Issue 16 | November 2020


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Accessibility During COVID-19 - new resources!

The Disabilities Issues Office has updated its “Accessibility During COVID-19” webpage with new information and resources relevant to all Manitobans.

We invite our readers to share practical messages on how to maintain accessibility during the pandemic by using the social media toolkit.

We encourage you to share the webpage and resources widely with your networks.





Save the Date - December 3rd International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD)

International Day of Persons with Disabilities December 3rd - free webinar Thursday, December 3rd from 2 to 3:30pm More information


Preparations are underway for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) celebrated annually on December 3rd. Every year, Manitoba joins people across the world in promoting the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in every aspect of life, including political, social, economic, and cultural. The United Nations theme in 2020 is; “Not all disabilities are visible.”

The Disabilities Issues Office will be hosting a webinar in celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and Manitoba 150. Learn about Manitoba’s contribution to national and international human rights, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with special guest, human rights lawyer Yvonne Peters. This year’s event includes the announcement of and introduction to the winners of the 2020 Manitoba Accessibility Awards (MBAA).

Please save the date: Thursday, December 3rd from 2 to 3:30 p.m. CDT and visit for more information.

Register for the webinar at:                                                                          


Manitoba Accessibility Stories

Manitoba Accessibility Stories - Sharing personal stories of accessibility across our province

This is our third edition of Manitoba Accessibility Stories (MAS). These stories are contributed by people across the province who want to share their experiences with accessibility, provide tips and advice, highlight areas for improvement and celebrate accessibility compliance.

The following stories were submitted by two clients of Reaching E-Quality Employment Services (REES), Jacquie Wasney and another individual. The stories offer helpful insight into the realities of living with a disability and navigating barriers created by the pandemic.

Living with Blindness during a Pandemic by Jacquie Wasney

Living with blindness during a pandemic presents some interesting challenges, especially when it comes to the basic health measures of physical distancing, mask wearing and hand sanitizing. My white cane helps with physical distancing somewhat, especially when I sweep my path. Nonetheless, some people are not familiar with the purpose of a white cane so I have to be extra careful that I do not get too close to others. For this reason, I am still a little reluctant to use public transit.

The nature of my eye disease, retinitis pigmentosa, means that my peripheral vision is very poor. Masks that have good coverage can limit downward peripheral vision and thus slow mobility especially in unfamiliar surroundings.

I have only walked into two hand-sanitizing stations! Now when I go somewhere new, I 
always begin by asking for help. This removes the stress of not seeing signs, floor arrows and markings, or clear plastic protective shields. People have been very kind, patient, and flexible in helping me access what I need. This has made a world of difference.

Finally, I really like the online meetings and events offered by Reaching E-Quality Employment Services (REES). Additionally, I have been able to attend a conference from Toronto and an annual meeting from the UK. These events would have been out of reach if I had to pay travel costs. It is also nice to participate from a completely familiar setting!

My Experience during COVID-19 Shutdown as a Disabled Person by a client of REES

I have had difficulty with accessing services due to social distancing protocols. For example, social distancing and the allowing fewer people into stores can create long lineups, which are difficult for me and others to stand in for long periods of time. While grocery shopping, some products are hard or impossible to purchase, as they were not often available. As a solution, it would be good of stores and businesses to designate
specific shopping times for people with disabilities and be flexible in the ways they offer services. This way, I would not have to shop at 5 different stores during multiple times in a day to obtain the products or services I need. I have also found that cleaning products and toilet paper are available at office supply stores, which presents a secondary option for me to access.


The closures during the pandemic represented challenges for all people. However, health specialists have been flexible and accommodating in providing help and assistance. There have been positive changes in the way health professionals provide services, including offering online and phone consultations and checkups. I recently experienced some changes in my physical condition that were of great concern to me, and although I was not able to see my neurologist immediately, my family doctor was available by telephone to assist me.

Another concern is the impact of the shutdowns on employees with disabilities and our ability to maintain employment. For example, the COVID-19 shutdown spanned a large portion of my Federal Employment Insurance (E.I.) eligibility. At the same time, business and employers were not actively hiring employees during this period. Currently, my Federal E.I. eligibility has expired and now businesses and employers are beginning to hire. I find myself in a difficult situation, as I would greatly benefit from an extension to my Federal E.I. eligibility.

I am also aware of the importance of maintaining safe and accessible public transit. For anyone who uses public transit these days, you are left to question, “Who else is riding on this bus? Are they symptomatic? Is everyone wearing a mask, and if so, properly?” Routine cleaning practices for buses and taxis would also help ensure people stay safe.


Eye on the Community - Accessibility Champions

Trails group ramps up accessibility in Winnipeg” as featured in the Winnipeg Free Press by Katlyn Streilein.

Anders Swanson, director of the Winnipeg Trails Association and Allen Mankewich, an accessibility advocate and wheelchair user make The Yellow Dog Tavern, a local business more accessible for all Manitobans. To learn more, visit the article:

New study launched on disability inclusion in MBA programs” as featured in The University of Winnipeg News Centre.

UWinnipeg researcher Dr. Katherine Breward is leading a study with the Graduate Management Admission Council and researchers from the University of Toronto to better understand, and ultimately improve, the experience of people with disabilities in MBA programs. To learn more, visit the article:

Student accessibility services adapt to remote learning” as featured in the Manitoban by Damien Davis

The importance of accessibility remains a priority for the University of Manitoba Student Accessibility Services (SAS) during COVID-19, with over 1,800 students registered and counting. To learn more, visit the article:


Community Training, Events, Funding, & Resources


With support from the Manitoba government, the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities is introducing a series of webinars to support the Accessibility Standard for Employment. 

Positive Change in Your Workplace – A Guide to the Accessible Employment Standard |  November 18th 28th at 12pm 


Through presentation and discussion, participants will learn about actions they can take to help their organization comply with the Employment Standard under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act.

This one hour webinar targets individuals who are responsible for recruiting, hiring, and developing and implementing policies at their workplace or organization.

This is an opportunity to go beyond basic accessibility education and reconsider policies and practices in your workplace that do not comply with new accessibility standards. Hear from a presenter with a disability and experience as a career coach in the disability community.

Webinar registration can be accessed here. For more information or registration assistance, please contact:

The Manitoba government is grateful to a number of disability organizations that offer training to support accessibility legislation, including Manitoba PossibleCommunity Futures Manitoba and the Independent Living Resource Centre. For a complete listing, visit




B.C. Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) - Indigenous Disability Awareness Month (IDAM)

November is Indigenous Disability Awareness Month (IDAM) and BCANDS would like to invite you to join them to celebrate! IDAM was created to recognize the barriers facing Indigenous Peoples living with disabilities, and despite those barriers, celebrate the significant contributions they bring to each of our communities daily. BCANDS created IDAM in 2015 and it is now widely recognized and proclaimed across Canada. In 2017, the United Nations recommended Canada officially proclaim and recognize the month each year.

Each year, BCANDS holds events and partners with communities and organizations during the month to raise awareness of this important initiative. In this year of virtual meetings and events, we will be hosting a webinar series to celebrate IDAM.

  • November 19th, 2020, 10:30-11:30 am PST: Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)

Register Now:

Please email by November 12th if you have accessibility requirements for this meeting

  • November 26th, 2020, 10:30-11:30 am PST: Disability Case Management (DCM)

Register Now:

Please email by November 19th if you have accessibility requirements for this meeting

  • November 30th, 2020 10:30-11:30 am PST: Employment Engagement Project

Register Now:

Please email by November 23th if you have accessibility requirements for this meeting

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

For more information about the conference, please visit:


Disability & Work in Canada Conference - Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy                                                                                                                                                                                     

The conference will be held virtually on November 25 to 26 and December 1 to 2, 2020, 12:30pm – 3:30pm ET.

The theme for this year’s conference is the “Strategy in Action—Pathways and Impacts,” with subthemes for each day as follows:

  • Wednesday November 25, 2020 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. EDT – The Big Picture--Challenges and Opportunities
  • Thursday November 26, 2020 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. EDT – Progress in the Workplace
  • Tuesday December 1, 2020 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. EDT – Strengthening Supports for Workers
  • Wednesday December 2, 2020 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. EDT – Moving Forward Together

Register for the conference at DWC2020 registration website. For more information about the conference, visit

Bridge Disability Expo -– March of Dimes Canada 

The Bridge Disability Expo (formerly Opening Doors For Accessibility) is a conference series held virtually across six cities over six days and dedicated entirely to Canadians living with disabilities.

This custom-designed virtual event makes it easier than ever to connect clients to the people, products and programs that matter to them most. In one amazing digital space, attendees will be able to find everything they'll need to simplify, amplify, transform and improve their lives.

What to find on The Bridge:

  • Incredible local exhibitors, cutting-edge products and must-have gadgets.
  • A dynamic speaker series highlighting insights and discoveries.
  • Local March of Dimes Canada programs on full display.
  • Numerous opportunities to hear from people within the disability community.

Register for the conference here:

For more information about the expo, visit:

United Way Winnipeg's Summit Series #4: Inclusion in Our City

Introducing the Summit Series, United Way Winnipeg’s free, virtual four-part program, where Winnipeggers can tune in at work or from the comfort of their own homes. The Summit Series will feature engaging speakers to inspire us, powerful words to enlighten us, and uncomfortable questions to challenge us.

  • “Inclusion in Our City” Thursday, December 3, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm  (Sponsored by Johnston Group)

Register for the conference here: For more information, please visit:




Community Foundations - Emergency Support Fund

The Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) is a $350M investment from the Government of Canada to support charities and non-profit organizations serving vulnerable populations as they manage the impacts of COVID-19.

For more information, please visit:

Indigenous Community Support Fund - Government Canada
This fund provides Indigenous leadership with the flexibility needed to design and implement community-based solutions to prepare for and react to the spread of COVID-19 within their communities.

United Way Centraide Canada - Emergency Community Support Fund

United Ways and Centraides administer Emergency Community Support Fund grants locally. United Ways and Centraides actively target their outreach to ensure equitable distribution of funds, while also strengthening services and supports for vulnerable Canadians across all communities.

For more information, please visit:




We have included a couple of notable resources below. For a complete listing of Accessibility & COVID-19 Resources, please visit:


Applied Information Group Free COVID-19 Design Toolkit
Images of arrows and hands arranged ina  circle

For government, public and private sector organizations responsible for high traffic spaces. The Toolkit is designed to help anyone who is responsible for public places: cities, universities, and transport systems to individual stores, theatres, restaurants, and offices. It is a practical tool to help implement effective public information by applying best-practice know-how. It is ready to download and use straight away.

It has been published and made available by Applied Information Group, an international wayfinding company. The toolkit includes the following:

  • Practical principles
  • Message and placement guidelines; and
  • Description of wayfinding designs elements, and standards for sign design, templates and Icons.

 The toolkit can be downloaded here: COVID19DesignToolKit

SAFE Work Manitoba Online Training

SAFE Work Manitoba is offering a free, 40-minute online training course “COVID-19: Best Practices for a Safe Work Place” that complies with provincial health guidelines and teaches workers how to apply the 4 Ps of COVID-19 workplace safety: physical distancing, personal hygiene, physical environment and personal protective equipment.

The online training course can be accessed here:


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Disabilities Issues Office
630 - 240 Graham Avenue
Winnipeg MB R3C 0J7 
Phone: 204-945-7613
Toll free: 1-800-282-8069, ext. 7613 

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