Within Reach: Winter 2015

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Good day,
It is with mixed feelings that I write this note, my last as Executive Director of our wonderful NGO, Reach Canada. While Reach will celebrate its 35th year in 2016, I have had the privileged of being the ED for the past 30 of these years. I am so pleased that with excellent succession planning, I leave that title to our present Coordinator, Joanne Silkauskas. Many of you have met her or worked with her already. Joanne is a social worker, lawyer, mediator; she is fully bilingual and passionate about disability and human rights, all positive assets for the future of our organization. 
The past months have been full of interesting education programs, ably led by our terrific Lucille Marleau, along with our special events to keep the services afloat.  Under the leadership of Stacey Santaguida and her tremendous committee, the recent Reach Celebrity Auction was a success a great time was had by all.  Photos of the event are on-line and a few, sprinkled here in our newsletter. In fact, we have remaining art and jewellery available to purchase on-line at 
35th Reach Annual Celebrity Auction Collage
While  we are working on our annual and exciting  Run for Reach which will take place on Sunday, April 17th,  an active group of folks have started to work on our 35th Anniversary Celebration which will take place on June 8th at St. Elias Centre.  We are ecstatic and honoured that our keynote speaker will be Madame Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, Supreme Court of Canada and longtime friend of Reach.
Tickets and tables for this event  can be purchased on-line at or by phoning us at 613.236.6636.  I am personally thrilled that the Board has chosen this time to recognize my three decades with our beloved NGO and hope to see so many of you at this event . How incredible that a hero of mine will be the keynote speaker that evening! We, at Reach, are all truly grateful to Madame Justice Abella for her participation and that of our Honourary Chairperson, The Honourable John D. Richard, whose active support these past years has meant a great deal to all of us at Reach.
We have worked and played together over the years and it is through your support, both as volunteers and as donors, that we have managed to continue as a totally self-funded, charitable NGO.
Finally, ‘tis the season and this particular year end provides an opportunity to personally  thank Renette Sasouni, President, and our dedicated Board of Directors, committee members, other agencies,  program and event attendees,  volunteers including law students and the lawyers who serve our clients so well.  I also wish to thank friend and colleague, Meaza Negassi, our Financial Administrator, who has dedicated herself to Reach for over two decades to ensure the success of our programs and services.  My job was made easier and more fun by her presence along with so many others who have worked and volunteered in our office, both past and present.
I welcome Joanne to her new position and know that she will continue our tradition of ensuring access to justice for people with disabilities and great support to our committee members, clients and colleagues in other agencies and consumer organizations. Joanne, along with our board members, will bring interesting, new programs and ideas to Reach.

Lastly, we have recently been honoured as recipients of the prestigious Advocacy Award at the Celebration of People Awards Dinner this past December 3rd, International Day of Persons with Disabilities. What a magnificent way to start our 35th year!   
Paula Agulnik and Joanne Silkauskas and the podium, Celebration of People 2015Paula Agulnik, Joanne Silkauskas and Timothy Andrade, on stage at the Celebration of People Renette Sasouni, JC Sulzenko, Erin McNamara and Paula Agulnik at the Celebration of People 2015
I have been blessed by knowing so many of you and wish you a happy, healthy holiday & new year. I look forward to seeing you at all things Reach!
Warm regards and thank you for supporting our significant NGO. May we all continue to do so in the many years to come. 
Warm regards,
Upcoming Seminars!
The Diversity of Post - Traumatic Stress Disorder:
Broadening the Conversation
What are the issues around PTSD and why is dealing with PTSD so important for the health and well-being of families, employers and our communities? This seminar is valuable to persons with disabilities, family members, employers and service/health providers.
When:            Wednesday January 13th, 2016 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Location:      Reach Canada, 400 Coventry Road, 3rd floor, Ottawa,

   Michel Drapeau: Lawyer, Michel Drapeau Law Office
and Professor, Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa
                       Fiona Gilligan, MSW, RSW : Trauma Specialist; Clinical
                       Director, Ottawa Anxiety and Trauma Clinic

To register on-line, please click  HERE
To download a registration form, please click HERE

Articles and Reflections

Rethinking Vulnerability: Abuse of Disabled Persons by Spouses and Intimate Partners
Liam Faught, JD Candidate University of Toronto

Harper Lee’s timeless To Kill a Mockingbird tells the story of Atticus Finch, a virtuous lawyer who defends Tom Robinson, an innocent black man, against the iniquities of racism in the American South.  Ultimately, it is a story about violence, both physical and emotional, directed toward a vulnerable individual. Indeed, in fiction as in real life, crimes that target the most vulnerable members of our society are particularly tragic and all too common.

Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of disabled persons, particularly by spouses and caregivers, has received increased academic and legal attention in recent years. Researchers and activists are now beginning to demonstrate that disability is in no way a “protective factor” against abuse. Quite the opposite, in fact: The emerging model of violence against disabled persons asserts that disability is an additional “vulnerability factor” for abuse, because abuse is rooted in the need for perpetrators to exert power and control over their victims.
In Canada, the rates of physical and sexual assault, at all age groups, are higher for disabled persons than for persons without a disability. Sadly, many of these cases go unreported and unprosecuted. A 2009 study by the Canadian Center for Justice Statistics found that only 30% of cases of domestic violence against disabled women were reported, while 49% of cases against disabled men.
[2] Clearly, there is a gender imbalance at play here as well.
Spousal abuse, particularly of disabled persons, frequently takes place behind closed doors, in seemingly innocuous circumstances, between only two people – the victim and the perpetrator. The intimacy and sheer frequency of contact between disabled persons and their spouses/caregivers magnifies the damage done when these relationships become abusive. In fact, persons with activity limitations were 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer the most severe forms of spousal abuse, such as sexual assault and threats with a weapon, compared to able-bodied persons.
[3] Relationships between disabled persons and intimate partners (spouses, personal care workers, etc.) therefore require increased attention from psychologists, educators, law enforcement, and the legal community. As many researchers have suggested, third-party intervention must be at the center of spousal/intimate partner abuse prevention.[4]

Unfortunately, Canadian courts have a checkered history of dealing with crimes committed against disabled persons. For instance, intellectually disabled witnesses were required to be able to explain the meaning of abstract concepts such as “consent” and “promise” in order for their testimony to be accepted. This practice prevented intellectually disabled persons from recounting their factual experiences and likely resulted in numerous crimes going unpunished.

However, the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R. v D.A.I.[5] rejected this practice in favour of the more equitable requirement that a witness simply be able to communicate true evidence and promise to tell the truth (the minimum threshold for any other witness in a Canadian court). This decision helped to reaffirm the importance of access to justice for disabled persons and remove the stigma associated with intellectual disabilities.
At this juncture, the legal community has a clear obligation to improve access to justice for disabled persons who are abused. Researchers, law enforcement, and legal professionals must find innovative ways of uncovering and prosecuting cases of abuse, and fight for the rights of disabled persons to be heard in court.

[1] Margaret A. Nosek et al., “Vulnerabilities for Abuse Among Women with Disabilities” Sexuality and Disability 19:3 (Fall 2001), p. 186.
[2] Samuel Perreault, “Criminal Victimization and Health: A Profile of Victimization Among Persons with Activity Limitations or Other Health Problems” Statistics Canada (2009), p. 10.
[3] Perreault, p. 6.
[4] Susan M. Wilczynski et al., “Assessment, Prevention, and Intervention for Abuse Among Individuals with Disabilities” Psychology in the Schools 52:1 (2015).
[5] Ontario Women’s Justice Network, “Case Comment: R. v D.A.I., Supreme Court Protects Rights of Intellectually Disabled” (March 2012).
Appealing an ODSP Decision
Pamela Gleeson, Paralegal Student

The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is designed to assist Ontario residents with disabilities to make ends meet. The program can help with daily essential living expenses, provide benefits to cover things like dental and health care costs, and help with finding and keeping employment.
When you apply for ODSP support there are two streams of support you can access: Income support and Employment support. In the income support stream Part 1 of the application process will assess your financial situation by gathering your financial information through forms and interviews. A decision will be made within 15 business days after you have completed the forms and met with a caseworker. Your decision will either classify you as "eligible" or "ineligible" to receive financial assistance. 
If you are eligible you will receive the information you need to proceed to Part 2 of the application process. Part 2 of the income support application process determines whether you qualify as a person with a disability. The definition of a "person with a disability" is found in the Ontario Disability Support Act: you have a physical or mental impairment that is continuous or recurring, for a year or more; your abilities to care for yourself are impacted by this impairment; and your impairment and restrictions have been verified by a physician. After submitting a series of forms called the "Disability Determination Package" you will receive a decision on whether you qualify as a person with a disability or not under this program.
Employment support is basically personally tailored caseworker support to help you in whatever way needed to find and keep gainful employment. In order to access the Employment Support stream of funding from ODSP, you need to fill out the Employment support Application form and submit a package to verify your disability if you haven't already done so under the income support application process. After you submit your application you will receive a decision about whether you qualify for Employment support.
If you are not satisfied with any of the decisions made throughout the process described above, your first step is to request an "Internal Review" of the decision by sending a letter to the appropriate department within ODSP. An Internal Review will examine the decision and make sure that the Ontario Disability Support Program Rules were properly applied to your situation. You have 30 days from the time you receive your decision to ask for an Internal Review.
If you are not satisfied with the results of the Internal Review, or if you have not received a decision from the Internal Review within 30 days of making your request, you can appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal to have your issue reviewed. You must request an appeal by completing an Appeal Form and submitting it to your local ODSP office or to the Social Benefits Tribunal within 30 days of receiving your decision from an Internal Review. Once you request an appeal the Tribunal will schedule a hearing where you (or your legal representative) will present the reasons for your appeal to the Tribunal.
Basically, there are three decisions that you might want to appeal:
  •  decision on whether you are eligible for financial assistance,
  •  decision on whether you qualify as a person with a disability under the ODSP Act,
  •  decision on whether you qualify for employment support.
If you are not satisfied with the decision you received from ODSP it is a good idea to review the Ontario Disability Support Program Rules, or have a legal professional help you, to determine if you have grounds to request a review or an appeal if necessary.
If you already receive ODSP you may also appeal a decision that has affected the amount of income support you receive (for example a change in your financial situation), or has stopped your income support altogether.
Reference: Ministry of Community and Social Services Website

AIDS Commitee of Ottawa: Celebrating Thirty Years
Daniel Veilleux, JD Candidate University of Ottawa

The AIDS Committee of Ottawa (“ACO”) is a non-profit organization that works to reduce the barriers that foster HIV infection, the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV, and enhance the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS.

ACO has been serving the Ottawa community for more than thirty years. It was founded in 1985 when AIDS was becoming more prevalent in local communities and misinformation was rampant. During this time of government inaction, homophobic and racist notions were informing the public discourse surrounding AIDS. It was within this context that the ACO was founded by Barry Deeprose, in order to be a community hub and service center for AIDS awareness.

What started as a small group in 1985, ACO has grown to include a broad community of volunteers, participants and staff members. ACO continues to be engaged in the Ottawa community as they celebrated their thirtieth anniversary on September 19, 2015. In order to commemorate this milestone event, a community-driven book, ACOXXX, was prepared to pay tribute to the HIV/AIDS movement over the last thirty years. ACOXXX contains ACO’s media and history, statistics and info graphics, poetry and artwork, as well as interviews with 38 featured individuals that reflect the diversity of HIV/AIDS. Video blogs of the 38 featured individuals can be found online, and donations can be made to ACO in exchange for a copy of ACOXXX (

And after 30 years, there are no signs that ACO is slowing down. Last year on World AIDS Day, ACO moved into a friendly new office located at 19 Main Street, Ottawa, ON K1S 1A9. The new space prominently features The Living Room, which creates a warm and safe entry-point for individuals seeking to engage one of ACO’s many educational, prevention, and support services. The services offered by ACO are numerous. For instance, ACO receives collections from the Ottawa Food Bank for their members every Thursday.

ACO’s current Executive Director, Khaled Salam, has been in his current position for four years and has served with ACO for the past thirteen years. Khaled will oversee the implementation of ACO’s 2016-2021 strategic plan that includes: 1) continuing to challenge stigma and discrimination in all forms; 2) continuing to provide high quality accessible programs and services to key populations; and 3) to ensure a strong and sustainable financial future.

In furtherance of their strategic plan, ACO will be commemorating World AIDS Day on December 1, 2015 at Ottawa City Hall with a Red Ribbon Flag Raising ceremony to raise HIV/AIDS awareness. The ceremony will be followed by a two-hour reception where local stakeholders, politicians, and media will come together to ensure that populations who are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS continue to receive the financial and community support needed to live dignified lives.

For more information, please visit

The Disability Network
Meaghan J. Patrick, JD Candidate University of Ottawa

I had the opportunity recently, to sit down in Toronto with Jay Stoyan, co-founder of non-profit The Disability Network (TDN) amid the broadcaster’s soon to be completed new space. 
A Toronto native, Jay grew up facing illness, spending half of his childhood in and out of hospitals. Doctors were baffled by the cause if his illness, which he describes as “like a fever on steroids”.  Jay was in fact suffering from a rare form of malaria , ‘Familial Mediterranean Fever’, that often lies dormant, but can emerge without warning. Mr. Stoyan’s illness is one that will stay with him throughout his life and which he felt that he had to keep to himself during his career as a television personality. The impetus for the founding of TDN was twofold for him. “I needed something more combined with the feeling of ‘I can’t tell these people [about my illness] or they will fire me”.
It was this combination of personal and professional experience that coalesced into the founding the Disability Network, whose mission is to, “Support, promote, educate, and employ, and to be an information hub for persons with disabilities across the GTA, Ontario, Canada, the U.S., and globally.” TDN was founded along with Mr. Avtaar Soor, whose background in finance compliments Jay’s ‘in front of the camera’ experience.
Mr. Jay Stoyan, co-founder of The Disability Network (TDN) Having secured CRTC broadcasting capacity, TDN stands ready to launch wide range of programming, along with community projects aimed at increasing visibility and showcasing abilities. Programs described by Mr. Stoyan include a Lonely Planet production showcasing travel for the disability community, outreach work wherein persons with disabilities travelling alone at night would be equipped with video cameras for safety.  TDN is also the media lead & Master of Ceremonies for 'Hopefest' Music Festival with both Shriners & Sick Kids Hospital, along a media supporter for the ‘Ride for Inclusion’ which features the Dean of Durham College criss-crossing North America to raise awareness about autism.
Mr. Stoyan articulated that the programming on TDN will not only focus directly on issues related to disability, but will feature people from the disability comunity in hosting as well as behind the scenes roles for programming on all subjects.
“Support has been overwhelming from people already part of or allied with the disability community”, noted Mr. Stoyan. For those not already well versed in the issues facing the community; the response has been one of support and keen interest. The need for programming in this area is clear, particularly when the numbers are taken into account. According to the statistics provided by Mr. Stoyan, there are over 1 billion people affected by disability worldwide, with 1 in 10 in Canada. That number jumps to 1 in 2 for the Canadian population over 65 years of age.
As a grassroots organization, TDN not only will serve as a broadcasting home for people with disabilities, but also as a community building hub which will provide the resources and information necessary for greater empowerment.
For more information, community resource inquiries, or to provide tangible support in helping to change the landscape for people with disabilities, Mr. Stoyan can be reached directly via email. TDN is also accessible via their website, Facebook, and Twitter & LinkedIn

Twitter: @DisabilityNetCa

CNIB’s Path to Change: The Right to Rehabilitation
Avesta Alani, University of Ottawa

    Many people are under the understanding that the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) is a government funded one.  However, in reality it is an organization that runs on charitable dollars.  This means that all its services that are being provided to the legally blind community are contingent to the amount of donations the organization can muster.  

Many find this a great injustice.  If someone loses the ability to walk, their rehabilitation to a wheelchair will be provided by provincial health care services; however, if someone loses the ability to see, their rehabilitation is subjugated to be left up to a charity.  Mahadeo Sukhai, a National Board Member of the CNIB and Canada’s first visually impaired cancer researcher, calls this a “60 year old injustice error, as it dates to the first establishment of universal health care in Canada.”  

The 2014 CNIB strategic plan, Path to Change, calls on all provincial governments in Canada to recognize rehabilitation for those who have permanently lost a significant level of sight to be a standard right that ought to be provided and funded by the government.  The CNIB provides other social services that will still rely on donations; however there is a strong belief that vision rehabilitation ought not to be one of their responsibilities.  

It does not matter to the organization whether the facilitators of the service be the health care system itself, or the CNIB, though they do claim to be the professionals of providing to the legally blind community, but rather that the service be a given right, and a responsibility of the governments.  

 “The strategic plan is not only a good plan, but a necessary one,” Mahadeo goes on to say; “people are keen to have the conversation, and dialogue has opened.”  When asked about how this will affect the role of CNIB and health care provincially for those with vision loss, and the system, he says “we understand that there might be some room for overlap, and that it can be difficult to understand the differing roles of CNIB and health care providers; however, it this is a long overdue principle that needs to be corrected and taken responsibility for by conversation with the provincial governments.”  

The CNIB Annual General Assembly was this November, 2015, where they regularly reviewed The Path to Change and its development in further detail, in particular the status of discussions with the provinces.  “It is not so much that the provinces are not willing to subsidize, it is more about the lack of knowledge and how outdated the system is that makes it complicated to implement these changes.  There is a lot of education that needs to happen, as there is lack of clarity and understanding about how vision rehabilitation is funded now in different provinces,” Mahadeo replied when asked what the obstacle was for having these subsidies come to pass.  He also explained that more development and changes will occur in some provinces compared to others, mainly due to finances.  

CNIB clients are for having their rights subsidized by their provincial governments, and it is a long overdue right.  Across Canada discussions are opening up between the CNIB board members and provincial representatives.  For now, all are standing by to await the changes that are expected to occur for the legally blind in Canada.

Pizza Anyone? A Telecommunications Relay Primer
Christy Smith-Worthylake, Lawyer

Think of the last time you ordered a pizza over the phone. You probably called the number, told the person what you wanted, asked for the cost, gave your address. Approximately 40 minutes later your pizza showed up. You had a good meal and that was that. Now try to imagine ordering your pizza if you are unable to hear the call taker on the other end of the line or if they are unable to understand you because you have an atypical speech pattern. You might want a Canadian pizza with garlic dipping sauce on the side, but end up getting a Hawaiian pizza with garlic bread on the side. Or maybe your pizza gets delivered to the wrong address because they didn’t understand the address you gave. Or perhaps the pizza place just hung up when they couldn’t understand you or they didn’t hear anyone speaking on the other end of the line. Relay service isn’t just to order pizza. It can be used to call your doctor’s office, to pay bills over the telephone, or to call a friend or relative to share the pizza you just ordered.

This is why having telecommunications relay service is so important for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who have speech impairments. Many people have heard of these services and have a general idea of their function but if you you’re like me, you’ve never had the experience of using a relay service or making a relay call. You are probably also unaware that there are different types of relay services that function to assist persons with different needs.

This post is intended to give people a primer in the different types of relay services that exist and how they are used. I will focus on the two types of relay service that are the least known to a Canadian audience, video relay service (VRS) and speech to speech (STS) relay. Let me state that I am a novice when it comes to discussing Deaf culture and many of the terms associated with it. I have really enjoyed taking the time to learn about the various options for relay service. Readers should keep in mind that discussions of Deaf culture are new to me and any mistakes I might make in terminology are unintentional. If you have any feedback to give me on the portions of this article which discuss Deaf culture please feel free to email me.

The purpose of relay services is to enable persons with hearing or speech disabilities use the telephone. When using a relay service the person making the call calls the relay number and is connected to an operator who interprets what is said for the other member of the conversation. When using traditional relay services the caller must type the text of their conversation into the telephone device for the deaf (T.D.D or T.T.Y) the operator then reads the text of the conversation to the person on the other end of the call. Traditional relay service can be used by persons who are deaf in cases where they wish to use type or in cases where they wish to use their own voice. If the caller wishes to use their own voice in making a call, the relay service operator will type only what is being said by the hearing party of the call.  A similar service currently exists for people who can hear but cannot speak. In these cases the party who is non-verbal can hear the voice of the other party to the call and the relay operator reads what the non-verbal party has typed.  You can see an example of how traditional relay works by viewing the video by the Australian National Relay Service .

This service works reasonably well however it does tend to make using the telephone difficult for many individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing whose preferred language is sign language as they will need to type in English or French. This is because for many of these individuals English or French is not their first language. Many individuals in the Canadian Deaf community prefer to communicate using American Sign Language (ASL) or Langue des signes Québécoise (LSQ).

VRS gives people in the Deaf community or who communicate using sign language the opportunity to use the telephone in their native language. VRS allows people who use sign language to sign their portion of a telephone conversation to an interpreter via video phone who relays what is being said to the hearing partner on the call. The interpreter also signs what is said by the hearing participant back to the sign language user. If you want to actually see how this works in practice feel free to look to look at this video. VRS is available in theUnited States, Australia,New Zealand and Sweden and some other European countries. There was a national trial of VRS in Canada in 2013. The service is slated to become permanent in Canada shortly. For more information on the progress of VRS in Canada see the CRTC website. The oversight body for Canadian VRS is made up of representatives of the Deaf Community, representatives of Telecomm service providers and representatives of interpreters’ organizations.

A third type of relay service is STS relay. STS is different from the other types of relay discussed above in that with STS both communication partners on the call can hear and speak. STS is used where one party to the call has difficulty being understood over the telephone. This frequently occurs where someone has a speech impairment or another type of communication disorder. Using the telephone can be frustrating for these individuals as persons who are unfamiliar with speech impairments may not understand what is being said and could hang up on the person with the impairment. STS was pioneered in 1997 in the California and is now available across the United States. It is also available to persons with speech impairments in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden. It is not available here in Canada though, as a person with a speech impairment I hope to see this fact change in the near future.

When STS is being used, there is a communication assistant who is specially trained in communication strategies to ease the understanding and assist with the flow of conversations. Users of STS can instruct the communication assistant to repeat everything they have said, or only to repeat when they have not been understood. Persons with speech impairments who use STS also have the option of have the communication assistant mute their voice on the calls so that the person on the other end only hears the portion of the call after it is spoken by the communication assistant.  Click here to see how STS Relay works in practice.

Lawyers and people in other professions are frequently in contact with members of the public. It is important to keep the existence of relay services in the back of your mind as the next call you receive from a potential client could be from a person using a relay services. When you get a relay call it is important to let the relay operator finish the introduction to the call. Do not hang up, the relay operator is not a telemarketer.

Now let’s try to order that pizza again, this time using relay service. You call the relay service number, give the operator the number of the pizza place you want to call. The operator places the call, gives the call taker your order, minus the garlic bread that you didn’t actually want, gives your address. 40 minutes later you are enjoying your Canadian pizza with garlic dipping sauce without giving the phone call a second thought.

*image courtesy of Texas Relay Service

Christy Smith-Worthylake is an Ottawa-based virtual research lawyer. She owns and operates CSW Legal Research which provides legal research services to law firms, and organizations. Her practice mainly focuses on labour and employment law, disability issues and anti-spam law. Ms. Smith-Worthylake has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and has served as a volunteer with many disability organizations including the Ontario March of Dimes

Stay in the Know:
Ottawa Community

Jack Purcell Community Centre’s Fitness and Social Programs
Sahar Rizvi, JD Common Law Program University of Ottawa

We recently had the pleasure of meeting the delightful staff at the Jack Purcell Community Centre. We learned about the vast array of exceptional programs offered by the City of Ottawa to persons with disabilities, in accordance with the Ontario Disabilities Act. The community based facility is located in downtown Ottawa, and offers a warm and welcoming environment to its members. Its recreation programs are reinforced by accessible facilities and equipment for the public to use and enjoy. There are various memberships available for youth, seniors, students and adults, tailored to specific types of programs, or simply for Drop-In classes. They take place at various times of the day to suit participant’s convenience. In addition, the staff are bilingual, and also speak Arabic. 

The Centre offers the following special needs programs at affordable rates: Rehab Walking Program, MS Exercise Program, and Social Fall Nights. There are subsidized rates offered as well, and some programs are offered for free. These include programs for new immigrants, swimming lessons for people with disabilities, total body workouts for individuals with visual impairments, special needs yoga and art classes. The main attraction at the Centre is the swimming pool, where fitness programs take place with a focus on a therapeutic approach. There are several wheelchairs available onsite, ceiling track lifts above the pool, and the temperate of the pool is a comfortable 92 degrees Fahrenheit. The Wellness program is particularly beneficial for individuals managing pain and arthritis, and these are offered everyday.

Three nights a week the “Frank Street Drop-in” offers a safe social experience for people with intellectual disabilities to gather, chat and play cards. Once a month the “Creative Café” invites people to meet and enjoy live music, poetry readings and presents a safe space to gather. Once a month there is a “Soup Day”, and for a Toonie attendees can enjoy homemade soup, snacks and meet new people.

You can visit the Jack Purcell website for further information at:, or call 613-564-1050 to learn more about specific programs. Or drop by the Centre personally and meet its welcome staff. The Centre is located at: 20 Jack Purcell Lane, Ottawa, ON, K2P 2J5.

Advanced Seminars

Reach would be pleased to organize speakers for Federal and Provincial Government offices through our Advanced Seminar Series Program. Please contact Joanne Silkauskas  at Reach Canada for more information on speaking at our seminars!  Topics include: Long Term Disability, Mental Health in the work place, Duty to Accommodate, Working with Insurance Companies among many others.

Find out More

Want to learn more about Reach? Have a topic you would to see covered in our next newsletter? We welcome comments, questions and concerns. Contact us today at 613.236.6636,, or e-mail us at 

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