June 2000 Office Report
Recent Meetings and Consultations: Board and Staff
NEADS board members and staff have been extremely active over the last few weeks attending meetings and completing project commitments. Meetings by conference call have taken place with board members to approve our plan of action for 2000/2001, to begin to organize our next national conference (November 10-12, Delta Ottawa Hotel and Suites) and to finalize the description of our new Faculty Awareness and Training project. Chris Rebus, Vice-President External/Alberta Rep., participated in the winter meeting of the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on Benefits and Services for Persons With Disabilities in Vancouver. Joby Fleming, President, attended an initial meeting of this working group last September. The Vancouver meeting was a good opportunity for the disability community to have further input in achieving the vision of the federal/provincial "In Unison" document. In this vein, Jane Stewart, Minister of Human Resources Development, has recently asked NEADS and other national disability organizations to continue to work with the federal government of Canada on its national disability agenda.
Susan Vida, Quebec Representative has attended meetings with the Quebec Association of Post-Secondary Disabled Students (AQEIPS). Frank Smith travelled to Montreal to attend the April 15th Annual General Assembly of AQEIPS. Christine Brawley represented NEADS at a meeting for access awareness week in Fredericton in March hosted by the New Brunswick Premier's Council on the Status of Disabled Persons.
Susan and Jennison Asuncion, Vice-President Internal, were in Toronto to make a presentation at the "Wellsizing the Workplace" conference and trade show during the second week of April. Ayshe Calisal, British Columbia Rep., represented NEADS at the beginning of the month at the HRDC National Advisory Group on Student Financial Assistance meeting in Hull. The Association has assisted the Youth Initiatives Directorate of HRDC with Youth Discussion Groups that it has been holding across Canada. AQEIPS was contacted to organize two of these forums in Montreal in February, while MaryAnne Duchesne, NEADS' Territories Representative, coordinated a youth discussion group in Yellowknife on April 5th.
MaryAnne has also been extremely active in the NWT, working with the NWT Council of Persons With Disabilities to encourage the territorial government to make improvements to its student financial assistance program and the way it operates the Opportunities Fund.
Joby has been attending a number of meetings in St. John's advising the provincial government on disability issues. It should be noted that within the last few weeks, he was elected President of M.U.N. DISC (Memorial University of Newfoundland's Disability Information Support Centre). A year end activity report from MUN DISC has just been posted to the NEADS web site in "CampusNet."
Frank and Jennison attended a CADSPPE meeting in Montreal in February, and met with Joan Wolforth and Ruth North of the association's executive to discuss collaborative efforts between the two organizations in coming year. We spent a lot of time discussing the National Approach to Services Report and the CADSPPE paper on service provision. A result of these discussions, is a workshop that is scheduled for the conference of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services discussing further joint research between NEADS and CADSPPE.
Susan will be attending the next meeting of the Council of Canadians With Disabilities in Winnipeg in mid-June.
I'm certain that I've missed meetings that board members have attended, and trust that you will inform the board of your activities during the June meeting.
Projects, Reports and Web Site Update
The Association has just launched the on-line version of the National Directory of Financial Assistance Programs For Post-Secondary Students With Disabilities (NEADS, January 2000). This directory is a comprehensive guide to funding for college and university study and describes programs that are available across Canada. Topics covered in different sections of the directory include: the Canada Student Loans Program (and Canada Study Grants for Students With Permanent Disabilities), Employability Assistance for Persons With Disabilities, Millennium Scholarship Program, provincial student assistance programs; national and regional scholarships, awards and bursaries; and campus-based funding.
The directory provides detailed contact information on financial aid programs, with mailing addresses, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail addresses featured in the publication. The online version has links to many relevant government and NGO web sites. To explore the financial aid directory visit our web site -- www.neads.ca -- and select the NEADS Online Resource Centre (NORC) from the home page. NORC is also home to "Edlink", which offers access to the disability service centres at over 100 colleges, universities and cégeps across Canada. The National Directory of Financial Assistance Programs For Post-Secondary Students With Disabilities was made possible thanks to grant funding from the Social Development Partnerships Program, Human Resources Development Canada. Print and alternative format versions can be requested from the office. It is our intention to promote this directory to students across Canada and to ensure that the on-line version is updated in the months ahead.
The directory was written and compiled by Steven Estey and Laurie Alphonse. Neil Faba, who worked in the office last summer, assisted with the research and edited the directory's text. The project could not have been completed without the assistance of our project advisory group: Joby Fleming, Holly Bartlett, Ayshe Calisal, Kent Hehr, Chris Rebus and Susan Vida.
Our web site has become a tremendous source of information for visitors and its content and look have really improved over the last few months. Thanks should go to our "Web Team" of Jennison, Chris Gaulin, Myrtis Fossey and Victor Marques for their hard work and dedication. The team has developed extremely valuable resources for visitors to our site, in particular the NEADS Online Resource Centre (NORC). Most recently, our web site has become a great promotional vehicle for the national conference. Currently the "Conference Overview" and "Call for Speakers" are available on www.neads.ca and an online version of the conference registration form will be posted in the very near future. At the time of the writing of this report there had been over 7,500 visitors to our site. We should all be proud that our site is "Bobby Approved."
Due to high demand for the report, the study Working Towards A Coordinated National Approach to Services, Accommodations and Policies For Post-Secondary Students With Disabilities (July, 1999) has now gone into a second printing. This important national study will drive the agenda of the Association for some time to come, as it presents significant recommendations for national standards and "best practices" in the delivery of services and accommodations.