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From time to time, the Waterloo Region Family Network (WRFN) is asked to distribute information on behalf of third parties. WRFN provides general information to self-advocates and families of children with special needs. The information provided on this website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider. WRFN is not responsible for any information or services provided by third parties. You are urged to use independent judgment when considering any resource.



Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities Newsletter


Autism and Mental Health Series
Webinar Presentation

Autistic People and the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Have We Learned So Far?

Thursday, April 27, 2023, 12:00-1:00 PM EDT
Dr. Liz Pellicano, Professor of Autism Research at University College London joins us for the latest in a series of monthly interactive workshops where we discuss different topics that are important to Autistic adults. The webinars are designed and hosted by Autistic adults; all are welcome. View our flyer. 

For a full list of upcoming events, visit the Autism & Mental Health Webpage.

Click here to register


Webinar Presentation

"All teach – all learn”: Lessons learned about mental health and developmental disabilities during the pandemic

Tuesday, March 28th  2:00-3:00 PM EDT
Presented by the Disability Health Equity Research Network, with guest speaker, Dr. Yona Lunsky, Director of the Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre and the Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities Program (H-CARDD) at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health.

Click here to register


Research Study Recruitment
Autistic Adults and the Experience of Psychedelics

Are you Autistic and over 18 years old? We want to hear about your experiences with psychedelics.
This research study wants to learn about the perception, opinions, and knowledge of autistic adults about psychedelics, and whether they have used them in the past.

Participation involves filling out a 20-30 minute online survey. Click here to go to the survey.

For more information, email or call us:

[email protected] 
+1 416-535-8501 ext. 32817

Click here to go to survey


Virtual Workshop
Direct Support Professionals in Developmental Services

New Workshop starts April 4th! 
Are you a Direct Support Professional (DSP) in developmental services? Join our free virtual workshop, offered over three 2-hour sessions, to learn about Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) strategies. This workshop aims to support the well-being of DSPs and is part of a research study to help us to learn more about how to best support the well-being of staff in the sector.

Dates and Times:1. Mar 28 from 6:30-7:00 PM (Orientation) 2. Apr 4 from 6:30-8:30 PM 3. Apr 11 from 6:30-8:30 PM 4. May 9 from 6:30-8:30 PM

Interested? Please complete the expression of interest form by clicking here. 

Contact us for more information at [email protected]


Virtual Mindfulness Group
Leaders and Management Professionals in Developmental Services


Starts March 28th! 

Are you a leader or management professional in developmental services? Join our free 6-week Canada-wide virtual mindfulness program, led by Sue Hutton, a mindfulness teacher with 40 years of experience. This program is supported by the Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence.


Every Tuesday, Mar 28th to May 2nd, 2023, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
This program is also part of the Cultivating Community Wellness Initiative. View our flyer.









Volunteer Opportunity
Caregiver Engagement Network

Join the Azrieli Caregiver Engagement Network! Open to all caregivers (siblings, parents, grandparents) of loved ones 18 years and older with a developmental disability. 

Next meeting: Thursday, March 23rd, 12:00-1:00 PM EDT
Click here for more information. 


Questions? Email [email protected]

Click here to register


New Research
Survey on Siblings of Adults with Disabilities


Are you a Canadian Developmental Services Organization?
Please take 10 minutes to complete a survey on how your organization includes the siblings of people with developmental disabilities in the programs and services offered. The survey is part of a research study by Siblings Canada and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.   
Share this flyer with the person at your agency who has the most contact with the families of people with disabilities (primarily siblings) or is most familiar with the support offered to families.

Click here to go to survey



Trish Coupal at 9:45 AM
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Accessibility Standards Canada-Quarterly Newsletter

Grants & Contributions Update

We would like to thank everyone who submitted a proposal to our latest call for proposals for our grants and contributions program. Our program supports research projects aimed at identifying and removing barriers to accessibility. This research will help inform accessibility standards in the future.


Our most recent call was launched in June and closed in August 2022. As a first step, we invited Canadian organizations to submit an Expression of Interest. It allowed applicants to describe their project and show how it meets the program's objectives and priorities.

Organizations from across Canada have submitted projects to advance accessibility research to help shape the standards of the future. We are thrilled that we have had such an impact on the community.


We will now select the projects that will proceed to the second stage of the process. We will inform the organizations whose projects are selected. They will be asked to complete a more comprehensive funding application form. This will allow us to learn more about:

  • Their projects;
  • Their goals; and,
  • Expected outcomes.

These projects will then be thoroughly evaluated. Funding decisions will be made based on the results of this evaluation. We look forward to funding excellent projects that will bring positive outcomes for all Canadians. Together we help make Canada an accessible country for all.


Website Modernisation

Our website has a brand new look! We’ve been hard at work rebranding our website to enhance its design and its accessibility. Here are a few changes you’ll notice:

  • We changed the way we organized information. It is easier for you to find what you are looking for.
  • We created alternate communication formats for users, including:
    • Accessible forms;
    • Long text versions of infographics; and,
    • Sign language videos.
  • We made the look of our website unique and modern. The design is clean, professional, engaging and, more importantly, accessible.

We’re innovating while respecting the Government of Canada communication guidelines and the Standard on Web Accessibility. We’re continuously working with web accessibility experts. We take notes of the feedback from the disability community.


Accessibility is always a work in progress and the site will continue to be updated.


Building an accessible Canada also extends to the web and we hope to lead by example. Please inform your respective networks! Let us know your opinion.


Agreement signed with Saskatchewan

On August 11, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services. We will work together towards the removal of barriers to accessibility. This MOU will:

  • Make it easier to share information and best practices;
  • Help to ensure the federal and provincial governments do not duplicate work; and,
  • Promote a high level of accessibility across the country.

It is our goal to promote the harmonization of accessibility standards across Canada. Agreements like this MOU with the Government of Saskatchewan make it easier to have a consistently high level of access in every province. We look forward to signing collaboration agreements with more provinces and territories! You can read our news release for more details.


Heads up: Public review of Model Standard for the Built Environment - accessibility draft standard

Our team has been hard at work preparing the draft standard for the Model Standard for the Built Environment. The draft standard will be ready for public review shortly and we need your help! Public reviews of draft standards are crucial to ensure that the work we do reflects the reality of diverse communities across Canada. Stay tuned for more information! We will contact you when the public review process will start.


The Board of Director’s Corner

On September 20th, we held our second virtual annual public meeting from Montreal. A magical moment! The event brought together nearly 300 participants from across Canada, but also from abroad. Members of the Board of Directors and our office presented our accomplishments for the past 12 months. On this occasion, we also proudly welcomed:

  • The first Chief Accessibility Officer of Canada, Ms. Stehanie Cadieux; and,
  • The first Accessibility Commissioner of Canada, Mr. Michael Gottheil.

Together with our CEO, Mr. Philip Rizcallah, they spoke about their respective roles. Thank you to the participants, the presenters, as well as our technical support team. You all contributed to making this event a great success.


Our organization has completed its 3rd year of existence. We have come so far in such a short time! We currently have 13 standards under development. Early 2023 will mark the approval of our first standard. More than ever, the disability community is invited to contribute to our achievements through:

  • Technical committees;
  • Consultations;
  • Grant program;
  • Presentations in your community; and
  • Annual public meetings.

“Nothing Without Us” is an ongoing commitment to the community by our organization. We cannot move forward without your input. Let us know your interest, concerns and questions.


Our dedicated team continues to work towards an accessible Canada for us all. We invite you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to up to date with our latest news.

Leah Bowman at 10:08 AM
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Family Pulse- September 2022

September is here! 


Inside the September issue of Family Pulse, you will find information on:

Am I a Writer? Are you?
What's Happening at WRFN
IEP Workshop
Erin's EarlyON Drop-Ins
Community Information, Resources and Opportunities


You can read the online version of Family Pulse here or download the PDF here. 

Leah Bowman at 9:48 AM
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Family Pulse - August 2022

August is here! 


Inside the July issue of Family Pulse, you will find information on:


Evening of Elegance Recap

Grace Amidst Change
What's Happening at WRFN
Community Information, Resources and Opportunities


You can read the online version of Family Pulse here or download the PDF here

Rachel Cave at 2:56 PM
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Family Pulse-July 2022

Welcome to July! 


Inside the July issue of Family Pulse, you will find information on:

SEAC Updates

Thoughts For Summer
What's Happening at WRFN
Community Information, Resources and Opportunities


You can read the online version of Family Pulse here or download a pdf copy. 

Leah Bowman at 10:16 AM
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Blog Contributor Portrait
Name: Trish Coupal
Posts: 162
Last Post: March 28, 2023
Blog Contributor Portrait
Name: Rachel Cave
Posts: 25
Last Post: March 20, 2023
Blog Contributor Portrait
Name: Leah Bowman
Posts: 508
Last Post: November 8, 2022
Waterloo Region Family Network
Name: Waterloo Region Family Network
Posts: 164
Last Post: November 12, 2019

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