NEADS Membership Report 2010-2012

Letter from the Board

Dear reader:

This membership report presents in brief the projects, activities and work of the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) for the 2011-2012 Board term.

This report includes a number of sections of interest: An overview of our core program areas; highlights of the current and ongoing projects of the organization, including the NEADS Student Awards Program, the Strategies to Employment events, our financial aid portal, the Career Centres project, and the Enhancing Accessibility Guide for Campus Disability Service Providers. This report also highlights important new initiatives including the formation of the National Graduate Experience Taskforce. Board members have each submitted brief reports on their work on behalf of the Board and the Association during their terms. The audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012, as prepared by McCay, Duff and Company LLP, are included at the end of the report.

We have accomplished a great deal in two short years. The BMO Capital Markets-supported Job Search Strategies Forums project ended with two events in Toronto (March, 2011) and Vancouver (February 2011). We continued these important transition to employment events with our new “Strategies to Employment” workshops, starting with an Enbridge-funded event in Edmonton in March, 2012 and then – with the signing of contribution agreements with Service Canada in British Columbia and Nova Scotia – similarly focused initiatives in those provinces. The launching of the Enhancing Accessibility Guide for Campus Disability Service Providers and significant enhancements to our comprehensive financial aid portal ( ensured that NEADS continued to address fundamental access issues and concerns of students during their college and university education.

We would like to gratefully acknowledge the funding and partnerships from the Social Development Partnerships Program of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and the Youth Awareness Program of HRSDC, along with our corporate partners: Enbridge, TD Canada Trust, BMO Capital Markets, Scotiabank and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

These past two years have been an exciting time for NEADS. The success of the organization would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the current board and also past board members. Their foresight, vision, networking and tireless hard work have yielded many dividends for the organization.

We continue to broaden our funder base and develop our partnerships in new and innovative ways. In the coming years we will work on our existing projects while we explore further opportunities to create new projects The board and Staff have embraced a collective vision for the association, going into the future, and have worked diligently towards bringing the organization in this new direction. We look forward to a continued partnership with you, the members of the organization, the funders and community partners in all sectors, over the next two years and beyond. Our thanks to the 2010-2012 board, as well as the staff and project consultants:

  • Mr. Frank Smith, National Coordinator
  • Ms. Jennifer Dillon, Project Manager
  • Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai, Senior Advisor, Governance and Leadership Development
  • Mr. Chris Gaulin, Website Architect/IT Manager
  • Mr. Jennison Asuncion, Senior Advisor
  • Ms. Jessica Dunkley, Project Assistant
  • Mr. Andrew Taylor, Project Assistant
  • Ms. Erica Carson, Summer Student

On behalf of the 2010-2012 NEADS board and staff, thank you for your support.


Ian Murley, NEADS President
October 25, 2012


The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) is a registered charitable organization that was established in 1986, with a mandate to support the full access to and participation in post-secondary education and the workforce for post-secondary students and graduates with disabilities in Canada. We fulfill our mandate by conducting research, as well as providing resources and public education. NEADS advocates for increased accessibility at all levels of higher education so that students with disabilities may have equal access to colleges or universities and fields of study of their choice. The Association also supports the successful transition of students and graduates with disabilities into the employment market. Within this mandate, the organization works collaboratively with postsecondary stakeholders, other non-governmental organizations, employers, disability service providers and communities that can improve opportunities in higher education and the workforce for persons with disabilities in Canada. NEADS is governed by a national cross-disability board of directors.

The Association receives yearly funding from the Social Development Partnerships Program of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) in the form of grants and contributions for projects and operations. We frequently partner with private sector companies, foundations and post-secondary institutions, in order to support our mandate, goals and programs. Contributors to the organization’s work over the last five years include BMO Capital Markets, BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank, TD Bank, the Imperial Oil Foundation, Enbridge, The Winnipeg Foundation, Manitoba Hydro, and Industrial Alliance Insurance.

The Association’s primary activities include: maintaining a comprehensive, unique Web site and financial aid portal www.; developing skill training resources relevant to students with disabilities in post-secondary education and employment; conducting relevant research on access to post-secondary education and employment opportunities; and, holding regular regional events across Canada to provide resources and skill development to students with disabilities. Our main website has over 85,000 unique visitors each year and an average of over 2,750,000 page downloads. The website houses numerous online resources and publications that are unique to NEADS and were developed by the organization.

Our financial aid portal,, includes comprehensive information on national, provincial and territorial government funding programs, along with around 350 disability specific, bursaries, scholarships and awards offered through colleges and universities, private sector funders and non governmental organizations. The database is fully searchable and accessible. The website has had 51,469 unique visitors and 814,258 page downloads in just two short years of operation.

The Association provides information and referrals to hundreds of post-secondary students with disabilities through its national office. It also responds to requests for information and advice from: employers, provincial and federal government departments, service providers and faculty members/teachers on college and university campuses, the offices of federal members of parliament and provincial and territorial members of parliament/legislature, and other nonprofit organizations.