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Ability & EnterpriseCCRW Logo2 2
Leading the way for Inclusive Employment

  March 13, 2013
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In This Issue:
  • Chelsea's Story
  • CCRW joins the EDN
  • Credit Canada Deb Solutions Visits WESP
  • Workforce One-Stop 2013

 Please feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues - spread the word, hire persons with disabilities!

Chelsea's Story

Workplace Essential Skills Partnership (WESP) Success Story

In 2011, I graduated with a master’s in rehabilitation sciences. I was faced with the question many students who graduate are faced with, “what do I do now?” Do I work? Do I go back to school? If I go back to school, what do I study? I had seriously considered doing a PHD, but then thought that perhaps hiding in the world of school wasn’t necessarily the best strategy. So, out into the world of work I set.

Throughout graduate school, I had worked as a research assistant at the CNIB
photo of chelsea (Canadian National Institute for the Blind), and loved my work immensely. Working in a field with which I was so familiar was rewarding, and at times, had its challenges. However, I wanted something more; I wanted to know I could step out of that cozy environment and make it in the “big leagues” as my father would say. So, where to turn? You’d think after writing a master’s thesis about employment challenges for persons with vision loss, I’d have a better idea, but I did not.

My answer came to me one day in the hallway at the CNIB. I was preparing to head up to work, when I ran into one of the job developers, Shawn Ferguson. Me being the chatty type that I am, I introduced myself and inquired as to who Shawn was. He explained who he was, and I thought “Chelsea, you know this is a divine intervention!”

After speaking with Shawn, I decided to set up an appointment with Sharon Deaver, the intake coordinator. Sharon explained the WESP program, and the different workshops WESP offered. I was slotted into a one week intensive workshop.

You’d think 7 years of university would teach you how to write a resume, cover letter, and attend an interview, but no, I was entering into what I called the school of life, and did I learn a lot in those five days at the workshop! I gained confidence by completing mock interviews with Carolyn and Michelle, the workshop facilitators, and gained skills in formatting and proofreading resumes and cover letters. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to network with my peers at the workshop.

After the workshop, I was faced again with that big question: what do I want to do. So, I met with Shawn and discussed my options. One of the career possibilities we discussed was working in a bank setting. I had reservations about being employed in the banking industry, as I had no experience in the financial sector. Shawn explained that there is more to working in the banking industry than finance, and that many blind and partially sighted people are employed in banks.

I was uncertain about what I could do in a bank setting, but shortly after my initial meeting with Shawn, I was presented with an opportunity to interview at the bank of Nova Scotia for a six month internship. I was the successful candidate, and started the position with Scotia Health in February 2013. I will be working in employment accommodations, assisting employees with disabilities to obtain the necessary accommodations to perform their jobs.

How many people can say they get to do what they went to school to do? I can honestly say not only that, but I’ve overcome the initial fear I had of working in a bank setting, and working in the “big leagues.” I thank the WESP team, my fellow workshop participants, and my colleagues for their guidance and support.

For more information on upcoming WESP workshops and programs, please visit or call 416-486-2500 ext 8307.


Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) joins the Episodic Disabilities Network (EDN)

Toronto, March 6th, 2013 - The Episodic Disabilities Network is pleased to welcome its newest member organization, the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW). CCRW became an official member of the EDN on February 27th, 2013.

The CCRW has a long and rich history of supporting persons with disabilities, employers and community agencies in advancing employment and will certainly bring that experience and knowledge to the table at the level of the EDN.

“As a strong believer in partnerships, the CCRW is honored to join the Episodic Disability Network and the Episodic Disability Forum, “ said CCRW President and Chief Executive Officer Maureen Haan. “CCRW provides leadership in programs and services for job seekers with disabilities and businesses committed to equity and inclusion in order to ensure the promotion and support of meaningful and equitable employment of persons with disabilities. As innovators and agents of change, we build partnerships, develop skills, share knowledge and influence attitudes.”

Ms. Haan further went on to say that “ … with the changing landscape of both the priorities of the Canadian Government and the increase in reported episodic disabilities, it is crucial now, more than ever before, to work in solidarity to ensure people with disabilities are recognized with barrier free services and employment.”

“We are excited to join our partners to work with stakeholders to ensure Canada’s federal policies, programs and legislations create pathways and remove barriers to ensure employment of persons with disabilities is understood as a benefit not only for the person with a disability but also for Canadian society”, continued Ms. Haan.

Again, we say welcome aboard CCRW!

About the Episodic Disabilities Network The Episodic Disabilities Network (EDN), formed in 2003, brings together a range of key stakeholders from across Canada who have a shared interest in episodic disabilities, with a collective mandate to advance federal policy, programs, legislation and regulations as required, allowing Canadians living with an episodic disability to engage fully in the workplace and to remove barriers to income support programs created by the episodic disability.

Contact for more information:
Ms. Tammy C. Yates
Coordinator, Episodic Disabilities Initiatives Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR)
416-513-0440 ext. 240;

Members of the EDN:
Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR)
DisAbled Women's Network Canada (DAWN)
Mood Disorders Society of Canada
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada (MS
The Arthritis Society
Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW)

Credit Canada Debt Solutions Visits WESP

RichardShawcroppedOn Wednesday February 13, 2013, the WESP program was pleased to welcome Richard Haggins, Senior Education Facilitator with Credit Canada Debt Solutions to our first Career Development Session of 2013.

Credit Canada Debt Solutions has been serving Canadians since 1966. As a Canadian charity, Credit Canada offers free and confidential credit counselling. Credit Canada Debt Solutions is an accredited charter member of the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services (CACCS).

Richard’s seminar focused on the cost of payday loans, understanding your credit score, and the 10 basic rules of money management. WESP clients greatly appreciated Richard’s tips for effectively managing daily finances - thanks Richard for a terrific presentation.

For more information on Credit Canada Debt Solutions, please visit their website at or call 1-800-572-7448.

For more information on upcoming WESP programs and workshops please visit or call 416-486-2500 ext 8307.

Workforce One-Stop 2013

The Future Workforce... Are You Ready?

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.

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:

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, or 1-800-664-0925 x 224 or visit our website at

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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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