Welcome to Citizens with Disabilities - Ontario (CWDO)

Citizens With Disabilities - Ontario (CWDO) actively promotes the rights, freedoms and responsibilities of persons with disabilities through community development, social action, and member support and referral.  Our primary activity is public education and awareness about the social and physical barriers that prevent the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in Ontario.

CWDO is proud to be a full member of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.


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CRTC announces that Canadians who are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired will have access to a new telecommunications service

April 22, 2014 – Ottawa – Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)


The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that video relay service will be made available in Canada for users of American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ). When it launches, the service will facilitate conversations between people who are Deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired and other Canadians, and vice versa.


Video relay service is a telecommunications service that will enable Canadians to conduct telephone calls using ASL or LSQ. An operator facilitates the conversation between the two parties by relaying the conversation between sign language and spoken language.


Although video relay service will be offered at no charge, users will need their own high-speed Internet service and an Internet-connected device, such as a computer, smartphone, tablet or videophone. Additional services, such as voice mail and call display, will be billed at rates similar to those charged for corresponding voice services.


Funding to support video relay service in Canada will be drawn from the National Contribution Fund, and will be capped at $30 million annually. This fund was created in 2001 to subsidize local telephone service in areas where the cost of providing this service is higher. Companies with over $10 million in annual telecommunications revenues contribute to this fund.


To ensure the perspectives of users are reflected in the decision-making process, an independent administrator will be created to oversee the implementation and provision of video relay service. The CRTC has established minimum requirements for the provision of this service to ensure that the needs of Canadian citizens are met. The administrator will have to ensure that these requirements are met.


The CRTC is seeking proposals on the administrator’s structure and precise mandate, including the composition of the Board of Directors. Proposals must be submitted by May 22, 2014. The CRTC is also inviting comments on these proposals and other relevant issues until June 25, 2014.


The CRTC will conduct a review of video relay service three years after it has launched to assess whether it is meeting the needs of Canadians in an efficient manner.


Today’s decision follows a consultation that included a public hearing, which was held from October 21 to 25, 2013. To ensure the full participation of Canadians who are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, the CRTC interpreted the Notice of Consultation into ASL and LSQ, and accepted comments in sign language. It also offered simultaneous translation in English and French and interpretation in ASL and LSQ at the hearing.


Quick facts

  • The CRTC is requiring that video relay service be made available to Canadians who are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, starting as early as in the fall of 2015.
  • Video relay service is a telecommunications service that will enable Canadians who are hard of hearing or speech impaired that use American Sign Language or Langue des signes québécoise to communicate with voice telephone users, and vice versa.
  • Users must sign up for video relay service, which will be offered at no charge. However, users will need their own high-speed Internet service and an Internet-connected device, such as a computer, smartphone, tablet or videophone. Users will also be responsible for additional services, such as voice mail and call display, and long-distance charges.
  • Canadians who wish to call a user of video relay service simply have to dial their number and make a regular voice call.
  • An independent administrator will be created to oversee the implementation of video relay service, and funding to support this service will be capped at $30 million per year.
  • Canadians with hearing or speech disabilities currently have access to two text-based services: Internet Protocol relay and teletypewriter relay. The CRTC may review these services at a later date.
  • It is estimated that there will be approximately 20,000 primary users of video relay service.



“Many Canadians who are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired learn American Sign Language or Langue des signes québécoise early in life. In many cases, neither English nor French is their first language. Video relay service will make it possible for them to communicate in sign language with ease, whether it’s to make a doctor’s appointment, speak to a friend or make any other type of call. At the same time, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that this service is introduced in an efficient manner and as quickly as possible.”


Peter Menzies, Vice-Chairman of Telecommunications, and Chairman of the hearing panel


Source -

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Letter from the Minister of Community and Social Services

April 3, 2014 


To the Members of the General Advisory Council on Social Assistance Reform: 


Dear Council Members: 


Our government is committed to making Ontario’s social assistance programs work better for clients who depend on them. 


Our government’s 2013 Budget took initial reform steps by investing more than $400 million over the next three years. Our plan for further reform is guided by the advice our government received from the Lankin-Sheikh and Drummond reports, and also by the conversations we’re having with clients, staff, advocates, academics, and municipal and First Nations partners. 


Our multi-year reform plan has four objectives, building on the approach we began last year: 

  • We want to motivate and support people to be successful in the workforce. 

  • We want to provide adequate assistance. 

  • We want to deliver modern, responsive services. 

  • And we want to ensure public confidence in the system. 


I have heard from many people who are concerned about the possibility of Ontario Works and ODSP being merged into one program. In some cases, they’re responding to irresponsible rumours that our plan is focussed on cuts – bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator and forcing everybody to look for work, regardless of their disability. 


I hope you’ll help me put an end to these unfounded rumours, which are causing needless anxiety for vulnerable people. That’s not our plan. It never was. It never will be. We are focussed on moving toward adequacy for all, and removing obstacles for those who want and are able to work. 


I can tell you clearly that having looked at the idea of a merger of these two programs, our government will not be going forward with that recommendation. 


What we will do instead is focus on making both programs work better at supporting people and helping them find jobs. We’ll work with social assistance clients, our staff, our municipal partners, employers and others about ways to provide a seamless and effective service experience. 


Social assistance affects almost 900,000 people every day. Reform will take time and our government will build on our progress in a thoughtful and careful way. 


I thank you for your continued support with our reform efforts. 


Kindest regards, 


Ted McMeekin 


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Rose Centre Announcement

The Rose Centre is a charitable organization that focuses on positive representations of love, sex and disability. We recognize the multiple barriers to participation in love sex and relationships for disabled people and the lack of positive discussion around disability and sexuality. We also believe that sex and relationships can be fun and enjoyable for anyone.  The organization provides programming and events which support this mission and that are open and welcoming to everyone.
As part of our exciting vision, we are actively recruiting for new Board Members. We are looking for passionate and energetic people looking for a truly innovative volunteer position.  Our only requirement is a desire to make change and have fun while doing it. We strongly encourage anyone from any background, with or without a disability, to apply. To apply, please e-mail a short application letter (outlining your skills, experience and your ideas for the role) by Friday, May 16. For more details and information, please visit the "Board of Directors" page of our website at 
We are hoping that you will help us in our recruitment drive by sharing this information with your contacts, connections and community. We know that, with your help, we can find the right people for The Rose Centre. 
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Register for our Town Hall on the AODA - Tuesday March 25 at 7:30 pm EDT

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was last reviewed in 2010.


Since then, a new regulation has been added creating standards for information and communications; transportation; employment; the built environment, purchasing and kiosks (including point-of-sale devices).


Now the AODA is being reviewed again and CWDO is preparing its own response.


We want to hear from you! Please come to CWDO's online consultation for our members on Tuesday, March 25 at 7:30 pm EDT.


Please register today.


Don't forget to respond to our survey on the AODA.



Support The All Hands On Braille Camp - July 28th to August 1st, 2014

The All Hands on Braille Program introduces blind and low vision children to the beauty of braille through a one-week summer curriculum that is fun, creative and comprehensive. CWDO is working with Braille Literacy Canada, Citizens with Disabilities Ontario, The Alliance For The Equality Of Blind Canadians and CNIB to deliver this exciting new program. We need your help to get the word out, please share this information across your social networks. If you can donate, please consider doing so, even small donations like $5 or $10 help. 

 Kids will have a unique opportunity...Kids will have a unique opportunity to:

  • Be immersed in braille for a week
  • Be paired up with a mentor who also is blind
  • Recieve 1-on-1 intense braille instruction
  • Be introduced to peers with the same needs as they have
  • Have a year long interraction with their mentors in braille and related topics


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Walk N Roll 2013

The National Capital Sports Council of the Disabled (NCSCD) will be organizing a two week long National Capital Para Festival from Saturday September 28 to Saturday October 12 2013 at Ottawa locations still to be confirmed.


This festival will bring together Para sport clubs from within the National Capital region. Our goal is to bring a much deeper understanding and awareness of local Para related sports. Not only will we introduce Para sport clubs to the public but we will showcase these sports through actual games and practices.


The two week festival begins with ‘Walk and Wheel for Para Sports’ – an event involving sponsored individuals and teams who walk and wheel along a designated route through the Carleton University campus.


Funds raised from this event will be used to support NCSCD events and Para sport clubs in the region. The route leads into the exposition area where a range of exciting displays and exhibits will present the different Para sports and their clubs. Following this introductory day Para sport games and practices will be held throughout Ottawa.


More information

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OPWHL Wheelchair Hockey Athletes Gala

The OPWHL is hosting the first Awards Banquet & Gala to honour wheelchair hockey athletes in the Nation's Capital. The "Eric Jamieson Memorial Cup" will be presented to the championship team in addition to various individual player awards. There will be a silent auction and live entertainment.

Where: San Sala Marco, 215 Preston St.

When: June 23, 2013 - 5:30 pm

Attire: Semi-Formal

Please visit the OPWHL website at for additional details or call 613-225-9204.

Meet the CWDO Board of Directors

Members of CWDO voted in new board members, and confirmed others, at the AGM held on June 11th.  Please go to our Board Member Bios page to learn more about the interests and backgrounds of our 20 board members.




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NEW! Members Speak Out

Read and comment on our members' blogs:

  • Mobility Plus Left Me Minus Mobility - member Fiona Watson's blog documenting her struggle to be accommodated on specialized transit.
  • "We asked CWDO's President, Terry Green, to write a blog.  "Keep it brief" we said.  Being a lawyer, he wrote a brief instead.  So we worked with him a bit. (Everyone is trainable.)   Find out what's on Terry's mindthis week."
  • Jeffrey Stark's Blog "Jeffrey's Soapbox" covers topics of technology, accessibility, adaptive technology and disability.



CWDO welcomes blogs from members.  Contact us if you are interested in writing one.

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Worth Knowing...

  • CWDO became recognized as Ontario's representative on the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) in June, 2009.  We're honoured and proud to represent our members at this national table.
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