October-December 2019

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Disability and Work in Canada (DWC) Initiative

  1. In 2017, CRWDP partnered with the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW), Inclusion Newfoundland (InclusionNL) and the Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups (ONIWG), to form the Disability and Work in Canada (DWC) initiative. Its goal is to develop a vision and strategy for increasing the employment of people with disabilities. We have accomplished this goal by developing a draft strategy, gathering pertinent feedback through a survey and engagement and consultation sessions, and then revising and publishing the Strategy for everyone to use.

Nous préparons actuellement la traduction française de la stratégie. Si vous souhaitez obtenir plus tôt une version la plus récente de la traduction (une version sous embargo), veuillez nous contacter à

  1. The third annual Disability & Work in Canada conference, entitled “Strategy-in-Action”, was held in Ottawa on December 4 and 5, 2019. Approxmately 200 people attended, including people with lived experience, disability and injured workers advocates, employers, labour, government, employment service providers, researchers and students. The conference focused on building overall engagement and momentum for implementation of the Strategy and identifying the most important early steps in implementation. Small group discussions and time for networking was built in into the agenda to facilitate collaboration on specific initiatives by conference participants and others. Featured presentations include the plenary on the keys to successful strategy implementation by Yazmine Laroche, Deputy Minister, Public Service Accessibility; Welcome by the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion,; Update on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by Steve Estey, Chair of International Committee of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities; and the Panel on How will we know if we’re making progress that included speakers from Statistics Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

The conference would not be possible without generous funders, sponsors and organizations who supported it through donations. Our funders include Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Employment and Social Development Canada. Conference sponsors were International Union of Operating Engineers (Platinum Sponsor), Canada’s Building Trades Unions and BDC (Silver Sponsors), Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and Prevention Link (sponsoring persons with lived experience to attend). Donations were provided by the CSA Group and Workers United Canada Council. Thanks the generous funding, we were able to subsidize about 20 people with lived experience to attend the conference and arrange for accessibility services for everyone to feel welcome and engaged, including ASL Interpretation, CART services, volunteers assisting when needed, Professional Attendants, materials provided in various formats, etc.

Materials from the conference, including key points from group discussions, presentation slides and presentation videos, will be published on the conference webpage. While you wait for these materials to be published, you can watch speaker videos and read materials from the past two conference and other related DWC events. See also the IWH January 2020 article “Strategy for greater workforce inclusion of people with disabilities announced” that provides an overview of the Pan-Canadian Strategy for Disability and Work and its launch at 2019 conference.

  1. Early in 2020 we will be in touch with conference participants who identified their interest in forming implementation groups to focus on specific initiatives in the strategy, to help them connect and start working together. We will also be in touch with our networks to learn about relevant initiatives being implemented, to develop the agenda for the next conference to be held in autumn 2020.

CRWDP Publications, Resources and Opportunities

  1. The Benefits of Inclusion: Disability and Work in the 21st Century; Special issue call for papers from Equality, Diversity and Inclusion by Emile Tompa, Dan Samosh and Alecia Santuzzi. This special issue is focused on innovative, international research that contributes to the conceptualization and application of inclusion and accessibility, with a focus on the public policy and workplace systems levels. All contributions will be double-blind peer-reviewed before consideration for publication and submissions from a diversity of research perspectives that use different methods (e.g., conceptual, qualitative, and quantitative) are welcome. Manuscripts should be submitted online by April 30, 2020. Fore more information, visit Equality, Diversity and Inclusion website.
  2. A public review and feedback stage was completed in October-December 2019 for the proposed new national standard from CSA Group on work disability prevention management systems. The final publication of the standard expected in the spring of 2020. The director of the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (CRWDP),  Emile Tompa, chaired the CSA Group Technical Committee that developed the standard.​ Tompa and Amin Yazdani, vice-chair of the CSA 2011 Technical Committee and director of the Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness and Performance at Conestoga College, led the research that got the CSA Group standard-development process off the ground. Additional experts and collaborators engaged in the development of the CSA Z1011 standard included Dr. David Brown, also a vice-chair of the Technical Committee and medical director at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), along with representatives from government agencies, health and safety organizations, mental health associations, injured worker and disability communities, and employer and labour organizations.
  3. The final report Environmental Scan of the Impacts, Including Social Benefits, of Accessibility and Social Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities is now available on the CRWDP website. The research team includes Emile Tompa (Lead), Amirabbas Mofidi, Arif Jetha, Pam Lahey, and Alexis Buettgen​ (Co-Investigators). This project was funded by Employment and Social Development Canada. The key question addressed by this study is: What would be the benefits to Canadian society, in reference year 2017, if Canada was accessible and inclusive in all domains relevant to full participation? Read the report to learn how the researchers answered this question.
  4. (English version follows) Depuis août 2019, Normand Boucher (responsable du regroupement de Québec du CRPIP) supporte les activités du Comité consultatif personnes handicapées (CCPH) situé au Québec. La mission du Comité est de soutenir l’intégration, le maintien et le retour au travail des personnes ayant des incapacités par la production d’avis à l’intention de la Commission des partenaires du marché du travail (CPMT), du Ministère de l’Emploi et de la solidarité sociale (MTESS) et d’Emploi-Québec (EQ).​ Depuis 2018 et jusqu’en 2020, les membres du CCPH se sont fixé l’objectif de dresser un portrait des personnes ayant des incapacités sur le marché du travail. Quatre documents volumineux ont été produits dans cette visée. Normand et son équipe travaillent actuellement à la production de documents synthèses.

Since August 2019, Normand Boucher (CRWDP QC Cluster Lead) has been supporting the research activities of the new Comité consultatif personnes handicapées (Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities, CCPH) in Québec. The mission of the Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities is to support integration, retention and return-to-work of persons with disabilities through consultations with la Commission des partenaires du marché du travail (The Commission of Labour Market Partners, CPMT) and le Ministère du travail, de l’Emploi et de la solidarité sociale (Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity, MTESS). Over 2018-2020, CCPH members are working to develop the “portrait of people with disabilities in the labor market”. Four extensive documents have been produced in this regard (French only). Normand and his team are currently working on the production of the summary documents.

  1. A video recording and a copy of presentation slides are now published for the December 2019 webinar presentation by Andrea Jones “Anxiety and depression disorders among workers with musculoskeletal injury: Investigating work disability outcomes using linked health data”. You can watch these and earlier webinar presentations here
  2. Check recently published articles authored by CRWDP researchers:

Upcoming CRWDP and Partners’ Events

  1. CRWDP Webinar Series – Webinar #13 will be held on January 30, 2020 at 12:00 PM EST. This webinar will be presented by Ololade Adedoyin Animashaun. Ololade will present her research on Employment Experiences of Persons with Disabilities around St. John's: Their Conditions and Implications. Register in advance for this free webinar. Let us know if the registration process is not accessible to you. Please share your accessibility experience with us as we strive to make all of our webinars barrier-free.
  2. CRWDP NL Cluster Meeting - Early 2020. SafetyNet is in the initial stages of organizing the next CRWDP NL Cluster meeting in early 2020. We will use this event as a forum to communicate and build on the momentum of knowledge and ideas shared at the Disability and Work in Canada 2019 Conference with the NL Cluster and other stakeholders. Stay tuned for more information about the event.

CRWDP and Partners’ Past Events

  1. In advance of the Disability & Work in Canada conference, a CRWDP Ontario meeting on the Strategy was held in Toronto to discuss strategy implementation. Among recommendations proposed for further discussion are:
  • Address poverty and income security among people with disabilities by making the Disability Tax Credit a refundable payment, payable monthly like the Canada Child Benefit.
  • Maintain the present definition of disability for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
  • Eliminate the barriers within the Ontario Works (OW) program and ODSP that create a disincentive to employment by making the integration of employment earnings with benefits more user friendly.
  • Build strong working relationships between disability organizations.
  • Support a broadly based coalition on inclusive workplaces and societies.
  • Develop a robust federal system for the collection of data on health and disability, and employment and income.
  1. (English version follows) Journée de mobilisation des connaissances, Québec, 5 décembre 2019. Normand Boucher (responsable du regroupement de Québec) et son équipe ont organisé une journée de mobilisation des connaissances qui s’est tenue en décembre afin de discuter des activités du Comité consultatif personnes handicapées (CCPH) basé à Montréal. Onze membres du Comité étaient présents à l’événement qui a été un franc succès. Pour plus d’informations concernant le CCPH, visitez le site web à l’adresse suivante Pour plus d’informations sur les activités du CCPH, voir la section “Publications, ressources et possibilités du CRPIP” («CRWDP Publications, Resources and Opportunities») ci-haut.

Knowledge Mobilization Day, December 5 2019, Quebec City. Normand Boucher (CRWDP QC Cluster Lead) and his team organized a Knowledge Mobilization Day held in December to discuss the activities of Comité consultatif personnes handicapées (Disability Advisory Committee, CCPH) based in Montréal. Eleven members of the Committee participated in the event which was a great success. For more information about CCPH, visit the website See more description of CCPH activities in the section “CRWDP Publications, Resources and Opportunities” above.

Operations News

  1. Rachael Dempsey has left her position as the CRWDP Ontario Cluster Coordinator. We heartfully thank her for playing a key role in organizing a number of ON Cluster meetings and contributing to many communication and operations activities. Tammy Bernasky has taken on this position and is now the CRWDP Ontario Cluster Coordinator (interim). Tammy took part in many CRWDP ON Cluster events as a speaker and event coordinator. Tammy, we look forward to continuing to work with you in this new role!

Students and New Researchers News

  1. The CRWDP Webinar Series is a great way for students, and new and established researchers to promote their research, get advice from those in the CRWDP network and beyond, and for those just starting up with the centre, to build connections with peers and partners across Canada. Contact Dan Samosh at to schedule your presentation!
  2. Callout to Students/New Researchers: Send us your story! Share with us the details of how your participation in CRWDP has helped you build your networks, advance your research or other work disability policy activities, and start your career. Send us your story in writing or as a short video to be published on the CRWDP website.
  3. Thank you to CRWDP students who recently submitted their annual reports:  Sharanya Varatharajan, Amy Sheppard, Andrea Jones and Julia Goyal.
  4. We extend our welcome to the students who were recently awarded CRWDP funding:
  • Shannon Dinan, Postdoctoral Fellow, New (Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en réadaptation et intégration sociale (CIRRIS), Université Laval, supervised by Normand Boucher)
  • Sharanya Varatharajan, PhD, renewal (University of Waterloo, supervised by Ellen MacEachen)
  • Julia Goyal, PhD, Renewal (University of Waterloo, supervised by Ellen MacEachen)
  • Nicole Carleton, PhD, New (University of Waterloo, supervised by Ellen MacEachen)
  1. CRWDP Ontario Cluster Student and New Researcher Highlights
  • Cameron Crawford completed his PhD in Critical Disability Studies in 2016 and followed with a Post Doc in 2017-2018. For the past year Cam has been the Senior Research Officer with the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies, operating as Eviance. The work included preparing summaries of Disabled Persons Organizations’ (DPOs') concerns and priorities under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), developing materials on voting for people who need various supports for access and participation in the electoral process, research on a public awareness campaign related to access and abilities, research on a rights-based awareness and capacity development initiative for self-advocates with intellectual disabilities, assisting with the development of a multi-region online portal to provide information about disability supports for children and families, designing several program evaluations. Cam has been following CRWDP’s work and continues to make himself available whenever possible as an advisor, collaborator and participant at CRWDP events. We are happy to have this continued collaboration with Cam!
  • Douglas Waxman is currently finalizing his dissertation research which is to examine employer behaviors towards employees with a disability. He accesses a unique, untapped data set of Ontario Human Rights Tribunal cases. A number of patterns emerged from examining this data, related to the experiences of discrimination by employees with disabilities and effects of implicit bias. Douglas is currently editing and finalizing chapters, for final approval of his supervisor, to subsequently submit to the rest of his committee for their comment and approval. We want to wish all the best to Douglas in these final stages of his dissertation!
  1. The CRWDP Webinar Series is a great way for students, and new and established researchers to promote their research, get advice from those in the CRWDP network and beyond, and for those just starting up with the centre, to build connections with peers and partners across Canada. Contact Dan Samosh at to schedule your presentation!
  2. Callout to Students/New Researchers: Send us your story! Share with us the details of how your participation in CRWDP has helped you build your networks, advance your research or other work disability policy activities, and start your career. Send us your story in writing or as a short video to be published on the CRWDP website.

Community and Partner News

  1. Check out the newsletters issued by the Canadian Disability Policy Alliance. A new or emerging area of CDPA/CDPP research is featured every month. In the October 2019 newsletter they share a list of key disabilities studies journals; in the November 2019 newsletter they discuss myths about employing people with disabilities; and in the December 2019 newsletter they talk about engaging with policy makers.
  2. Inclusion BC 2020 Conference: Everybody Belongs will be held in Surrey, B.C., from May 21 – 23, 2020, at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel.

News from the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO)

  1. (English version follows) Lancement du programme Avancement de la recherche sur les normes d’accessibilité. L’Organisation canadienne d’élaboration de normes d’accessibilité a récemment lancé un nouveau programme de subventions et contributions. Ce dernier appuie les projets de recherche visant à cibler et à éliminer les obstacles à l’accessibilité. Ces travaux de recherche aideront à éclairer les normes d’accessibilité à l’avenir. L’objectif principal est de collaborer avec une multitude de personnes et d’organisations au Canada pour faire avancer la recherche sur les normes d’accessibilité. Consultez le site web pour connaître les critères de sélection et les domaines prioritaires pour 2020-2021. Si vous avez besoin d’aide ou de mesures d’adaptation, envoyez un courriel à l’OCÉNA.

Launch of the Advancing Accessibility Standards Research Program. The Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO) recently launched a grants and contributions program. This program supports research projects that identify, take away and stop obstacles to accessibility. This research will help to inform the accessibility standards in the future. The main goal is to work with a lot of different people and organizations across Canada to move forward accessibility standards research. Visit the website to see the selection criteria and the priority areas for 2020-2021. If you need help or accommodations for this process, please send CASDO an email.

News from Our Partner, the Institute for Work & Health (IWH)

  1. The article “Strategy for greater workforce inclusion of people with disabilities announced” was published to provide an overview of the Pan-Canadian Strategy for Disability and Work and its launch at 2019 conference.
  2. The Institute’s quarterly, At Work, has a few articles in the Fall 2019 issue that may be of interest to you:

Other Resources and Opportunities

  1. (La version française suit la version anglaise) Universities Canada has launched the 2020 Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) national student competition! The Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) competition inspires university students to develop innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions to accessibility challenges for persons with disabilities. Students in all programs are encouraged to enter the competition for a chance to win up to $5,000. Universities Canada is proud to administer the IDeA student competition on behalf of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The contest deadline is April 30, 2020.

Universités Canada a lancé l’édition de 2020 du concours national pour étudiants Innovations pour l’accessibilité! Le concours Innovations pour l’accessibilité amène les étudiants universitaires à trouver des solutions novatrices, peu coûteuses et pratiques aux problèmes courants d’accessibilité auxquels doivent faire face les personnes handicapées. Les étudiants de tous les programmes d’études sont invités à y participer et à courir la chance de gagner jusqu’à 5 000 $. Universités Canada est fière d’administrer le concours Innovations pour l’accessibilité au nom d’Emploi et Développement social Canada (EDSC). Date limite du concours : 30 avril 2020.

  1. Ontario government is seeking input on ways to make life more affordable for individuals and families, to create the right environment for businesses to invest and create jobs and improve the services people rely on each day. The government has some significant fiscal challenges and must get value for every tax dollar it spends. Respond to Survey: 2020 Ontario Budget here.
  2. In fall of 2019, the British Columbia Government held public consultations to inform the creation of new provincial level Accessibility Legislation. A formal report is forthcoming and written submissions from local governments and special interest groups are published here:
  3. Two publications by Statistics Canada teams discuss workplace accommodations, and the dynamics of disability:

Past CRWDP E-Alerts are available for download from the CRWDP website.

To post your news/event in the next CRWDP E-Alert, or to unsubscribe from the distribution list, send an email to Kathy Padkapayeva at, or Sabrina Imam at

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