Disability and Work in Canada Conference 2019:

Disability & Work in Canada initiative logo



Delta Hotels Ottawa City Centre – December 4-5, 2019



Disability and Work in Canada 2019 was held at the Delta Ottawa City Centre on December 4 and 5, 2019. The conference reviewed a revised pan-Canadian strategy to improve the level of employment of persons with disabilities and identify the most important early steps in implementation. Speaker videos, presentation slides, notes and other materials from the conference can be found below.

Since the National Conference in 2017, efforts have been underway to develop a vision and strategy for the future, focused on key initiatives to increase the employment of persons with a disability. A draft strategy was distributed in the Fall of 2018 and discussed at the National Conference in December 2018. The strategy was currently being revised following feedback from consultation across Canada that took place in the spring of 2019. A revised strategy is available here below.



Conference agenda: DWC2019 conference agenda (PDF version); ​DWC2019 conference agenda (Word version); DWC2019 conference agenda (Plain text version); DWC2019 conference agenda (Large font PDF version)

Conference program: DWC2019 conference program (PDF version), DWC2019 conference program (Word version), DWC2019 conference program (Plain text version), DWC2019 conference program (Large font PDF version)

Moving Forward Together: A Canadian Strategy for Disability and Work:​ DWC Strategy: Moving Forward Together (PDF version)DWC Strategy: Moving Forward Together (Word version)DWC Strategy: Moving Forward Together (Plain text version), DWC Strategy: Moving Forward Together (Large font PDF version)

Click here for the supporting background documents to the DWC Strategy. 

DWC Consultation Report: DWC Consultation Report (PDF version)DWC Consultation Report (Word version)DWC Consultation Report (Plain text version)

Click here for other materials for conference participants.




December 4: Morning Sessions

Steve Mantis and Elaine Theland Kicknosway

Carla Qualtrough

Ron Saunders


Yazmine Laroche


Joe Dowdall


Parallel discussion sessions I: Business case for recruitment and retention


  • Brian DePratto
    Brian DePratto
  • Meghan Kelly
    Meghan Kelly
  • Tamira Loewen
    Tamira Loewen
  • Rebecca Gewurtz
    Rebecca Gewurtz

Parallel discussion sessions I: How do we advocate for stronger support to improve the level of employment for people with disabilities


  • Neil Belanger
    Neil Belanger
  • Bill Adair
    Bill Adair
  • Yutta Fricke
    Yutta Fricke

December 4: Afternoon Sessions

Parallel discussion sessions II: Addressing unconscious bias and stigma at work and beyond

Click here to access materials for this session


  • Melissa Egan
    Melissa Egan
  • Tammy Yates
    Tammy Yates
  • Marcy Vatour
    Marcy Vatour
  • John Mutch
    John Mutch
  • Steve Mantis
    Steve Mantis

Parallel discussion sessions II: School to Work Transitions


  • Tammy Strong
    Tammy Strong
  • Boris Vukovic
    Boris Vukovic
  • Arif Jetha
    Arif Jetha

Parallel discussion sessions III: Sharing best practices for accommodating employees with disabilities


  • Eric Latimer
    Eric Latimer
  • Gillian Axten
    Gillian Axten
  • Jason Patterson
    Jason Patterson

Parallel discussion sessions III: Standards and Best Practices to Expand Employment Opportunities

Click here to access materials for this session


  • David Brown
    David Brown
  • Vincent Russell
    Vincent Russell
  • Paul-Claude Bérubé
    Paul-Claude Bérubé
  • Jordana Globerman
    Jordana Globerman

Presentation slides: Standards and Best Practices to Expand Employment Opportunities, by Paul-Claude Bérubé (pdf)




December 5: Morning Sessions

Highlights from Day 1 parallel sessions


  • Maureen Haan
    Maureen Haan
  • Steve Mantis
    Steve Mantis
  • Melissa Egan
    Melissa Egan
  • Ron Saunders
    Ron Saunders
  • Kathy Hawkins
    Kathy Hawkins
  • Emile Tompa
    Emile Tompa

Steven Estey


How will we know if we're making progress?


  • Emile Tompa
    Emile Tompa
  • Stuart Morris
    Stuart Morris
  • Gail Fawcett
    Gail Fawcett
  • Mike Burns
    Mike Burns
  • Pamela Lahey
    Pamela Lahey
  • Tabatha Tranquilla
    Tabatha Tranquilla

Watch the video of the session “Estimation of the Societal Benefits of an Accessible and Inclusive Canada”, by Emile Tompa

Watch the video session “Dynamics of Disability: New Results from the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability”, by Stuart Morris and Gail Fawcett

Watch the video session “Measuring Accessibility on the Canadian Survey on Disability”, by Mike Burns and Pamela Lahey

Watch the video session “Monitoring by Civil Society of the CRPD”, by Tabatha Tranquilla

Watch the video session “How will we know if we’re making progress? Conference Session Q&A”


December 5: Afternoon Sessions

Report back from Day 2 parallel sessions 


  • Arif Jetha
    Arif Jetha
  • Wendy Brathwaite
    Wendy Brathwaite
  • Cindy Moser
    Cindy Moser

Proposal for strategy implementation process


  • Alec Farquhar

  • Emile Tompa

Watch the video of the session “Proposal for strategy implementation process” 

Plenary discussion on implementation


December 5: Closing of the Conference

Mary Reid


Steve Mantis


Photos from the conference. Conference photographer: Amir Mofidi


Notes from the conference


Publication about the Pan-Canadian Strategy for Disability & Work. Vu U, Moser C. Strategy and Standard: Two recent developments in disability and work. OOHNA Journal | Spring/Summer 2020. Volume 39(1), p.13-16. 


DWC Commitments

Disability & Work in Canada strategy Committments: How-to guide by Emile Tompa and Dan Samosh

DWC Commitment by Mario

DWC Commitment by Steve Mantis

DWC Commitment by Tammy Yates

DWC Commitment by Rachel Boutin

DWC Commitment by Yin Brown

DWC Commitment by Janet Paterson

DWC Commitment by Alec Farquhar

DWC Commitment by Jason Mitschele

DWC Commitment by Gail Fawcett and Pam Lahey

DWC Commitment by Samah Henein


Thank you: 

Hosts of the DWC Conference 2019 are CCRW (Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work), InclusionNL, CRWDP (Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy), Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups


Financial support to the conference was provided by the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (CRWDP) which is a 7-year research partnership funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), by the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) and by the Government of Canada. Our platinum sponsor is the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 793. Our silver sponsors are the Canada's Building Trades Unions and Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).


 Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group), Workers United Canada Council (An SEIU Affiliate). Conference Twitter Hashtag #DWCanada