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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.



Help get our Budget message the Federal Government

Participate in the On-line Budget Consultation process and support us by asking the federal government to fund research into the creation of a medicare-type disability insurance plan for Canada.
Here's how:
Step 1: Go to the Let’s Talk Budget website: https://letstalkbudget2021.ca/pre_budget_consultations
Step 2: Go to questionnaire Button or link – a very short scroll down
Step 3:  Click on the Next Button “Take Questions”
Step 4:  There are 7 questions on this page and each one might be addressed as follows:

Question 1  - Click “Other”
Question 2 – this is a comment section, the comment might be (Copy and paste)

The creation of a national disability insurance plan would create thousands of jobs, particularly in rural and remote communities prospects while improving the employment for persons with disabilities and their families by supporting care needs. But first, we need the research.

Question 3 -  Again, go to and check ‘Other’
Question 4 – In the comment box a suggestion would be  (Copy and paste)

The economy will show real signs of improvement when persons with disabilities are employed at the same rate as other Canadians.  But for this to happen they must have the essential supports they need to be guaranteed by a Medicare type disability insurance plan.  It begins with research and public discussion.

Question 5 – Again choose ‘Other’ – NOTE: If you choose this, it will only let you make 2 selections, not 3.

A second choice here that is compatible with our message is either ‘Invest in Training’ or “Improve access to and affordability of High-Speed Internet”

Question 6:  Choose ‘Other’ - NOTE: Here too it will only let you make 2 selections, not 3.

A second choice compatible with our message might be “Provide accessible and affordable early learning and child care for all families” or “Continue to invest in affordable housing” or “Improve income support programs…”

Question 7 – Again “Other” NOTE: Here too it will only let you make 2 selections, not 3.

A second choice compatible with our message might be “Affordable Housing”

Question 8 – A possible answer might be “Research into the design and implementation issues of creating a National Disability Insurance (Medicare type) Plan”.

Question 9 – A possible answer might be “Engage persons with disabilities and their families in a discussion about what they would want a national disability insurance program to do for them by way of meaningful services and supports”.
It will then move to the next page.

Question 10 – Again “Other”
Question 11 – (only comes up after you answer ‘Other’)  The answer might be “Lack of disability supports (for family members that need it)”. This could be specified. “I need ________”

Question 12, 13, 14,  15, 16, 17 - These can be answered on its own


The closing date for the survey is Feb. 19.

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New Core Services for Children in the OAP (Ontario Autism Program)

Starting in March, Ontario will begin offering core clinical services for children in the Ontario Autism Program. These services include applied behaviour analysis, speech language pathology, occupational therapy and mental health supports based on the child's individual needs.


Learn more about these new core services by clicking here.

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Have a Heart Campaign

The First Nations, Inuit, and Métis services team at Family & Children's Services of the Waterloo Region is proud to actively support the Have a Heart Day Campaign. 

The idea is simple. People from this part of Turtle Island (Canada) are encouraged to send Valentine's Day cards to the Prime Minister. The message is simple, too: it urges the Prime Minister to “have a heart” and provide equitable funding to Indigenous children and youth so that they have the same chance of achieving their dreams as non-Indigenous children.

For more information and to access the PDF of the card, click here.

Or, if you’d prefer, we have already-printed postcards in our main reception that you can pick up to sign and send off yourself. *To pick up a postcard, please go out main reception at 200 Ardelt Ave in Kitchener.* 

There is no postage stamp needed to send mail to the Prime Minister's Office.


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Housing for All Strategy

A Human Rights Based Strategy to Address Homelessness and Housing

Responding to public concern over homelessness and housing affordability expressed by the public in the Strategic Plan Environics Survey Council directed an Affordable Housing Strategy be completed by 2020 in collaboration with the Region of Waterloo community groups and development industry. Housing For All is the City of Kitchener's comprehensive strategy to realize the right to housing and help make housing affordable using the tools and resources available to a local municipality.

Click here to read the Housing For All Strategy report.


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Town Hall - MCCSS Survey

We hosted a Town Hall on Saturday December 5 with about 19 participants. What an event and great conversation.   


We thought we could share the information that was collected and if you could share with your networks and contacts.  Please find attached the following documents:

1.  Key Words from Town Hall

2.  Town Hall Jam Board

3.  Word document with questions (can use this to complete the survey and then copy and paste)


The survey links are in the document but I have attached in this email also:

Plain Language Version

English:  https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/wp/en/programs/developmental-services/making-ds-better-in-ontario/

French:  https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/wp/fr/programmes/services-ontario-personnes-deficience-intellectuelle/ameliorer-spdi-en-ontario/


Full Version

English:  https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/wp/en/programs/developmental-services/discussion-guide-ds-reform-engagement/

French:  https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/wp/fr/programmes/services-ontario-personnes-deficience-intellectuelle/guide-discussion-consultations-reforme-spdi/



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Technical committees on employment and emergency egrees

Starting today, we are recruiting volunteer* experts for two new technical committees. These committees will create employment and emergency egress accessibility standards.



Experts with disabilities are key to the successful development of accessibility standards.  Each technical committee will consist of 12 to 18 members. All experts are required to represent one of the following categories:

► Industry and commerce

► Government authorities

► Consumer and public interest

► Labour and unions

► University and research groups

► Non-governmental organizations

► Standards development organizations

How to apply

Our goal is to make the process accessible and easy for all candidates.

Deadline to apply: December 21, 2020, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Here are the ways to apply:


A) Apply online

Follow these steps:

1.   Click on the technical committee you are interested in above.

2.   Click on the Apply button.

3.   Fill out the online form. You will need to attach your resume (maximum two pages).

4.   Submit the form.

5.   You will see a message confirming submission.


B) Apply in American Sign Language (ASL) or Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ)
Choose one of the following 2 ways :

1.   Follow the steps right above to apply online. Then attach a video in ASL or LSQ that describes your expertise in the "Resume" field. You will see a message confirming submission.

2.   Simply send us an ASL or LSQ language video describing your expertise by email.

C) Other ways to apply

To apply by mail, by phone or through other means, please contact us:






1 833 854 7628


By mail

Accessibility Standards Canada

125 Sussex Drive

Terrace level

Suite 010, Confederation Hall

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2


If you have any issues or questions, or if you need help applying, please contact us (contact information right above).


Thank you for considering sharing the news in your network!


*We are following Canadian and international best practices to develop our standards. These are volunteer roles, but if an expert with a disability is not paid by an organization, we will pay them for their role on a technical committee.

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MCSS-Improvement and Reform of DSO survey

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) has put out a survey asking what they can do to improve and reform Developmental Services in Ontario. This is an opportunity to help shape the future of developmental services and provide your feedback on how it looks for you right now.  Your input is very important.

MCCSS is asking for ideas, feedback, and comments that will help them improve supports for people with developmental disabilities and the survey provides opportunities for people to share their thoughts on:

  • Making funding fair and transparent
  • Better Assessment and planning
  • Delivering supports that meet people’s changing needs
  • Improving service quality
  • How technology can be used to improve services

There is both a plain language version and full version with discussion guide that will take about 45 minutes to complete. 

Plain language Version

Full version

Open for feedback until December 31, please take some time to answer some or all of the questions. Ensuring that MCCSS hears from people in our community is so important in ensuring that places like Waterloo Region Family Network can continue to provide supports and services for people with developmental disabilities.

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Ontario Government survey for Developmental Service Reform

While some of you may already be aware, we wanted to bring to everyone's attention the Government of Ontario's new web-page dedicated to engagement on Developmental Services Reform.


The web-page can be found here.  


The page includes a survey that asks for ideas, comments and feedback on how to improve supports for people with developmental disabilities across Ontario.


They will be accepting submissions until Friday, December 4th.


Given the significance of this consultation, we encourage everyone to participate in this survey and to also share this information with others who may be interested in participating.


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Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

Finally, the CRCB will provide a $500 per week taxable benefit, for up to 26 weeks, if an individual misses work to care for a family member due to COVID-19. This benefit will also be available for one year, beginning on Sept. 27.

The CRCB can be shared among household members, but only one household member can receive the benefit in any one week. If a facility is available, but an individual prefers to keep a dependent at home, they’re not eligible for the CRCB. To qualify for the CRCB, you must have been unable to work for at least 60 per cent of your normally scheduled work week because you must take care of a child who is under 12 years old, or provide care to a family member with a disability or a dependent. You must be caring for the child, family member or dependent because either: their school, daycare, day program or care facility is closed (or operates under an alternative schedule) due to COVID-19; a medical professional has advised that they cannot attend the facility due to being at high risk if they contract COVID-19; or because the caregiver usually providing care is not available because of COVID-19. In addition, you must not have received paid leave or certain other benefits (including the CERB, CRB, CRSB, short term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or EI benefits) for that work week.  

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Equitable Access to Care Now!

The Canadian Government recommends that essential support person(s) be included in 'essential visitor' policies.  Ontario has not updated their recommendation around essential visitors since this updated guidance document was sent to all provinces and territories.  


People and their families in Ontario still have to advocate at the local level on an individual basis to ensure that they have the supports necessary to access care. Granting this access to supports is at the discretion of the person in charge.  It shouldn't have to be this way.  


B.C. just updated their visitor policy to include essential support people.  Ontario must do the same NOW!  


Help get this policy changed in Ontario--it's easy just click the link below, read the open letter, sign on, then forward this email to all your family, friends, colleagues and networks.   


Please Sign on Today!

Equitable Access to Care Now! | Family Alliance Ontario


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Blog Contributor Portrait
Leah Bowman
February 23, 2021
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Waterloo Region Family Network
November 12, 2019
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