Spotlight on Invisible Disabilities
This project has been funded by the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnerships Program - Disability component, the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) is spearheading the Spotlight on Invisible Disabilities Project to conduct consultations and forums to give those with invisible disabilities a voice and an opportunity to contribute to Canada’s planned accessibility legislation.
The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) and its over 15 Spotlight Partners will seek to consult and engage invisible disability stakeholders in Canada to provide information contributing to the development of federal accessibility legislation. The consultations will review current challenges and explore ways in which federal accessibility legislation can create an environment to provide all Canadians the resources to thrive as full participants in Canadian society.
A person with an invisible disability, is a person who has a disability that is not immediately apparent; showing no outward signs of their disability. For instance, some people with hearing loss, mental health issues or learning disabilities may not be obviously disabled, without visible aids such as a service dog or a wheelchair. Invisible disabilities are barriers that significantly affects normal activities of daily living.
As a tactic for generating discussion and maintaining focus, consultation participants will be invited to examine the challenges facing Canadians with disabilities in times of transition, particularly:
- youth as they transition from high school to university and university to the workplace;
- veterans as they transition from service to civilian life; and
- Seniors as they transition out of the workforce and into retirement and healthy aging.
In this way, the consultation process will identify and examine ways in which federal accessibility legislation can present opportunities to provide the support Canadians with disabilities need to thrive in times of transition.
Cross-collaboration by groups who do not usually work together will also help to identify broad-based issues and considerations that affect Canadians with disabilities and build consensus on potential avenues for improvement of accessibility legislation.
- The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association: Advocating on behalf of 3 million hard of hearing Canadians.
- The Canadian Mental Health Association: Advocating for the 20% of Canadians who experience a mental illness in their lifetime and all remaining Canadians affected indirectly at some time by someone they know.
- Learning Disabilities Association of Canada: Advocating for the 1 in 10 Canadians who has a learning disability.
- Royal Canadian Legion: Advocating for the 300,000 Veterans and hundreds of thousands of family members of Veterans or persons who support those who served.
- The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work: advocates for 443,900 unemployed Canadians with a disability.
- The National Educational Association of Disabled Students
Check this site frequently for more information about upcoming webinars and community events.
You're invited to participate in our online survey.
- Thursday, December 15th, 2016 - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. EST
Introduction to the Spotlight Project (visit link for archived webinar)
- Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. EST
Focus will be on youth transitioning into post-secondary or the workforce
- Friday, February 3, 2017 - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. EST
Focus will be on veterans transitioning into civilian life
- Thursday, February 9th, 2017 - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. EST
Focus will be on seniors transitioning from workplace to retirement living
- Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. EST
FRENCH WEBINAR - Overview of all transitional groups
Live Webcast Forum
- Spotlight on Invisible Disabilities Live Webcast Forum
2017 CHHA Conference – Sidney, BC
Friday, May 26th at 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.
Registration starts in March
- Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - 6:30 p.m. - 7:20 p.m. (Light snacks will be served)
Spotlight Project Consultation Event
Children’s Hearing and Speech Centre of BC
3575 Kaslo Street, Vancouver, BC
This event is hosted in collaboration with the CHHA Vancouver Branch and will be followed from 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. by a special presentation
- Monday, February 13th, 4:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Toronto Youth Consultation/Forum
Inclusive Design Research Centre, Toronto, ON McCauly Street
- Friday, February 24, 2017
Spotlight Project Workshop/Consultation Event
Fredericton, NB – (tbc)
Accessibility Legislation Backgrounder
The following background has been adapted from the Government of Canada Accessibility Legislation Discussion Guide. *
The Government of Canada is conducting consultations that will influence new federal accessibility legislation. The goal of this legislation will be to promote equality of opportunity and increase the inclusion and participation of Canadians who have disabilities or functional limitations.
The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA), leading a partnership of 18 organizations whose members and mandates have an interest in accessibility legislation, is conducting consultations with members of partner organizations and the public. The goal of these consultations is to deeply engage with participants to determine the issues accessibility legislation must address and how accessibility legislation can bring federal institutions in Canada closer toward the goal of barrier free access for all.
The Legislative Context:
In Canada, lawmaking power is divided between the Parliament of Canada and the provincial and territorial legislatures. The Parliament of Canada passes laws in areas under federal jurisdiction, such as banking, broadcasting and cross-border transportation. Provincial/territorial legislatures pass laws in areas such as education, social assistance and municipal government. Accessibility legislation passed by Parliament would apply to organizations and areas under federal jurisdiction.
Canada has a number of laws in place that protect the human rights of Canadians with disabilities and promote income security and equal employment opportunities. These include, for example, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Employment Equity Act. As well, the Government of Canada has standards and regulations in a number of areas-including broadcasting, telecommunications and transportation- to improve accessibility and remove barriers for Canadians with disabilities. An overarching act protecting the rights of those with disabilities does not yet exist in Canada. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) lists 13 Acts and Regulations relating to Disability.
The Limits of Legislation:
Within federal jurisdiction, the legislation could potentially apply to: Parliament of Canada; Departments, agencies and institutions of the Government of Canada; Federal Crown corporations; Federally-regulated businesses and industries (e.g. banking, broadcasting, cross-border transportation); Federal courts; Canadian Armed Forces; Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Other federal lands.
Consultations will seek to gather:
- feedback on the overall goal and approach;
- whom legislation should cover;
- what accessibility issues and barriers legislation should address;
- how compliance could be monitored and enforced;
- when or how often legislation should be reviewed;
- how and when to report to Canadians on the implementation of legislation; and
- how to raise accessibility awareness more generally and support organizations in improving accessibility.
Government of Canada
Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA)
- Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (LDAC); National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS);
- Royal Canadian Legion (RCL);
- Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW); and
- Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).
- Canadian National Society of the Deaf-Blind; Canadian Deafblind Association;
- Communicaid for Hearing Impaired Persons;
- The Hearing Foundation of Canada;
- Canadian Academy of Audiology;
- Brain Injury Canada;
- ARCH Disability Law Centre;
- Media Access Canada;
- Inclusive Design Research Centre, OCAD University;
- Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion;
- Canadian Mental Health Association (Ontario);
- Neil Squire Society;
- Mental Health Commission of Canada;
- Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC);
- Canadian Hard of Hearing Foundation
For more information, please contact:
Project Manager, Spotlight on Invisible Disabilities