With startup funding from
local industry partners Suncor, Esso, Shell, Nova Chemicals, and
Arlanxeo, these partners successfully launched programs that deliver
developmental services including speech therapy, physiotherapy, and
occupational therapy, to kids and their families in their communities.
innovative partnerships between Pathways Health Centre for Children and
the First Nations communities have led to the development of
community-driven models that are increasing access to services, ensuring
children and families receive service in appropriate settings, in their
own language, and delivered with and by Indigenous therapists.
impacts are already reported for this initiative, which offers
tremendous potential to improve developmental outcomes for children in
First Nations communities in the future.
Empowered Kids Ontario
is pleased to recognize the deserving partners whose dedication to
children and youth is at the heart of these innovative and impactful
2018 Tribute Award – Advocacy
many Ontarians, finding a job can be difficult. Job candidates with a
disability often find they have to compete, and also educate employers
about accommodations they may need. Kevin McShan has fought that fight
himself. Now he’s doing the same for others.
A natural leader, Kevin is devoting his career to promoting equality and
building awareness of the untapped market of skilled individuals with
disabilities. After graduating from St. Clair College where he studied
Journalism, Kevin became involved in several local campaigns, created
his own media consulting business, and produced the 2Man Advantage
sports podcast. He served as a program development facilitator at
WEareABLE, a Windsor-Essex initiative aimed at educating local business
and hiring managers about the benefits of hiring individuals with
Earlier this year, Kevin was appointed by the province and by the
Ontario Chamber of Commerce to be Ambassador for Access Talent:
Ontario’s Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities in the
Windsor-Essex region, rolling out the province’s access talent strategy
and the online DiscoverAbility network, a hub for employers seeking
qualified job candidates. In the role of what CBC calls “talent
ambassador,” Kevin educates employers about hiring people with
disabilities, and is having great success matching individuals with
employers. Kevin explains that these initiatives aim to place candidates
with disabilities in 56,000 jobs, reducing the unemployment rate for
those with disabilities by 30 per cent in companies that have 20 or more
employees. His goal is to break down barriers to employment for the
nine per cent, or one in seven, with a disability, ensuring their
financial, personal and social independence, and the opportunity to make
2018 Tribute Award – Advocacy
Dear Everybody Campaign, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
the second year of a five-year campaign, Dear Everybody features young
advocates taking a stand, letting the world know they are not defined by
HBKR CEO Julia Hanigsberg describes the
campaign as a national movement, started by the hospital in partnership
with kids and youth, to raise awareness of disability stigma and
designed to change perceptions, and more importantly get people to take
action to create a more equitable society.
In Canada today there
are more than 400,000 children and youth up to age 24 living with a
disability. The Canadian Human Rights Commission notes disability is
the most cited reason for discrimination in the country—at 59 per cent.
HBKR research demonstrates this reality: 53 per cent of kids with
special needs have zero or one close friend, and they are two to three
times more likely to be bullied than kids without a disability. Only 49
per cent of people age 25 to 63 with disabilities are employed,
compared to 76 per cent of those without disabilities.
Everybody gives young people a platform to raise awareness about the
stigma and barriers they face every day. The campaign reaches people
through displays, advertising, news stories and social media and focuses
on issues including employment, bullying, friendship, education and
Common misperceptions including underestimating kids
with special needs when it comes to their ability to learn, and study.
The campaign demonstrates how kids and youth with special needs are like
While just in year two, the campaign has already been elevating conversation about disability stigma.