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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.



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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Criticism of the More Beds, Better Care Act Continues to Grow

The Ford Government has published more troubling details on the More Beds, Better Care Act. Alternate Level of Care hospital patients may be charged $400 per day if they do not agree to move to a long-term care facility up to 70 km away in southern Ontario, and up to 150 km away in the North East and North West health regions.


Adults who have developmental disabilities are six times more likely to spend time as Alternate Level of Care patients – in other words, they are at higher risk of needing to stay in hospital even if they don’t need acute care, because there are no other appropriate options.


For hospital patients who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, a forced move to long-term care can be traumatic and destabilizing. Very few will have the resources to pay $400 per day ($12,000 per month, $146,000 per year) to remain in hospital. It is highly likely that people will be sent to long-term care facilities with little or no expertise in supporting them, at distances that remove them from family and friends.


If you share our concerns about this legislation, please send a short note to your MPP, expressing your objections. 

Leah Bowman at 5:29 PM
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Launch of the New Horizons for Seniors Program

NOTIFICATION - September 21, 2022 - Launch of the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) 2022–23 Call for Proposals funding community-based projects


The Government of Canada launched the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) 2022-23 Call for proposals (CFP) funding community-based projects across Canada. This program is offered by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).


Following the official announcement of the call for proposals, I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that applications for community projects will be accepted from September 21, 2022, through November 1, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). Organizations will have six (6) weeks to submit their application.


The information on the NHSP Funding Page will help you learn more about this funding opportunity.


Please note that the online Application for Funding Form and the Applicant Guide will only be available on the NHSP Funding Page.


For more information on this CFP, you can visit the New Horizons for Seniors Program - Community-based Projects.


Leah Bowman at 12:43 PM
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Inclusion Canada-PRESS RELEASE: Parliament Return to Debate Bill C-22 The Canada Disability Benefit


Tuesday, September 20, 2022


OTTAWA, ON – On September 20 Members of Parliament return to the House of Commons to begin debate on the Second Reading of Bill C-22, An Act to reduce poverty and to support the financial security of persons with disabilities by establishing the Canada disability benefit.


This historic legislation aims to reduce poverty among working-age Canadians with disabilities by providing a nation-wide monthly disability benefit payment. While many Canadians are currently experiencing the struggles of a budget stretched too thin, people with disabilities are unfortunately familiar with this reality, with the current inflation and financial insecurity only making their situation worse. In Canada, more than 70 percent of adults with an intellectual disability live in poverty. The income support they currently receive is already inadequate and that financial support is being stretched further and further in the current environment. With inflation at its highest level in decades, many disability support amounts haven’t risen with inflation and are lagging further and further behind.


“We want parliamentarians to continue to prioritize this Bill as their first order of business,” says Executive Vice President of Inclusion Canada, Krista Carr, “People with intellectual disabilities and their families have been living in poverty for far too long. A monthly Canada Disability Benefit is more important now than ever. We urge all parliamentarians to work in collaboration for all-party support to pass this Bill.”


Inclusion Canada urges the public to phone or email their MPs to show their support for the bill and fast-track its passage. 


“Now is the time to act,” says Inclusion Canada Board President, Robin Acton, “Contact your Member of Parliament today. We cannot let this moment pass. This bill could have an unprecedented positive financial impact for the disability community. People are being forced to choose between eating and paying for a roof over their head. We need action now. ” 


Inclusion Canada and it’s Federation will continue to work with people with a disability, their families, friends and allies as well as our disability partners across the country to advocate for the passage of Bill C-22 and the creation of the Canada Disability Benefit. 


For more information, please contact:

Marc Muschler, Inclusion Canada, 

416-661-9611 ext. 232

[email protected]

Leah Bowman at 12:18 PM
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Family Managed Home Care Updates its Definition of Substitute Decision-Maker

We are thrilled to announce that guardianship is no longer a barrier to accessing Family-Managed Home Care (FMHC) funding. The Ministry of Health (MOH) has officially updated the definition of “Substitute Decision-Maker” in its FMHC Program Specifications to include:


“an individual managing Ontario government funding from the MCCSS specifically from the Passport Program, Ontario Works, and/or the Ontario Disability Support Program on behalf of the Client who is an adult.”


Together with Community Living Ontario, PooranLaw has been advocating for changes to the MOH policy for over three years. This change took effect on Thursday, September 1, 2022.


READ MORE to learn how this news impacts people living with a disability and their families.

Leah Bowman at 10:00 AM
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