to the expertise of the person and of the independent community movement as well as make available the financial and human resources to develop the research potential of the independent disability community movement.

Specific Objectives To Achieve

The policy must define precise objectives toward the elimination of barriers that can be measured and evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively within determined timelines.

It must also guide and inform the action plan that will be developed and implemented under legislation, ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities toward their integration in school, workplace and society.

The policy must foresee tangible measures that will lead to the achievement of full rights, for example:

  • The right to gainful employment (the right to experience just and favourable conditions): employability strategies, continued education, school to work transition among others;
  • The right to protection and to the greatest support possible to families: family life and interpersonal relations; integration of children with functional disabilities in daycare; financial assistance among others;
  • The right to health (the right to enjoy good physical and mental health): access to health and social services; prevention programs and promotion of healthy living; optimal development and maintenance of abilities; home supports among others;
  • The right to education : inclusion and school adjustment programs; transition to other academic levels; integration of children with functional disabilities in daycare; continuing education; financial aid among others;
  • The right to housing;
  • The right to participate in cultural, leisure, touristic and sports activities;
  • The right to travel and commute freely;
  • Legal rights and access to justice;
  • Political rights (the right to vote and to run as a political candidate.

Tracking Mechanism

The policy must guarantee an independent tracking mechanism:

To establish a tracking committee with the mandate to evaluate the policy's implementation; to periodically present a report before the Quebec National Assembly that states its progress and setbacks; to make recommendations for the inclusion and the social participation of persons with functional disabilities and their families. Committee members must also include the expertise and participation of the independent disability community movement. Financial support must be set aside in order to favour the participation of the independent disability community movement.



Inclusion aims to form, right from the start, the collective approach required so that everyone can access and freely participate in all activities taking into account his or her needs.

Intersectional discrimination is a combination of multiple interacting forms of discrimination that together creates a particular and unique situation which calls for corrective action against the interaction of these discriminations rather than against each form of discrimination separately.

Social participation or exercising rights "a situation of social participation corresponds to having achieved a full life (and life objectives), resulting from the interaction between personal factors (disabilities, functional limitations and other personal characteristics) and environmental factors (facilitators and obstacles)".—Classification québécoise—Processus de production du handicap—Patrick Fougeyrollas, René Cloutier, Hélène Bergeron, Jacques Côté, Ginette Saint-Michel—RIPPH/SCCIDHI 1998.

Universal accessibility aims to design a barrier-free world in which the whole population, including persons with functional disabilities, can live freely and in safety; and have access to the same places, to the same services and to the same activities; and can experience the same things at the same time and in the same manner.

To practice universal accessibility means to be able to use the same available possibilities by all users like a building or a public site. For example, a slightly sloped entrance into a building will serve all users globally instead of installing an access ramp for some users as an alternative solution to the few steps for other users. Sidewalks can be laid out in a way that benches, garbage cans and parking meters do not constitute obstacles for users.

If universal accessibility advocates primarily for the design of a barrier-free environment as in buildings, public sites, urban infrastructures, devices or objects, then it will also spill over into other areas and will allow the development and implementation of programs, services and measures that will take into account all segments of the population for whom they are intended.

If also applied to the areas of information and communication, then universal accessibility implies that communication strategies and mechanisms be developed to communicate information accessibly to all consumers or targeted groups including persons with functional disabilities.

By integrating principles of universal accessibility right from the starting point of a given project, solutions will be simple, aesthetic and more cost effective than by taking on the project in traditional form. In fact universal accessibility, also known as "universal design" or "barrier-free design", has become a worldwide trend that is now otherwise unavoidable.

The duty to accommodate is necessary to achieve equal rights and many supreme court decisions, and those of other courts, have provided definitions such as in the "O'Malley" case (O'Malley v. Simpson's-Sears, [1985] 2 R.C.S. 536), the "Meiorin" case (British Columbia (Public Service Employee Relations Commission v. BCGSEU, [1999] 3 R.C.S. 3), the "Renaud" case (Central Okanagan School District No 23 v. Renaud (1992)), and the "Eldridge" case (Eldridge v. British Columbia (Crown Prosecution), [1997] 3. R.C.S. 624).

Currently, persons with functional disabilities have to adhere to the existing norms that determine the structure of the different systems in order to have access to education, health and social services, employment, culture, leisure activities, information, etc. Also, the subject group that makes up the norm is composed of persons with no functional disabilities. This creates an outcome of exclusion of persons with functional disabilities, unless the duty to accommodate is applied. Accommodating persons with functional disabilities relies on the application of permanent and preferential measures necessary to achieve and maintain equality of results, therefore modifying the norms on which these structures are founded as well as modifying the very structures that implement these systems.

The duty to accommodate aims to adapt the rules, practices and requirements of a given system. It also aims to adapt materials and the workplace environment in order to meet the needs of persons with functional disabilities. Without such measures, obstacles, whether they are related to architectural accessibility, salaries, communication mechanisms, methods, collective agreements, costs, prejudices, etc., will remain present and lead to outcomes that exclude persons with functional disabilities from systems that could instead be adapted in order to meet their needs.

The duty to accommodate process and how it is applied can be described as follows:

  1. The government has the fundamental obligation to respect human rights and, therefore, must take "reasonable" measures to respect them;
  2. The duty to accommodate is a vital part of the right to equality;
  3. It consists of taking reasonable measures that meet the needs of the person requesting an accommodation, unless the request causes undue hardship. It's the undue hardship that limits the duty to accommodate and not the adjective "reasonable";
  4. The criteria defining undue hardship have evolved over time all through jurisprudence. According to some judges, there are elements that can constitute undue hardship (MacIntyre), while other judges have defined a certain number of factors that must be considered when evaluating the degree of hardship (Wilson). In the "Meiorin" case, three criteria defined undue hardship:
    • An excessive cost: this represents an undue hardship if the cost is quantifiable and is beyond the necessary measure to accommodate; and if it would cause an important modification to the essential nature of the organization or, if it would considerably impact the organization's viability;
    • An impossibility;
    • A serious risk.
  5. "In order to prove that its norm is "reasonably necessary", the defendant must always demonstrate that it includes all possibilities of accommodation without resulting in undue hardship such as an impossibility, a serious risk or an excessive cost" (British Columbia (Public Service Employee Relations Commission) v. BCGSEU (1999));
  6. If the requested accommodation is possible, it must be adopted. The adjective "reasonable" indicates, then, that it must be proven that the accommodation measure will lead to one of the three forms of undue hardship, otherwise it is possible.

A Concerted Effort

So, maybe you were thinking of going to one of the concerts at Mile One Centre in St. John's this fall. Maybe it's Elton John you would like to see. As it's stated on the Mile One website, "So many people only dream to see such an icon live in concert. The St. John's community is extremely excited and is looking forward to the opportunity to show Sir Elton our famous Newfoundland hospitality." But, if you have a disability or require an attendant to take in the concert, you may have to just dream on, because you probably won't be taking advantage of our 'famous Newfoundland hospitality.' Why not? Because it will cost you an additional $112.50 to go to this concert.

On Tuesday, July 15, the Mile One Centre had posted on their website that they will not be honouring disabled attendant passes for either of the Elton John shows. But persons with disabilities can purchase an attendant pass and attend the concert for just $112.50 more than everybody else. With hospitality like this at home, why go anywhere else?

"Attendant passes provide persons with disabilities with the support they need to travel, or to access local events at Mile One, the Arts and Culture Centre, the Works, Empire Theatres, and St. John's and Mount Pearl recreational facilities. Even air travel now supports persons with disabilities with the recent One Person/One Fare policy—so that a person with a disability does not have to pay another fare for their attendant," said Susan Ralph, Chair of the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities—NL (COD-NL). "Attendant passes are regularly used at Mile One by persons with disabilities, why is this concert any different?" questioned Ms. Ralph.

"The inability of a person with a disability to use their attendant pass to attend this concert effectively makes it an exclusionary event, not an inclusive one," stated Ms. Ralph. "I guess this 'amazing honour' of seeing Sir Elton John is only available to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians without disabilities."

Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians

AEBC President Wins Landmark Transportation Case

On June 20, 2008, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) issued its Decision in Robin East's case ordering Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz to ensure sufficient floor space is provided for certified service animals at the seat of a passenger with a disability.

The Decision applies only to the travel of certified service animals within Canada on Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz aircrafts with 30 or more seats. A service animal is any guide dog, assistance dog, or other animal professionally trained and certified to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.

  • The Agency has ordered both carriers to take the following corrective measures within 90 days in order to remove undue obstacles to persons travelling with a service animal:
  • Develop policies and procedures for domestic flights to ensure that, at the time of reservation and upon receipt of a request at least 48 hours in advance, seating with sufficient floor space will be provided for the person travelling with their service animal, at no additional cost.
  • Make a reasonable effort to provide the service when less than 48 hours advance notice is provided.
  • Enter into dialogue with the person travelling with a service animal to determine floor space requirements of the service animal and how best to accommodate these requirements.

"I am thrilled with this decision," said AEBC President, Robin East. "This is an important day for all service animal users, and compliments the decision in the One Person/One Fare case which was favourably decided earlier this year."

To read the decision, visit the CTA's website at: http://www.cta-otc.gc.ca/rulings-decisions/decisions/2008/A/AT/327-AT-A-2008_e.html.

AEBC Holds Successful 2008 AGM

This year's Annual General Meeting in Toronto was very well attended, including many first time attendees. Much of the time of any AGM is taken up with reports and elections.

Re-elected to the Board were John Rae of Toronto as 1st VP, Anthony Tibbs of Montreal as Treasurer and Denise Sanders of Kelowna as Director Without Portfolio.

Newly elected for one year are two new Board members, Mark Workman of Edmonton as Secretary and Brenda Cooke of Saskatoon as Director Without Portfolio. They join Robin East, President from Saskatoon, and Richard Quan, Second Vice-President from Toronto who were elected for two year terms in 2007.

Resolutions adopted include support for ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities.

2008-06: Furthering Human Rights

Whereas, Resolution 2003-07 endorsed the DPI Sapporo Declaration and joined countless other organizations of persons with disabilities around the world in calling for the development of a specialized international human rights convention for people with disabilities which enshrines the full range of human rights issues specific to this global population; and

Whereas, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities has been developed and signed by the Government of Canada; and

Whereas, Canada needs to continue to show its leadership by ratifying the Convention;

Therefore, be it resolved:

1. Members of The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians call upon the Government of Canada to fast-track discussions with the provinces and territories so that Canada fully ratifies this new Convention; and

2. Members of the AEBC strongly urge that, following signing, federal, provincial and territorial governments take new steps to implement the provisions of this Convention, including increasing the involvement of rightsholder organizations such as the AEBC in developing new programs, policies and legislation to further the inclusion of persons with various disabilities in the life of our communities and of the world.

Sunday morning was devoted to a consultation on public library services with Mary Francis Laughton from Library and Archives Canada. She gave an outline of this three year project then many questions came from the floor. Much of the discussion covered a desire to have library services provided by publicly funded public libraries rather than through any charitable system.

A detailed report from this session will soon appear on the AEBC website, www.blindcanadians.ca.

On Saturday evening, members and friends had a fabulous time on a three hour boat cruise. The AEBC wishes to thank Frontier Computing for their generous contribution to this enjoyable evening.

Members voted to hold the next conference in Vancouver on the first weekend in May 2009.

AEBC Remains Active in Ontario Anti-poverty Campaign

The Ontario Government has set up a major cabinet committee to develop a poverty reduction strategy for the province. The Minister in charge, the Hon. Deb Matthews has held a series of "by invitation" meetings around the province, and Mike Yale and John Rae attended the second in Toronto. The AEBC has also filed an extensive Brief, entitled, "A COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC STRATEGY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES," which will soon be available on the AEBC website at: http://www.blindcanadians.ca/press_releases. The Brief emphasizes the need for the development of both income and labour market programs to help reduce the chronic level of poverty that continues to plague far too many persons with a disability who live in this affluent province.

DAWN CANADA DisAbled Women's Network Canada RAFH CANADA Réseau d'Action des Femmes Handicapées du Canada

Update on Accessibility of Women's Shelters

DAWN-RAFH Canada has had a wonderful and positive response to our National Accessibility and Accommodation Survey (NAAS). In June, we sent out letters to shelters across Canada asking them to participate in an audit of accessibility and accommodation of their shelters.

The responses have been from across Canada, however, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have not responded yet. If you are from one of these provinces, we would appreciate any help you could give us in encouraging shelters to participate. Or, if you would like to help carry out the Survey in any other area, we would welcome your participation. Please contact Sujata Dey at sujatadeyqs@gmail.com if you can help in the survey effort.

We will present the results of the NAAS at the First World Shelters Conference being held in Edmonton, September 8-11, 2008. DAWN-RAFH Canada will be participating in a panel with Women with Disabilities Australia and the Barbados Association of the Disabled on the issues of women with disabilities and violence. Also, DAWN-RAFH Canada is organizing a Best Practices Workshop for Shelters, looking at how to make shelters more accessible and accommodating to women with disabilities.

National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)

NEADS and BMO Capital Markets Award Equity Through Education Student Awards

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) and BMO Capital Markets are pleased to announce the five winners of the 2008 NEADS Equity Through Education Student Awards: Julie Bomhof, Lisa Pascal, Ashley Shaw, Tracy Teeple and Alexandre Desrosiers. This year's Awards were given in the categories of: College/Cégep, University Undergraduate Studies, and Graduate Studies, and were selected based on commitment to an academic field and level of community involvement. All recipients will be receiving $3,000 to support the costs of their tuition and student fees.

Julie Bomhof

Julie Bomhof of Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia is this year's winner in the College/Cégep category. She is currently in the University Transfer Program as well as working toward her diploma in Music. Ms. Bomhof is a singer, songwriter and musician. She spent five years volunteering with Youth With A Mission in Scotland organizing short term missions, training and outreach to countries in need. Diagnosis and treatment of Major Clinical Depression came when she returned to her home town of Victoria, B.C. This was a turning point as it led to her discovery of Music Therapy, which combines her natural gifts in caring for people and playing music. Music Therapy is the skillful use of music as a therapeutic tool to restore, maintain, and improve mental, physical, and emotional health.


Lisa Pascal of Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec is one of this year's winners in the Undergraduate degree category. She is finishing the second year of a B.A. program, specializing in Psychology. Lisa is a mentor in her community for young women and provides volunteer supportive counselling at a local community organization. Lisa's goal is to continue her academic career at the post-undergraduate level and excel academically through balancing her career goals with yoga, dancing, reiki and demonstrated on-going commitment to her community.

Ashley Shaw

Ashley Shaw of McGill University, Montreal, Quebec is the second of this year's winners in the Undergraduate degree category. She is completing the third year of a B.A. program, specializing in Sociology. Ashley hopes to continue her education at the post-graduate level with the career goal of obtaining her doctorate in Sociology. Ashley is active in the academic community through her volunteer commitment to accessing and managing the provision of alternative formats for students with disabilities. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys choral music and singing in her local choir.

Tracy Teeple

Tracy Teeple of Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario (M.Sc candidate, Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering) is this year's winner in the category of Graduate Studies. Tracy's long-term career objective is to draw on her professional and academic background to enhance the ergonomics field and practice. She has affiliations with the Queen's Ergonomics Research Group, Human Mobility Research Centre, and the Advanced Design and Manufacturing Institute. She also works among a team of researchers at Niagara Orthopaedics Worldwide (N.O.W.W.) charitable organization involved in the design, testing, and product rollout of the Niagara Foot™. Tracy recently attended the 12th World Congress of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) conference where she presented her thesis project.



NEADS Receives Funding for Science and Technology Project

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) is proud to announce a new two year initiative, developed through a funding partnership with the Imperial Oil Foundation. Enhancing Opportunities for Post-Secondary Students and Graduates with Disabilities in Science and Technology Related Fields will launch in April, 2008 and conclude in March, 2010. NEADS will receive $120,000 from the Foundation for the project.

While research has been conducted on factors affecting the inclusion of the general student population in science and technology-related programs, very little work has been done to highlight the issues and challenges faced by students and employees with disabilities within this sector. Furthermore, the identification of role models or success stories in science and technology is not encouraged; every student and educator, or every employer and employee, facing these issues may well believe that they are the first, ever, to do so.

NEADS is in a unique position to remove these barriers, and address issues specific to persons with disabilities in science and technology, by leveraging our extensive network of college and university service providers, and students and recent graduates with disabilities. It is not our goal to re-invent the wheel and revisit research that has already been conducted. Instead, with a specific focus on students and employees with disabilities in the science and technology sector, and with the establishment of partnerships including organizations who are already conducting science and technology outreach, we hope to contribute in a novel and unique way to the inclusion of students with disabilities in science and technology-related programs and employment.

There are four aspects to the project:

  1. The development of a guidebook, Promoting Careers in Canada's Science and Technology Sectors to Students and Recent Graduates with Disabilities: Success Stories, Best Practices and Resources;
  2. The hosting of a national conference workshop on Education and Employment in Science and Technology for People with Disabilities" at the 2008 NEADS National Conference in Ottawa;
  3. Research and development of the concept of a national science and technology fair for students with disabilities as an outreach tool to encourage participation and visibility of students with disabilities in the science and technology sector;
  4. The establishment of a network of stakeholders and existing organizations to examine the research findings in the guidebook and develop strategies for communication, dissemination and implementation of strategies to counter barriers faced by students with disabilities in the science and technology fields.

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) is a consumer controlled, registered charitable organization with a mandate to encourage the self-empowerment of post-secondary students and graduates with disabilities in Canada. NEADS advocates for increased accessibility at all levels so that students with disabilities may gain equal access to a college or university education, which is the right of everyone. The Association also supports the successful transition of students and graduates with disabilities into employment within their chosen field.

Imperial Oil Limited has been contributing to communities across Canada for the past 126 years. Imperial Oil contributed more than $12 million to enhance the well-being of communities across Canada in 2006, building on a tradition of corporate giving that began with the company's inception in 1880. Supporting organizations where we live and work, the company emphasizes investment in education of math and sciences, environment, and civic and community programs where we have employees or business operations.

National Conference 2008: "Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow"

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) is pleased to announce our 2008 national conference, "Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow." It will take place at the Delta Ottawa Hotel and Suites from November 14-16, 2008. The conference will focus on solutions to drive change.

This year's event will be an exciting opportunity for students, consumer advocates, service providers, employers and all others interested in exploring key issues of equal access to post-secondary education and employment for students and graduates with disabilities. We welcome delegates from across Canada and around the world. The 2008 conference is being organized by a Conference Planning Committee, comprised of NEADS board members and chaired by Agnes Tomkow, NEADS Alberta Representative.

The four workshop themes are:

  1. Job Search Strategies: Competing in the Job Market
  2. Enhancing Opportunities in Science and Technology Related Fields
  3. Solutions to Library/Print Material Access
  4. Issues on Campus: Perspectives from Students with Disabilities

NEADS wishes to acknowledge, with thanks, generous donations from BMO Capital Markets and its Equity Through Education Program. The Equity Through Education Program is supporting the Job Search Strategies: Competing in the Job Market workshop—which is one in a series of forums being held across the country from 2005 to 2009.

The workshop Enhancing Opportunities in Science and Technology Related Fields has been made possible thanks to funding from the Imperial Oil Foundation. The Imperial Oil Foundation is funding a two year NEADS project on persons with disabilities in science and technology fields.

In addition to a Saturday evening banquet, we will hold our Annual General Meeting and elections for our 2008-2010 Board of Directors on Sunday.

Those who register on or before October 10 can take advantage of an early registration fee of $70 CDN for students and $130 CDN for all others. After October 10, the registration fee is $90 CDN for student delegates and $170 CDN for all others. Optional tickets for our Saturday evening Banquet will also be available for a nominal fee of $10 CDN.

Guest rooms are available at the Delta Ottawa Hotel and Suites (361 Queen Street) at the conference rate of $122 CDN per night plus tax, single or double occupancy. Rooms are also available across the street at the Radisson Hotel (402 Queen Street) at a rate of $110 CDN plus tax per night, single or double occupancy.

Delegates can book and pay for their accommodations at the Delta Ottawa Hotel and Suites by contacting toll free 1(800) 268-1133 or direct at (613) 238-6000, or e-mail the Reservations Manager, Carolyn Campeau: ccampeau@deltahotels.com. When booking at the Delta, mention the reservation file code (GGNEA3) to get the conference rate. To book and pay for a room at the Radisson Hotel Ottawa Parliament Hill, contact the hotel toll-free at (877) 557-5565 or direct at (613) 236-1133. When booking, mention the group block "NEADS" to get the conference rate. Accessible rooms are available at both hotels upon request.

Our Call for Speakers, conference registration form, and information/nomination form for those interested in running for a position on the NEADS Board of Directors, are available on our web site at www.neads.ca/conference2008.

CCD Award Winner 2008

Stephen McDonnell

We are proud to announce that Stephen McDonnell is the recipient of the 2008 Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) Award.

Stephen is being honoured for his years of outstanding support of hiring and accommodating persons with disabilities in the workplace. Stephen is also being recognized for his exemplary contribution to NEADS and its project work. He has been a speaker and active participant in the Job Search Strategies (JSS) Forums Project since 2005, attending events held across Canada. The JSS Forums, funded by BMO Capital Markets' Equity Through Education Program, support the transition of persons with disabilities from post-secondary education into the employment market.

"NEADS is proud to recognize Stephen's individual contributions toward the Job Search Strategy Forums project," said Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai, NEADS President. "It is important for us to recognize our friends and partners in the community and the private sector. As Stephen moves on in his work, we wish him well and offer this measure of thanks for all he has done in support of NEADS' mission."

Stephen is currently the Senior Advisor of External Communications for BMO Financial Group. Over a 22-year career with the bank, Stephen has worked tirelessly in the recruitment and accommodation of persons with disabilities. He is a native Torontonian who has been a community volunteer for close to 20 years. Stephen is former Chair of LOFT Community Services in Toronto, offering housing, outreach, and community support to vulnerable and homeless people, seniors, youth at risk and people with disabilities. His volunteer activities have been recognized by the Toronto Chapter of the CFRA and the Canadian Red Cross Society for supporting their national strategy to provide emergency support to the homeless.

Stephen McDonnell has served on the board of directors of the AIDS Committee of Toronto, Canada's largest AIDS service organization and has consulted with them on issues relevant to workplace accommodation and employment. He also served a term on the board of the Ontario HIV Treatment Network, an initiative of the Ministry of Health, supporting their diversity initiatives. Stephen's background is in pastoral care and theology and he has worked in Ottawa, Toronto, and the nine northern counties of Mississippi in the United States.

NEADS is a national organization that works to achieve full access to education for post-secondary students with disabilities across Canada. NEADS also supports the transition from school to the employment market for college and university graduates with disabilities.

For more information, please contact the NEADS National Office:
National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)
Rm. 426 Unicentre, Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6
tel. (613) 526-8008

NEADS Online Calendar

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students is pleased to announce the launch of a new feature on our web site. The NEADS Online Calendar is now publicly available. This calendar will be a one-stop shop for information on upcoming events relevant to our stakeholders, notably in the areas of disability, education and employment.

NEADS welcomes submissions from organizations and individuals to be posted on its national calendar. Events must be relevant to our membership and are subject to review prior to posting. To submit an event, please visit our web site and complete the form: http://www.neads.ca/en/about/event.

A Voice of Our Own is produced through the resources provided by Human Resources Development Government of Canada.

(Articles appearing in "A Voice of Our Own" may not represent positions held by CCD.)