Ability & Enterprise Newsletter - April 2013

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Ability & EnterpriseCCRW Logo2 2
Leading the way for Inclusive Employment
April 10, 2013
purple crocuses
Long Awaited for Spring!


In This Issue:
  • Power Expo - April 20, 2013
  • Workforce One-Stop 2013 - April 23, 2013
  • A Career, not a mere job - WESP
  • Video Relay Service - CRTC Notice of Consultation
  • In Memoriam - Raymond Cohen
Please feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues - spread the word, hire persons with disabilities!
Power Expo 2013


Power Expo logoPlease join CCRW in attending the 2nd annual Power Expo on April 20, 2013. Power Expo is the expo and conference for business owners, professionals and those in life and career transition.

Power Expo is the premier event to connect business owners and decision-makers, and to equip and inspire those making transitions with their personal and professional lives. Attendees will be able to shop for products and services to help them and their businesses achieve their goals while networking with like-minded small business owners, leaders and experts.

The Power Expo is a full-day event and includes workshops and seminar on topics as diverse as the power of social media, the power of mentoring and writing a realistic business plan.

In addition, you will not want to miss keynote speaker Susan Brady, the founder of Susan Brady International, a company committed to the growth, empowerment and personal mastery of female entrepreneurs around the globe.

Also, you won’t want to miss the networking/happy hour event from 4-6 PM; an opportunity to mingle with local business contacts. This will be followed by the Power Awards from 6-8 PM.

The event will be held on Saturday April 20th, at the Peter & Paul Hall, 231 Milner Ave., Scarborough, Ontario starting at 10 AM. CCRW is exhibiting and we are pleased to announce a reduced price for CCRW clients. Please contact a CCRW team member for more information.

For more information, please visit www.powerexpo.net or call 1-877-893-7624 ext. 3

For more information about CCRW, please visit www.ccrw.org or call 1-800-664-0925

Workforce One-Stop 2013

Just 13 days to go.....April 23 & April 24

WO 2013Join CCRW in attending 2013 Workforce One-Stop Conference to get the latest insights into finding, developing and retaining the skilled talent needed today.

CCRW will be presenting a workshop "Beyond the Legal Duty....Accommodating Persons with Disabilities in the Workplace: A Partnership that Results in an Effective Approach to Inclusion"  on Tuesday morning, April 23

CCRW will be presenting the roundtable "Are you job ready?  The Keys to Finding and Maintaining Employment" on Wednesday morning, April 24.

Hear expert views on how to develop and lead the workforce of tomorrow.

Learn how your labour force can go from good to great! Hot topics include:

  • Leveraging diversity in the workplace
  • Retaining your top talent
  • Making the most of multi-generational workforces
  • Hiring innovators for a cutting-edge workforce
  • Mentoring and bridging programs that work 
Participate in plenary sessions, workshops, exhibits and much more …

Make Workforce One-Stop the training and development choice of your staff. Group rates available. To learn more, email Linda Scott or call 1-888-801-8818 ext 277.

For up-to-date program details and to register for this event, visit: www.workforceonestop.ca


WESP Success Story

A Career, not a mere job.

Pastel ImageI was a single mother with a toddler and in my early twenties when I was eventually diagnosed with schizophreniform after suffering from my first psychotic episode. Schizophreniform is a mild form of schizophrenia with full return to normal functioning after each psychotic episode. The onset of my illness occurred overnight. I was turned away from the hospital several times until the hospital staff realized that all the stories I was conveying to them were untrue. I suffered from severe paranoia, delusions, and the inability to decipher between what is real and what is not. At the time, I was also a university student, and at the onset of my episode, I began to erroneously believe that the Children’s Aid Society was going to take my son away from me. My thoughts, memories, sense of time, and my sense of reality all blended together like a pastel drawing. Luckily, I only conveyed these erroneously thoughts to family members and therefore my illness was kept a secret from friends and classmates. At the time, I knew very little about mental illness and my parents were equally as perplexed about mental health issues.

At the time of my episode, I was attending school full time, working part-time as a Personal Support Worker, and taking care of my one-year-old son. The only time I could concentrate on my homework was when he was sleeping, so I would often stay up all night to finish my assignments. I had a very little income and was fortunate enough to live in subsidized housing, but I would not eat regularly. Sometimes I would skip lunch just to save money on food. I learned the hard way that it is of utmost importance to take ownership for one’s own well-being. Since then, I eat healthy meals three times a day, exercise when I can, and try my best to reduce stress and promote self-care. I had a severe relapse after stopping my medication and my diagnosis was changed to paranoid schizophrenia. I have been fortunate enough to find a medication that has no known side effects and eliminates all psychotic symptoms I would otherwise experience without my medication.

For the next ten years, I took care of my son, and for a few years I worked at various survival jobs. I yearned to go back to school, and even got accepted into the Bachelor’s of Education teaching program when my son was six years old, but I soon dropped out. I really cannot blame my illness for dropping out because I think I just did not believe enough in myself. The dictionary definition of a disability is a lack of adequate power, strength, or physical or mental ability. This definition can be overwhelming, because I have an immense amount of power, strength, and mental and physical capacity. The dictionary further defines disability as being a physical or mental handicap, especially one that prevents a person from living a full, normal life or from holding a gainful job. I struggle with this definition, as I am a single mother who has a full-time job of raising my son in a nurturing home filled with love and smell of home-cooked meals, and although the past ten years were difficult, I would challenge anyone who would claim that I wasn’t living a full and normal life simply because I was unemployed. Naturally, I wanted to work while my son was in school so that I could better provide for us and take us out of concomitant poverty.

For a few years, I volunteered at a drop-in centre and for a short while, I volunteered on a warm line which is a non-crisis support line for consumer-survivors of psychiatric disabilities. I was even offered a job interview to become a Peer Support Facilitator which is a position where a consumer-survivor with lived experience of mental illness supports clients who use the agency’s services as an essential part of their recovery process. I made it into the second interview, but was not offered the position, and I felt that if I had completed my education, I would open up new possibilities.

In 2012, I successfully graduated from attending college with a diploma as a Social Service Worker that took me two years to complete full-time. One of the
graduates tossing hats in airgreatest ironies of my life occurred during my last semester of college, when I presented about schizophrenia to my class. One member of the group challenged me and the teacher and said that people with schizophrenia can never recover. I did not feel at the time that it was a safe environment to disclose my disability, but I refuted her statements using my research. My son attended my graduation ceremony, and I have a photo of him wearing my graduation gown on his little body, and it is one of my favourite pictures, because in many ways, my graduation was not an independent achievement, but rather a collaborative effort between mother and son.

After graduation, I hated being home alone and applying for jobs and sending off approximately 10 resumes a day, and only receiving a few callbacks. It was then that I discovered the WESP website and I promptly called and spoke to the program manager, Jaclyn, who had a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and answered all of my exhaustive questions. I enjoyed the 4 week program, and I especially enjoyed discussing pertinent topics relating to issues surrounding workplace discrimination and how to decide when to disclose to an employer about a disability. I also enjoyed the guest speakers. During the workshop, I applied to a Peer Support Facilitator Position which was advertised on the Charity Village website, and I was offered the position a few weeks after completing the WESP workshop! I was asked to provide three references, but instead I provided four, because I wanted to use the job developer, Shawn Ferguson as a reference because I wanted to provide a reference who could comment on my performance as someone who identifies as having a disability. Shawn was not only able to honestly comment on my participation in the workshop, but to also answer a difficult question posed by my future boss when she asked, “What do you think is Deborah’s weakness?” Shawn hesitated and then said the only weakness he could find was a lack of confidence. My future boss believed in me and offered me the position.

So, here I am in my new position and I am so content not only because my team chose me to be one of their Peer Support Facilitators but also because I now have a career instead of a mere job. For the first time in my working life, I no longer qualify for disability social assistance nor do I qualify for subsidized housing because of my income level. I am building up that confidence that stopped me from achieving my academic and employment goals for years, and
WESP logo can use my experience to empower the consumer-survivor community.
Thank you WESP!

For more information about WESP and its programs please go to www.ccrw.org/wesp

Video Relay Service - CRTC Consultation

Video relay service - Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2013-155

On April 2, 2013, the CRTC published a Notice of Consultation (Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2013-155) which initiates a proceeding to address issues related to the feasibility of establishing a viedo relay service (VRS) in Canada.

The Social & Consumer Policy team would like to bring this Notice of Consultation to your attention as you may have information relevant to this consutlation and may be interested in participating in this consultation.  The deadline to file interventions is 17 May 2013, 5:00 pm Vancouver time (8:00 p.m. Ottawa time)

For more information on this proceeding and how to participate, please refer to the following documents:
1.  How to participate in CRTC public proceedings
2.  News release.
3. Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2013-155

In Memoriam

Rest in Peace, Raymond

Raymond-CohenRaymond Cohen, founder and CEO of the Canadian Abilities Foundation and editor of Abilities magazine, passed away on March 22, 2013. He was 64.

In recent months, Raymond had been struggling bravely through a heavy regimen of treatments for a hidden disability that had affected his health for many years. However, his condition turned for the worse quite suddenly. His family was with him at the end. Raymond had a profound effect on many, many people during his lifetime, and was a fierce advocate for people with disabilities. The Canadian Abilities Foundation remains committed to carrying on his work, with the publication of Abilities magazine scheduled to resume shortly, after having been interrupted due to his illness. Donations in Raymond’s honour can be made to the Canadian Abilities Foundation using the “Donate” link .



CCRW AODA Consultations--The Job Accommodation Service®
AODA training, policy review and development, accessibility audits and solutions. 
For more information and to book a consultation, contact Nayla Farah, nfarah@ccrw.org or 1-800-664-0925 x 224 or visit our website at www.ccrw.org



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Call for Article Submissions!

If you have something that would be of interest to the membership, we would be happy to consider it for a future issues of Abilities & Enterprise, please contact Monica at





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