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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.



CADDAC - ADHD Newsletter


How to Boost Productivity with Body Doubling


Those with ADHD have trouble staying focused long enough to complete boring or repetitive tasks, or difficulty with getting started on tasks, managing time, and staying organized. Having a ‘gym buddy’ is known to encourage people to visit the gym and stick to an exercise routine, but can working alongside a ‘body double’ increase one’s productivity both at work and at home?


When someone with ADHD works on tasks or chores alongside another person, this is a practice called “body doubling”. The body double’s job is to help anchor the person with ADHD to the present moment, reducing the risk of distraction and holding them accountable to their task. 


To continue this article and see other events and information from CADDAC click here.

Trish Coupal at 12:20 PM
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The Early Alert Newsletter

Upcoming Statistics Canada webinars on recovery & census data

Join Statistics Canada for two upcoming free webinars happening in May and June. The first is Recovery and Resilience: An Overview of Recent Economic and Social Developments and the second is entitled How to Use Census Data.

Click here to register


Imagine Canada introduces free membership for small organizations

Imagine Canada Membership is an engagement and leadership-focused network that evolves in response to our Members' interests and needs. All staff and board members of Member organizations gain access to Member-exclusive webinars, virtual and in-person networking events, policy chats and working groups. Members receive early access to Imagine Canada research and we poll our Members on emerging issues in the sector. Membership fees are designed to be accessible to organizations of all sizes. They are scaled based on your organization type and size, starting at $0/year for nonprofits with less than $150,000 in annual revenues.

Click here to learn more


ICYMI - What trends will impact charities and nonprofits in the second quarter of 2023?

In this edition of our quarterly blog series, we discuss the challenges charities and nonprofits are facing as a result of the climate crisis and a hard insurance market. The former is a long-term challenge that will likely change core aspects of how our sector operates. The latter is a short-term challenge but one that is nevertheless having an impact on many organizations. We also discuss recent data on donation trends, which is giving us a clearer picture of how this important source of revenue was affected by the pandemic. Finally, we discuss the opportunities for our sector in changing models of work.

Click here to learn more


Tell us - what should a home in government for the sector look like?

The sector has spent years advocating for a home within the federal government and right now, a policy window is open because the government has expressed interest in the idea. We’re in the process of developing a detailed proposal about what the mandate and structure of a home in government should look like, as well as how to embed equity considerations. We want to hear from you about these elements, and about why you want a home in government - how could it help your work? What benefits do you see in an improved relationship between the sector and the federal government?

Click here to share your thoughts


House Committee updates (A non-exhaustive list of committee updates of potential interest to the sector):

The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities completed its study of Bill C-35, An Act respecting early learning and child care in Canada.

Click here to view the final report.
The Standing Committee on Finance began its study on the Subject Matter Of Bill C-47, An Act To Implement Certain Provisions Of The Budget Tabled In Parliament On March 28, 2023.
The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities continued its study on the National Housing Strategy.



Trish Coupal at 11:33 AM
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The Early Alert Newsletter

The Giving Report: A Year Defined by Inflation Intensifies Long-Standing Threats To The Sector

CanadaHelps has released its sixth annual report exploring the state of the charitable sector. It dives into 10 challenges that the sector is facing right now, from declining donations and rising inflation to staff burnout. It then looks at solutions and what Canadians can do to support the sector today.



Charitable status – lost and found – in 2022

A little more than three years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, data is starting to become available that sheds light on how it has impacted charities, and notably about how many charities have closed due to the public health crisis and related economic turmoil. This article for The Philanthropist examines 2022 data on charitable status revocations, including voluntary revocations from organizations that have decided to stop operations, for insights.



Core funding impact story: Developing Young Leaders of Tomorrow Today

According to Candies Kotchapaw, Founder and Executive Director, a lack of core funding means that “there is a replication of precarious and impoverished economic conditions – the same conditions that the organization was created to dismantle are being experienced within the organization.”



From the archives - Voices of the sector: Remarks from the nonprofit sector on digital innovation

Every sector experienced some form of disruption during the pandemic due to the exponential growth of technological adoption. While the nonprofit sector contributes more than 8% to Canada’s GDP, the sector has the country’s largest gap in the adoption and use of digital technologies. To better understand the needs of nonprofits and charities, Imagine Canada conducted stakeholder interviews on four main areas: technology, funding, staffing and capacity, and advocacy.






Trish Coupal at 11:11 AM
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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:

+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 PACT@camh.ca


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 Azrieli.Caregivers@camh.ca.

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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