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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.



Attention Ontario Parents Take This Once In A Lifetime Opportunity To Make Your Views Known.

The Ontario Government, after years of advocacy work by the AODA and other disability organizations, has committed to enact an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). An advisory committee, the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee, which includes representatives from the government and the disability community, was assigned to develop recommendations on what the Education Accessibility Standard should include.


The committee’s initial recommendations report, a 185-page report, was made public on June the 1st (summaries below). The public has been given until September the 2nd to send feedback on the initial recommendations. This may be your only opportunity to have your voice heard. 


To take more action, click here and find out more.

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Family Alliance Ontario communications

Please find the following information in this email.


1. DANEO Newsletter


2. FAO Response letter re:  Reform


3. ODC and FAO letter re:  Family Managed Home Care & Guardianship


4. Recording from May FKS - Michael Bach:  Supported Decision Making: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/IFmr1DZIHx2qI1NCQO82MtL7o5A6zuPLcHYsXZ7Ab0yyNb00EeT7E5Mp1xkicWXu.7pbuft8QNVGOgCTj    Password:   3tVPb3g# 


5. ODSP My Benefits Link:  https://mybenefits.mcss.gov.on.ca/auth/login


6. Consultation on National Disability Plan Survey:  



7. JFCY - Enhancing Access to Special Education Project (EASE):  Justice for Children and Youth (JFCY) is excited to announce our newest initiative, Enhancing Access to Special Education (EASE). We recognize that navigating different special education processes can be challenging, and it can often feel like you are alone on the journey. EASE is working to develop accessible resources to support students with special education needs and their families in navigating special education processes.  We Want to Hear From You! You can get involved by: 


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Accessibility Standards Canada-Annual public meeting

Dear Stakeholders,

I would like to start by thanking everyone who participated in our first annual public meeting "Making Canada Accessible" on May 31st. More than 500 of you attended this important event.


Our Annual Public Meeting would not have been possible without your participation. It was an opportunity for you to meet our Board of Directors, and learn more about our mandate, accomplishments to date and plans.


We hope that you found the meeting informative and that we were able to answer your questions. If you wish to listen to our meeting once again, or if you were unable to participate in May, please do not hesitate to check the recording now available on our website.


In a couple of weeks, we will invite you to visit our website once more to review the questions and answers related to our mandate that we received during the virtual meeting. Please stay tuned.


On behalf of the entire Accessibility Standards Canada team and myself, thank you!


Annual report

I am pleased to announce that the 2020 to 2021 Annual Report has been tabled in Parliament. You can find it on our website.


The 2020 to 2021 annual report is a great way to learn about our organization's accomplishments within the last year. Despite the challenges of a pandemic, we actually managed to gather momentum and achieve more than anticipated. We continued to build our organization and were able to dive into our core business of developing standards.

I am looking forward to continuing our dialogue on accessibility.

Philip Rizcallah


*See below for message in French

Assemblée publique annuelle

Chers intervenants,

J’aimerais d’abord remercier chacun d’entre vous qui avez participé à notre toute première assemblée publique « Rendre le Canada accessible » qui eut lieu le 31 mai dernier. Vous avez été plus de 500 personnes à assister à cet événement important.

Faisant partie intégrante de notre mandat, cette assemblée n’aurait pu avoir lieu sans la participation de vous tous.


Ce fut une occasion pour vous de rencontrer notre conseil d’administration, de connaitre davantage notre mandat ainsi que de découvrir nos réalisations et nos projets futurs.

Nous espérons que vous avez trouvé l’assemblée informative et que nous avons su répondre à vos questions. Si vous désirez réécouter l’assemblée, ou bien si vous n’avez pas pu participer en mai, vous pouvez accéder à l’enregistrement de la rencontre sur notre site internet.


D’ici quelques semaines, nous vous inviterons à consulter notre site internet à nouveau pour découvrir les questions que nous avons reçues lors de notre assemblée virtuelle ainsi que les réponses fournies reliées à notre mandat. Veuillez rester à l’affût.

Au nom de toute l’équipe de Normes d’accessibilité Canada et en mon nom personnel, merci!


Rapport annuel

C’est avec joie que je vous annonce que notre rapport annuel 2020 à 2021 vient d’être déposé au Parlement. Vous pouvez le consulter sur notre site internet.


Le rapport annuel 2020 à 2021 est un excellent moyen de prendre connaissance des réalisations de notre organisation au cours de l'année écoulée. Malgré les défis posés par la pandémie, nous avons réussi à prendre de l'élan et à accomplir plus que prévu. Nous avons continué à développer notre organisation.  Nous avons pu nous plonger dans notre activité principale, à savoir l'élaboration de normes.


Au plaisir de continuer la conversation au sujet de l’accessibilité.

Philip Rizcallah



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Ontario Extending Temporary Wage Increase for Personal Support Workers


Province Continuing to Support Frontline Health Care Heroes in Fight Against COVID-19

June 11, 2021
Ministry of Health


TORONTO ― The Ontario government is investing $141 million to extend the temporary wage increase for personal support workers and direct support workers in publicly funded home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors. This temporary wage increase will continue until August 23, 2021, and will help stabilize, attract and retain the workforce needed to provide a high level of care during the COVID-19 pandemic.


“Our government is committed to supporting personal support workers and direct support workers as they care for Ontarians during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “These wage enhancements recognize personal support workers and direct support workers for their dedication to their patients, and help ensure they have the resources they need to continue delivering quality care in our communities.”


The province has been providing a temporary wage increase since October 1, 2020, to over 158,000 workers who deliver publicly funded personal support services, including:

  • $3 per hour for approximately 38,000 eligible workers in home and community care;
  • $3 per hour for approximately 50,000 eligible workers in long-term care;
  • $2 per hour for approximately 10,000 eligible workers in public hospitals; and
  • $3 per hour for approximately 60,000 eligible workers in children, community and social services providing personal direct support services for the activities of daily living.


This latest temporary wage increase builds on the government’s previous wage enhancement extension on March 18, 2021, which was set to expire on June 30, 2021. Since October 2020, Ontario has invested $841 million to support personal support workers and supportive care workers. The province will continue to review the wage increase to inform next steps after August 23, 2021.


The government also recently announced an investment of over $115 million to accelerate training for up to 8,200 new personal support workers for Ontario’s health and long-term care sectors. Registration for the program is available through the Ontario College Application Service.


"Personal support workers are the backbone of Ontario’s long-term care system," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. "Extending this wage increase will help to attract and retain personal support workers in long-term care which is so important as they provide our loved ones with the care they need and deserve everyday."


"The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone in different ways, but we know it has had a profound impact on vulnerable Ontarians who rely on support workers in their day-to-day lives," said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. "By further extending this temporary wage increase, we can ensure that our most vulnerable continue to receive the care they need and we continue to recognize the dedication and commitment of support workers in all sectors throughout the pandemic."


"Since the outset of the pandemic, personal support workers and direct support workers have made enormous sacrifices to keep Ontarians safe and healthy. They have been an invaluable part of our fight against COVID-19, and we can't thank them enough for their service," said Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Finance. "This extension of the temporary wage increase recognizes their heroic work to safeguard the most vulnerable in our province, while building on our historic investments to improve home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals and the social services sector."


Quick Facts

  • Personal support workers provide a wide range of services in home and community care, which also reduces or delays the need for more costly care in hospitals and long-term care homes.
  • In October 2020, Ontario provided $461 million to temporarily enhance wages for personal support workers and direct support workers. This was followed by an extension of the temporary wage increase on March 18, 2021.
  • Through the COVID-19 Fall Preparedness Plan, the government invested $52.5 million to recruit, retain and support over 3,700 more frontline health care workers and caregivers. It is one of the largest health care recruiting and training programs in Ontario history. To date, more than 600 personal support workers, 500 nurses and 130 supportive care workers have been added across the province through this plan. This is in addition to thousands of new staff hired through other programs like pandemic pay.
  • The temporary wage increase will be reviewed on a regular basis and is intended to extend until August 23, 2021, in connection with regulations made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.

Additional Resources

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Family Alliance Ontario Again Demands the Ontario Government Act to Protect People with Disabilities from Discrimination in all COVID-19 Policies and Directives

Click here to read the Family Alliance Ontario news release.

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The Importance of Filing Tax Returns (Even When Income is Low/Nil)

Click here to read about the benefits of filing taxes.


Free tax clinics (some criteria apply):

-  Tax Clinic 2021 | Social Development Centre Waterloo Region

RoW-Volunteer-Income-Tax-Clinic-Information.PDF (regionofwaterloo.ca) 


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Making Canada Accessible

Dear stakeholder,


Our annual public meeting is fast approaching, and you are invited! We consider you an important partner and value your thoughts and expertise on accessibility. Your voice can help making Canada accessible. We want you to be a part of the discussion.


About the event: Making Canada accessible

This is our first annual public meeting, and we have a lot to share. The event is free and will happen virtually on May 31, 2021 at 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.


It will be an opportunity to:

·         meet our Board of Directors and CEO;

·         learn about our role, our achievements, and our future plans;

·         hear from accessibility experts; and

·         share thoughts and ask questions on accessibility areas related to our mandate.


For more information, visit our event page.


Register today

Registration is required for this event. Space is limited. Register here – you have until May 14 to do so.


If you need help registering or have questions, please contact us by email or by calling


How to join

Closer to the event, we will send participation details to those who are registered. Use this information on the day of the event to join us online. There will also be the option to call-in and listen to the event.


Our goal is to make Canada accessible for all, and this is not possible without you. Please share this invitation with anyone in your network that would like to attend.


Our board of directors is excited to see you – watch their video invitation here. See you there!


Accessibility Standards Canada

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Critical/Important Information-Triage Information & Letter Template-from Family Alliance Ontario

We would like to bring your attention to the following very critical/important information re: Triage Protocol. Please review the information before making a decision. Thank you to the family groups that put this package together.

Additionally, please read the related press release from FAO.

Dear Families, Self-Advocates, and Supporters,
For the past year, disability advocates have been raising the alarm over the provincial governments proposed critical care triage protocol.  As we are experiencing the third wave of the pandemic, seeing increased numbers of patients in Intensive Care Units, and are faced with the real threat of our health care system collapsing, we have collected information from trusted resources for your awareness and information on this important issue.  Please see the links below.

Please visit our website Critical Care Triage Protocol - Thunder Bay Family Network to download a template letter that was developed for the purposes of advocating to the Ontario government.  You will see that there are highlighted sections for you to personalize the letter and we encourage you to add your comments.  This letter is addressed to Premier Ford and Health Minister Elliot and should you choose to send it, please cc your local MPP.

Link to MPP contact list: Current MPPs | Legislative Assembly of Ontario 
Doug Ford, Premier: doug.fordco@pc.ola.org
Christine Elliott, Minister of Health: christine.elliott@pc.ola.org

The AODA Alliance is seeking support from self-advocates, families, and anyone who supports those with a disability to put pressure on the government so that discriminatory practices do not occur towards our loved ones should a protocol such as this have to be utilized due to the health care system being overwhelmed.  Other advocacy ideas can include social media sharing of tweets and posts, contacting your local media, engaging with faith-based groups in your community, or connecting with a local family network.

You can follow AODA on Twitter at @aodaalliance and we encourage you to sign up for their newsletter to receive updated information on this and many other areas of concern:  Sign up for the AODA Alliance Newsletter.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance:
Ontario Human Rights Commission Again Commendably Raises Human Rights Concerns with Ontario’s Critical Care Triage Plans, While the Ontario College of Physicians And surgeons Appears to Wrongly — Green Light Those Plans The AODA Alliance Responds!

Ontario Human Rights Commission: New letter to Minister of Health on critical care triage protocol | Ontario Human Rights Commission

Thunder Bay Family Network Town Hall video: https://youtu.be/VvcOJpdIphU


Click here to view and use the template letter.

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Family Alliance Ontario-Experience with ODSP survey

FAO has been hearing about the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) from our members and from our affiliate family networks. Thus we have decided to find out what other families and people across Ontario experience when they interact with their local ODSP office. Please assist us in our advocacy efforts by completing this very short survey.

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People for Personalized Funding (PFPF) have created an advocacy kit for increasing Special Services at Home



The Ontario government is keeping thousands of children with disabilities waiting for help on a lengthy Special Services at Home (SSAH) waitlist.


This pandemic has only highlighted how important adequate and timely support is needed so that children, youth and their families can thrive. It appears that 11,000 children may currently be on the waitlist and we expect that number to increase by thousands next year. Further analysis can be found at on our website.


If you are a family member, child or youth, or ally, contact your MPP and let them know

Ontario’s 2021-22 Budget must enhance SSAH funding so that the waiting list is eliminated and all children and youth are supported as soon as they become eligible.



  • Find out who your MPP. Click on this link to find your MPP’s contact information https://www.ola.org/en/members
  • Send a message to your MPP and encourage others in your network as well. You can cut and paste the sample message below and send by email or use as a script for a phone call.




Dear  [MPP’S NAME],


I am writing as to express my concern that thousand of children and youth are languishing on long waiting lists for Special Services at Home (SSAH) – some waiting for years.


 SSAH is an extremely important and cost-effective way to improve the lives of Ontario children and youth with disabilities. Families receive funding for workers or other supports so that young people can participate in and contribute to their communities. 


We urge the government to ensure that children, youth and their families who live with disability receive immediate support. Ontario’s 2021-22 Budget must enhance SSAH funding so that the waiting list is eliminated and all children and youth are supported as soon as they become eligible.





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Blog Contributor Portrait
Leah Bowman
July 30, 2021
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Blog Contributor Portrait
Waterloo Region Family Network
November 12, 2019
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