CCD A Voice of Our Own - Winter 2013

On the CCD Agenda:

Budget 2013: Creating More Inclusive Labour Markets

CCD is pleased to see a reaffirmation within Budget 2013 of continued support for Canadians with disabilities through extension of the Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities, and the fact that the Enabling Accessibility Fund and the Opportunities Fund have been made permanent programs.  The Government of Canada speaks also about the “transformation” of these programs to better meet the needs of employers and people with disabilities. 

CCD is also pleased to see the creation of a Canadian Employers’ Disability Forum that will seek greater engagement of the private sector in expanding employment opportunities for Canadians with disabilities.  “Good programs result when people with disabilities are directly engaged in their development.  We look forward to Canadians with disabilities and our organizations being engaged in the work of the Employers’ Disability Forum,” said Tony Dolan, National Chairperson of CCD.

A key consideration within the Canada Job Grant program will be addressing the accommodation needs of persons with disabilities.  “ If you are deaf and need sign language interpretation, or have a developmental disability and need a job coach, or have a vision impairment and need accessible technology, support for disability accommodation needs within the Canada Job Grant program will be integral to successful outcomes for Canadians with disabilities,” said Marie Ryan, Chair of CCD’s Social Policy Committee.

Transformation of Canadian society to be more inclusive and accessible requires ongoing investments in Canadians with disabilities and their organizations.  “Better outcomes will be achieved if people with disabilities are directly engaged in the design of programs and services created to support us,” said Dolan.

CCD and CACL Testified at Carter Appeal (Assisted Suicide) Hearing

On Monday March 18, 2013, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) joined the Attorneys General of British Columbia and Canada before the BC Court of Appeal on March 18 for a hearing in Carter v. Attorney General.  The appeal was from a ruling issued on June 15, 2012 in which Justice Lynn Smith declared that Canada’s assisted suicide prohibition violated Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

CCD and CACL, who represent persons with disabilities throughout Canada, argued that the ban should remain in place, because assisted suicide reinforces disability discrimination and puts vulnerable persons at risk.

‟Allowing assisted suicide and euthanasia creates a double standard,” said Dean Richert, Chair of CCD’s Ending of Life Ethics Committee, who noted that virtually all people who have lost their lives from assisted suicide have a disability.  ‟When non-disabled people say they want to kill themselves, society mobilizes to prevent their suicides, in keeping with Canadian values of interdependence and mutual support.  However when ill and disabled people ask to die, the helping hand only pushes them toward death” said Richert.

Richert noted that under British Columbia law, people can be involuntarily committed for psychiatric care if they pose a danger to themselves.  He said true equality would mean applying these same suicide prevention policies to everyone.

Laurie Larson, President of CACL and a mother of two sons with significant disabilities said this issue will affect ‟the growing number of Canadians who are born with, or acquire significant disabilities through injury, illness or aging.”  Larson said the growing support for assisted suicide comes from a ‟deepening cultural shift, the idea that life is worse than death for people with certain experiences of disabilities.”

In her nearly 400-page decision, Justice Smith found no danger to people with disabilities where euthanasia and assisted suicide are currently legal, saying it was unnecessary to protect ‟hypothetical patients from hypothetical harm.”  However a recent appeals court decision in Ireland came to the opposite conclusion.

‟The wider impact on people with intellectual disabilities is undeniable,” said Larson.  ‟The message to this group of Canadians is that their life, their presence in Canadian society, does not have equal value.  It is in precisely this context that the hugely disproportionate rates of violence against people with disabilities are bred.”

Amy Hasbrouck, working with CCD to create Not Dead Yet Canada, described the potential flaws in so-called safeguards: ‟Voluntary requests can be influenced by economic and social factors, or direct pressure; Competency evaluations don’t account for diagnosing depression and other treatable conditions that can cause suicidal feelings; ‛Informed’ consent does not require that necessary services and supports be in place to alleviate the problems that give rise to the suicide request; after-the-fact measures don’t prevent errors from causing unnecessary deaths; the list goes on and on,” said Hasbrouck.

Jim Derksen, a member of CCD’s Ethics Committee, emphasized that people already have the legal right to control their deaths by refusing medical treatment, food and water.  He wondered if assisted suicide is worth risking the lives of so many, so that a few people can have greater precision in dictating the time and manner of their deaths.

Frequently Asked Questions about Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia


Rhonda Wiebe, Co-chair CCD Ending of Life Ethics Committee and Amy Hasbrouck, Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet

Q: Aren’t we making people endure terrible pain and suffering if we don’t allow doctors to help them commit suicide?

  • Although physical pain is often given as the main reason for allowing assisted suicide, pain is rarely an important factor when people ask to die.  Only 22% of people who ask for assisted suicide in Oregon give “pain or the fear of pain” as the reason they want to die.  In fact, physical pain can almost always be controlled.
  • When people talk about “suffering” they sometimes mean the grief that comes with any major loss in life, such as becoming disabled, or the loss of a spouse or child.  With encouragement and support, it’s possible to pass through this grief to feelings of peace and acceptance.
  • Another kind of “suffering” has to do with becoming disabled.  In Oregon, the reasons people give most often for asking for assisted suicide include: losing the ability to do favorite activities (87%), becoming dependent (90%), feeling like a burden (38%) or fear of losing their dignity because they need help with personal care (84%).  Yet with architectural access and consumer-controlled home-based services, people with disabilities can stay active, integrated and in control of their lives.
  • People with disabilities worry that these disability-related reasons have become widely accepted as good enough to allow assisted suicide.

Q: What’s disability got to do with it?  Isn’t assisted suicide for people who are terminally ill?

  • Practically all people with “terminal illness” (six months or less to live) have disabilities.
  • In every place where assisted suicide is supposed to be only for people who are “terminally ill,” people who are not “terminally ill” are routinely helped to die.
  • It is very hard to predict how long someone will live, and doctors sometimes make incorrect diagnoses.  We all know someone who "beat the odds" and lived much longer than doctors expected they would.  In fact, reports from Oregon Public Health on that state's “death with dignity” law show that during every year since the program began, people have outlived the six-month cut-off.
  • Under most assisted suicide laws, people with chronic illness and disability are also eligible for assisted suicide.
  • In every jurisdiction where assisted suicide is legal, standards for who is eligible have grown more and more relaxed.  For example, in the Netherlands, people who are old or simply "tired of life" can have a mobile euthanasia unit come to their house.  And recently in Belgium, two deaf men were given euthanasia because they were losing their sight, and believed that being deaf/blind would be worse than dying.
  • People with disabilities are in a “high-risk” category because minor problems can and often do become life-threatening.  In the hospital, people with disabilities are often badgered to sign “Do Not Resuscitate” orders or encouraged to refuse treatment.
  • Nearly all end-of-life care issues – such as access to good health care and pain relief, in-home personal care, peer counselling, and family supports – have been disability rights issues for decades.

Q: Aren’t there safeguards in place?

Many safeguards have been suggested and tried.  In general, there is not enough oversight before the person dies, and almost no oversight after the person dies.  Typical safeguards include:

1. Voluntary request – Requests for assisted suicide are supposed to be made free of influence.

  • Discrimination and barriers, rather than the person’s disability, can create the conditions that lead someone to make a request because they lack the services and supports necessary to be integrated and productive members of their community.
  • The person may face pressure because of economic hardship or family stress.
  • Comments from family, friends or medical staff may lead someone to feel they are a burden, or less valuable because of their illness or disability.
  • Disputes over an inheritance can lead to family members putting direct or indirect pressure on someone to choose death.
  • People with disabilities and elders suffer very high rates of abuse both at home and in institutions.
  • There has to be a way to detect undue influence.

2. Competency

  •  Many people who ask to die have depression or other mental health issues that interfere with their ability to make clear choices.  When these conditions are treated, people often change their minds and want to live.
  • Many disabling conditions cause cognitive problems that make it impossible for a person to make a clear choice.
  • The evaluation of, and treatment for, suicidal feelings are not the same as deciding if someone is competent.
  • The process for deciding if someone is competent – who judges and what are the standards – varies from one place to another.  The process and standards may not reflect the seriousness of the life-or-death decision the person is making.

3. Informed, written consent

  • Information about prognosis and options given by doctors is often biased because of prejudice about the quality of life with a disability.
  • Providing information about alternatives to dying is not the same as making sure the necessary services are in place.
  • Information is rarely made available in accessible formats or by unbiased interpreters.

4. Must be prescribed by a physician

  • There’s no requirement that the person have a long-term relationship with the doctor.
  • If the doctor says ‘no,’ the person or their family can find another doctor until s/he finds one that will say ‘yes.’  This is called “doctor shopping.”
  • Family doctors are not trained to detect mental illness or cognitive problems that could interfere with a clear and informed choice.
  • Doctors may not know the person’s living situation or be able to detect abuse.
  • Doctors don’t usually know about community supports and services that can help people live independently, or even much about palliative care.
  • Doctors face pressure to cut costs.

5. Second opinion

  • When a doctor asks another doctor to consult, he will often ask someone he knows will agree with him.
  • The opinion is based only on a short visit and the notes and opinions of the first doctor.  This is not enough information to make a life-and-death judgment.
  • The second doctor is probably also not trained to detect mental illness or abuse.

6. Psychological evaluation

  • These are not usually required.
  • Mental health workers have the same prejudices and biases about life with a disability as medical doctors.
  • The opinion is based only on a short visit and the notes and opinions of the referring doctor.  The psychologist or psychiatrist doesn’t have enough information to make a clear and complete decision.
  • Mental health professionals don’t know about community supports and services that can help people live independently.
  • In Oregon, doctors rarely ask for a psychological consultation (only 3% in 2008 and only once in 2011) to check for mental health problems that might cause suicidal feelings.  Nor do they consult with a social worker who could help put home- and community-based services or peer counselling in place to deal with these feelings.

7. When the method is self-administration

  • No witness is required when the drugs are taken.  There’s no way to ensure that it’s voluntary.
  • If something goes wrong, there’s no way to help the person.

8. When the method is euthanasia

  • Doctors sometimes leave it to other staff, like nurses or attendants, to perform the euthanasia, or these staff take it upon themselves.
  • Doctors are trained to heal, not kill.  Many doctors will not want to perform euthanasia, and people who want the service will have to go to a doctor they don’t know.
  • If euthanasia is performed by doctors in hospitals, people may be afraid of going to the hospital for care, fearing they might be killed.

9. Informing family members

  • Some laws require that family members be informed, some do not.
  • Sometimes it’s important to tell family members, so they can provide support or help.
  • Sometimes it’s bad to tell family members, if the family is threatening or abusing the person who wants to die.

10. Mandatory reporting / sanctions

  • Even when the law requires doctors to report assisted suicides or euthanasia, doctors don’t always do so.
  • If they didn’t follow the correct procedure.
  • If they don’t consider it an assisted suicide or euthanasia under the law.
  • If something went wrong.
  • Any other reason.
  • There are rarely penalties for doctors who don’t report assisted suicides or euthanasia.  Even when there are, doctors are not punished.
  • Assisted suicide and euthanasia cannot be counted if they’re not reported.
  • Assisted suicides may not be counted as suicides, as in Oregon.
  • Doctors won’t report when nurses and other medical staff euthanize someone or help them commit suicide.

11. Investigations / prosecutions

  • Agencies may not have power or funds to investigate problems or abuses.
  • Agencies who work closely with doctors may have a conflict of interest and not want to investigate.
  • After a person is dead, there is rarely anyone who will come forward to say there was a problem.
  • The standard of proof that a doctor acted properly may be very low.

The very fact that people consider adopting assisted suicide or euthanasia means that the lives of the people who ask to die are considered less important than others who are prevented from killing themselves.  When governments adopt such laws, they endorse this devaluation and discrimination.

People with and without disabilities should get the same kind of suicide prevention services.

Two studies (by the National Council on Disability and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities) have shown that the safeguards necessary would make the procedure so onerous as to render the law unworkable.
There is a bright line in the law now; people have the right to refuse life-sustaining treatment but not the right to demand lethal measures.  If you take that bright line away, it’s much harder to stop and go back.

The only real safeguard would be true equality.  However true equality for people with disabilities does not exist and isn’t foreseeable.

The people who are most vulnerable under these laws – elders and people with disabilities – suffer much higher rates of abuse than the general public.  This law would make it possible for family or friends (including heirs) to pressure, trick or even force someone to accept assisted suicide.  Interested parties can help make the assisted suicide request, witness the signature of the form, pick up the prescription and administer the lethal dose.

Q: Jurisdictions that have legalized assisted suicide have not had any problems.  Why shouldn’t we just follow those models?

  • An Irish appeals court opinion did not agree.  In a January, 2013 decision, that court looked at the same evidence used by the BC court in the Carter case, and found that there was proof that elders and people with disabilities are at risk of abuse under euthanasia and assisted suicide laws.
  • The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) published an article on June 15, 2010 (CMAJ June 15, 2010, vol. 182 no. 9 895-901).  It looked at physician-assisted deaths under the euthanasia law in Belgium: a population-based survey. The results are as follows:
  • Of the 208 deaths involving physician-assisted death, some 66 were without an explicit request.
  • Of those 66 deaths; the decision was not discussed with 77.9% of those patients.
  • In other jurisdictions where assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal
  • Though doctors are supposed to report writing lethal prescriptions or performing euthanasia, there’s no way to ensure they do.  Data are based only on those who report, and cannot track euthanasia that is not reported.
  • Problems have been documented in the media, and by studies that track deaths by cause.
  • The data from Oregon and other places that supports physician-assisted suicide is unreliable because the facts are hidden and distorted:
  • Assisted suicide deaths are not listed as suicides, but as due to the underlying illness.
  • There is no data collected from doctors who refuse requests for assisted suicide (why they refused, what happened to the person afterwards).
  • Though doctors are supposed to report writing lethal prescriptions, there’s no way to ensure they do.
  • Drugs are not tracked after the prescription is dispensed.
  • After annual statistical reports are produced, documentation is destroyed, preventing further analysis.

Q: Aren’t we taking away autonomy and dignity by not allowing assisted suicide?

  • For assisted suicide to happen, a third party must step in and take action on your behalf.  (True autonomy would mean committing suicide on your own).
  • Eligibility for assisted suicide is determined by a third party, according to government standards, decided by a doctor.  That’s even more interference.
  • The diagnosis and treatment for the underlying illness will be determined both by a doctor, wait times, access to services, and the limits of whatever insurance you have.  It can be influenced by many outside factors.
  • In an interdependent society “autonomy” is an illusion.  We are all dependent on the infrastructure for utilities and transportation, the agricultural, manufacturing and shipping industries for food and other necessities, and a health care and social benefit system for our health and welfare.

Q: Aren’t people who cannot commit suicide because they are physically incapable denied choices by criminalizing the act of assistance?

  • Anyone is able to commit suicide.  If nothing else, they can refuse to eat or drink.
  • Most often when someone asks to die, it is a cry for help.  We should help people live, not die.

Q: We euthanize our pets, what’s the difference?

About 4 million companion animals are euthanized each year, mostly because,

  • They are abandoned.
  • They have personality or behavior problems.
  • They have costly medical conditions.
  • People no longer want to care for them.
  • They’re old, incontinent or unsightly.
  • They have a terminal illness, or for no reason at all.

Q: Isn’t assisted suicide a personal issue?

  • The public policy of suicide prevention makes this a political issue.
  • Those who are trying to change the current law on assisted suicide are bringing it into the political sphere.
  • The issue has already been debated and decided by parliament, most recently in 2010.
  • By allowing assisted suicide, Canada would be saying some people are less worthy of suicide prevention than others.

Q: Isn’t this about choice?

In reality, there can be no free choice as long as…

  • People don’t have access to effective palliative care.
  • Health care is delayed or denied based on economic factors or accessibility.
  • People who don’t have home care services are forced into institutions, or have to rely on family so much that they feel like a burden.
  • Anyone could ask for assisted suicide, but it is up to the government’s standards and the doctor’s judgment who gets it.
  • People with disabilities face discrimination and lack services and supports to live as equals in the community.

Member Group Updates:

BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD)

Questions for Election Candidates

BC’s provincial election is about 4 months away and BCCPD will be asking the parties questions on the following issues, among others.

Increasing Provincial Disability Benefits - One of our key projects for the last 18 months has been to produce a paper, with community partners, calling for an increase to BC’s provincial disability benefits.

In addition to an increase to the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Benefit of $300 to $1,200, we’re proposing that the PWD be indexed to keep pace with the rising cost of living.  We’re also asking for a shelter assistance program similar to the SAFER (Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters) to help close the gap between the cost of housing and the amount people with disabilities can afford to pay.

ICBC Accident Benefits (Part 7) - For more than five years, we have been urging the Province and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) to amend the Part 7 (Accident Benefits) section of BC’s Motor Vehicle Act.  The amount people receive through Part 7 has not been increased for over 20 years and is woefully inadequate.  In addition, if the individual is at fault, they cannot file a tort or “not at fault” claim for expenses not covered by ICBC.

Woodlands School Survivors -We have been helping the survivors of Woodlands School for more than 10 years to urge the Province to compensate for the abuse they suffered while at Woodlands.  In July 2010, the BC Supreme Court approved a settlement agreement to which former residents can apply for compensation.  Tragically only individuals who were at Woodlands after August 1st 1974 can apply, while we continue to fight for all residents of Woodlands to have access to compensation.

Equipment and Assistive Technology Initiative (EATI) - EATI provides funding to assist British Columbians with disabilities to access the equipment and assistive technology they need to achieve their employment goals.  Since 2009, EATI has changed lives by providing over $5 million of assistive technology to more than 800 people with disabilities across BC.  It is crucial for the disability community that this innovative program continues after its 2014 end date.

Read more about BCCPD.

Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities (ACCD)

Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities

Shawn Ewasiuk has been appointed as the new Director of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

Shawn comes to the Premier’s Council from Alberta Energy where he managed a team in the Oil Sands Policy Branch.  Prior to his tenure with Alberta Energy, Shawn was a partner in an Edmonton-based consulting firm that offered financial and human resource advisory services to businesses across Western Canada.  His career with the Government of Alberta originally started in 2003 with Seniors and Community Supports, where he held program delivery, finance, and policy-related positions within the AISH program.  Shawn’s formal education includes a Master in Business Administration, in addition to his undergraduate degree in Psychology.

Shawn is looking forward to using his background in policy development in combination with his competencies to bring leadership to the Premier’s Council.

Shawn started his duties on October 1, 2012.  ACCD wishes him all the best and hopes that his appointment will create improved disability policies in Alberta for persons with disabilities.

Good luck, Shawn!

Read more about ACCD.

Saskatchewan Voice of People with Disabilities (SVOPD)

SVOPD Enlarging Its Virtual Footprint

The Saskatchewan Voice of People with Disabilities (SVOPD) has been hard at work continuing to grow our online presence.  We are pleased to now have a Pinterest and Instagram as well as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr to connect with our consumers on. 

We are hard at work on various committees that help promote positive social change for people with disabilities within the province. 

We are also looking forward to the summer and hosting more of our Youth Empowerment Camps for young women and men with disabilities.

Check out:

Read more about SVOPD.

Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD)

Transit Inconsistencies Network (TIN) at MLPD

We have launched a Transit Inconsistencies Network (TIN).  We are asking riders to document problems and exceptional service in regards to Transit and Handi-Transit by noting time, date, number of the driver or taxi driver, and nature of the complaint or compliment, and submit it to the MLPD.  We have forms for this purpose.  MLPD will be submitting your complaints and compliments to the Transit staff on a regular basis. We hope that action will be taken to address your concerns.

In addition, we also encourage users of accessible taxis to make complaints directly to Gary Stillson, Acting Chief Taxicab Inspector at: 945-0289.

Read more about MLPD.

Citizens with Disabilities Ontario - (CWDO)

Ask the Adaptive Computer Technology Expert
Jeffrey Stark

Do you have a tech question related to assistive or adaptive computer technology?  Are you trying to made a decision on what technology will meet your needs?  Are you running into a problem with a specific piece of adaptive technology?

On a monthly basis the CWDO Technology Committee led by Jeffrey D. Stark will answer some of these inquiries in its newsletter on its website and may even organize specific sessions in its online conferencing system.  Point your browser to
to connect with the technology expert.

Read more about CWDO.

Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities (NSLEO)

NSLEO Presents Recommendations to Caucus

The Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities (NSLEO) has released its “Annual Presentation and Recommendations to Caucus”, prepared by Cynthia Bruce in consultation with the Board of Directors.  The recommendations in this document are directed towards all parties of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. 

NSLEO encouraged the provincial political parties in Nova Scotia to address the recommendations in their election platforms, as an election is expected in the not too distant future.

The NSLEO’s presentation was based upon the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and it made recommendations in five areas: legislative and strategic directions, affordable and accessible housing, community supports, technical aids, and affordable and accessible transportation. Read more.

Read more about NSLEO.

Coalition of Persons with Disabilities –NL

Coalition of Persons with Disabilities-NL Has a New Home!

The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities – NL is relocating its office to 460 Torbay Road -The Highland Building as of March 1, 2013.  Municipalities Newfoundland Labrador has partnered with COD-NL providing a new office space.

Michelle Murdoch, President, stated “We would like to thank everyone who contacted COD-NL– it is overwhelming to know that we have so much community support.  I want to thank the membership who refused to let COD-NL close its doors.  It has always been our mandate to be a voice of disability but at our General Meeting, it was very emotional to hear persons with disabilities speak for COD-NL”.
A big thank you to Ron Ellsworth, Member of COD-NL and a respected community leader, who was instrumental in making this happen.  We are very thankful for your leadership and dedication to ensure our doors remain open.

Operating at the provincial and local levels, COD-NL is a systemic advocacy organization concerned with all persons with disabilities, promoting their rights and raising public awareness of their needs.  COD-NL is proactive in 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.

Read more about COD –NL.

NWT Territories Disabilities Council

From the Desk of the Executive Director
Denise McKee

December was exceptionally busy with the Benefit Auction and then International Day of Persons with Disabilities - December 3rd, 2012.  The support for the Benefit Auction was amazing again.  Northern businesses, individuals and groups generously gave of their goods, time, services and money to help raise funds to support services and programs for people with disabilities across the NWT.  In the end we raised over $36,000.00.  It was an evening filled with surprises, entertainment, fun and the spirit of giving and the holidays.  I give heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in the auction and ask all Northerners to support these businesses that so generously support our communities.  Please visit our website for a list of all that donated to the Auction at  To all those who gave and continue to give so selflessly, to help create an inclusive and welcoming North for all people, a heartfelt thank you.

During the Auction we announced a new event that will take place in June 2012, the NWT Disabilities Council’s Soap Box Derby.  Mikey McBryant committed to being the M.C. for the event and Yellowknife has been buzzing with interest since the announcement.  Already discussions of corporate challenges, designs and categories are underway. We will be advertising for the event, how to order a kit and how to get involved in the New Year- so stay tuned!

This New Year greets us with new challenges and goals for the Council.  We will continue to address waitlists, community concerns and families in crisis.  We will also look to relocating back to the downtown core as many of the clients we support and other service providers have indicated that this would make our services much more accessible.  We will continue to meet with the government to address these and many other issues.  If you require service or have any issues or concerns regarding disabilities in the North, please contact us at 873-8230 in Yellowknife and toll free outside the Yellowknife area at 1-800-491-4124. We will be happy to assist you.

Read more about NWT Disabilities Council.


Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC)

2013 Conference - Toronto, Ontario - See Our Potential through Accessibility, Collaboration and Technology

The 2013 AEBC Conference will take place from Friday, April 26th to Sunday, April 28th at the Cambridge Suites Hotel, downtown Toronto, Ontario.  On Friday, we will have displays from various vendors, organizations, social groups and service providers set up from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm for the public and members.  Several presentations/workshops are also scheduled.  We are very fortunate to have Paul Edwards, past President of ACB, as our keynote speaker this year.  On Saturday afternoon, we have workshops on accessible websites and creating blogs.  The rest of the time is devoted to the annual general business of AEBC.  We also have several fun events scheduled such as a wine and cheese sponsored by AMI and a couple of dinners arranged to socialize with folks from across the country.  Thanks to our sponsors for their generous contributions, including:

• Accessible Media Inc. (AMI)
• T-Base Communications
• Richard Papadina (RBC Dominion Securities)
• Frontier Computing
• The Jodhan Family
• Air Canada

For more information contact AEBC.

Read more about AEBC.

Canadian Association of the Deaf

CAD Fall/Winter 2012-13 Report


Doug Momotiuk, President

Meeting with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) – The CAD Vice President Frank Folino and Executive Director Jim Roots met with the CRTC staff including Social Policy Manager, Director General for Consumer Affairs, Chief Consumer Officer and Legal Counsel in Gatineau on January 23 to discuss on the issues of Video Relay Services in Canada.  The CRTC appreciated that Deaf people in Canada had an Awareness Day on September 21, 2012 and thanked them for their 40 years of services on behalf of Deaf people.  The following issues were included progress status on both reports from BELL and TELUS; public hearing and public proceedings; three year plan and 911 Accessible and VRS. Please see CAD’s website for more details.

En Rich Conference - The CAD Vice-President Frank Folino and Secretary Marie-Josee Blier attended the En Rich Conference in Ottawa on November 27-29, 2012.  The En Rich Project brought together key members of the disability organizations and emergency communities along with other public and private stakeholders to discuss improving management for people with disabilities for access and functional needs for emergencies and disasters.  This objective of the conference was to launch a network and activities that strengthen the whole community’s capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the impact of emergencies and disasters.

QELCCC – Frank Folino and Elaine Campbell attended the QELCCC’s Annual Face to Face Meeting in Ottawa on January 24-26, 2013 to focus on The Way Forward Integration Initiative.  They participated in discussion and review of palliative care to demonstrate the successes and challenges.  They also reviewed the models and needs for policy changes among the professionals, informal caregivers, and family.  They also saw the review of communication and public awareness.

911 Services – On January 24, 2013 in Ottawa-Gatineau, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced enhancements to 911 services that will enable Deaf Canadians to communicate with 911 call centres via text message.  Telephone and wireless companies must upgrade their networks to support this new feature by January 24, 2014.

When the service becomes available in different municipalities, Deaf Canadians must register their mobile phone number with their wireless service provider.  In the event of an emergency, they must first dial 911, and the emergency call centre will automatically receive notification to initiate a conversation by text message.  The CRTC will examine the future of Canadian 911 services in 2014-2015. 

Contributions – The CAD faces a serious situation in the current tough economy for another year.  We are reduced to one staff and office/meetings’ expenses.  As we tighten our belts again due to declining revenues, please help the CAD by renewing your individual membership and/or donating to support us in the fight to defend Deaf Canadians’ quality of life.  You can contact for more details.

Read more about CAD.

National Educational Association of Disabled Students

Donate now to support NEADS National Scholarship programs for students with disabilities!

The NEADS National Student Awards Program ($3,000 award) and the Holly Bartlett Memorial Award ($1,000 award) recognize outstanding Canadian college and university students with disabilities for their academic and community achievements, and their potential to succeed in their chosen career. The programs have awarded 57 tuition scholarships to deserving college and university students with disabilities over the past six years. Please help NEADS to support full access to education for students with disabilities in Canada by donating to these awards online now: Any level of donation can make a difference. 

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) is a registered charity, with a mandate to support full access to education and the workforce for college and university students with disabilities in Canada. Donations to NEADS are tax deductible and you will receive a charitable tax receipt for 100% of your gift(s) to NEADS.

NEADS uses the services of CanadaHelps for our online donation transactions.  CanadaHelps is a secure and easy way to give.

To find out more about our scholarships and about NEADS, visit: or contact our national office in Ottawa. Frank Smith, National Coordinator, National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), Rm. 426 Unicentre, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6,tel. (613) 380-8065ext. 201.

Read more about NEADS.

National Network for Mental Health

Speaking Out About NCRMD Legislation

The NNMH was approached by the Schizophrenia Society of Canada to join a teleconference to discuss working in collaboration to draft a letter to the Federal Minister of Justice, Rob Nicholson, regarding concerns around proposed Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder (NCRMD).

The SSC across Canada wants to have the opportunity to educate Canadians and political decision makers on the minute number of people with mental issues who are deemed NCRMD and the resources they require to reach the highest level of good mental health and wellbeing for their own safety and safety of others.

The NNMH will sign the letter in support of this effort.  It is extremely important that the government and the public are educated on the rare instances of violence among our population. It is more likely that violent acts will happen to us.

Read more about NNMH

People First of Canada

Coming of Age: The Dialogue Continues

People First of Canada is pleased to be a partner in this exciting and important dialogue that focuses on growing older for people with an intellectual disability.  This is of great importance for family members, people with an intellectual disability and service providers.  Conference highlights include keynote speaker Sharon Carstairs addressing aging from a national perspective, as well as three workshop sessions featuring 12 relevant topics and break-out group discussions.

Online registration at for the upcoming Coming of Age Conference April 18-20, 2013 at the Viscount Gort in Winnipeg, Manitoba is now open - we look forward to seeing you there!

Read more about People First of Canada.