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Explore the decades-long history of our organization and the difference we've made across Canada.

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1976

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2000

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2005

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2010

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2015

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2020

  • 1966

    75 representatives of workshop programs across Canada formed a committee to discuss operational standards for employing persons with disabilities.

  • 1976

    The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) received registration as a national charity.

  • 1981

    The International Year of Disabled Persons.

  • 1986

    The Federal Employment Equity Act – Canada moves toward greater employment equity for visible minorities and persons with disabilities.

  • 1987-1996

    CCRW became a major source of training workshops related to the employment of persons with disabilities in Canada, including the launch of the Skills Training Partnership (STP) in 1992, which was recognized by the United Nations as a Best Practice.

  • 2000

    CCRW launched the Job Accommodation Service (JAS) to help employers create healthy and inclusive workspaces. JAS provides employers across Canada with advice, consultation and assessment services to assist in workplace accommodations, disability management, conflict prevention and risk reduction of occupational disabilities.

  • 2002

    Publication of the children’s book “I’m Wendy Blair, Not a Chair!” in response to the need for children’s storybooks that represent persons with disabilities. This was followed by “Wendy Blair and the Assignment” in 2003 and “Teen Wendy Blair No Time to Spare” in 2005. Carolyn MacDiarmid is the author of all three books.

  • 2003

    Partners for Workplace Inclusion Program (PWIP)was implemented as a pilot project in three regions of the Country, namely St. John’s, NL; Winnipeg, MB; and, Vancouver, BC. The program worked with persons with disabilities, spanning cross-disability sectors understanding and responding to the obstacles and barriers they have faced in preparing for, finding and retaining their employment or becoming self-employed.  Building on the positive results achieved in 2003-04, PWIP expanded to include Saint John, NB and Saskatoon, SK establishing a total of five sites across Canada. From 2003 to March 31, 2013; over 4,960 eligible persons with disabilities have been served through PWIP service sites. Funded byThe National Opportunities Fund.

  • 2004

    Workink launched as a cross-disability, web-based employment tool. The goal of this service is to facilitate communication, provide resources and information to enhance the equitable and meaningful employment of persons with disabilities.

  • 2005

    Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) becomes law.

    Workplace Essential Skills Partnership (WESP-GTA) was originally initiated as a pilot project in cooperation with the Canadian National Institute of the Blind (CNIB) in July 2005 during a time when CNIB divested from employment programs. Clients received an employability assessment and participated in an employability enhancement workshop. Clients also receive career exploration or occupational assessments moving towards the final outcome of employment. This project has demonstrated its capacity to achieving outcomes and has evolved into a pre-employment program for university and college graduates and professionals with disabilities.

  • 2006

    Disability Awareness Series (DAS) was developed in response to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005.  It was a 5 modular series to provide employers and employees knowledge about disability issues, accommodation in the workplace and the tools to create an inclusive workplace where all employees can realize their potential.

    New Brunswick Employment Services (NBES) launched and is funded by the Post Secondary Education, Training and Labour through the Government of NB. Through building on partnerships, promoting skill development, influencing attitudes and sharing knowledge, job seekers with disabilities receive the support they need for job searching, preparing for engaging careers or furthering education opportunities.

  • 2007

    Youth the Future (YTF) launched and was funded through Service Canada’s Skills Link at Participation House in Durham. YTF is now available in NL, NS, NB, PE, QC, ON, MB, BC and NU. Youth with disabilities, who are between 15 and 30 years of age, receive client centred, pre-employment skill development to assist with educational and career paths.

    Canada signs onto the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

  • 2008

    National Conference: Employment Now! Diversity Planning for Inclusive Employment. Held in St. John’s NL. The goal of the Conference was to create the Framework for a National Employment Delivery Strategy for Persons with Disabilities. This Conference brought together over 125 representatives from across Canada in all aspects of employment including municipal, provincial and federal governments, employers, employees and job seekers with disabilities. The Conference provided a venue to share experiences, gain knowledge, source information while increasing networks to share resources and contacts to support the employment of persons with disabilities.

  • 2009

    New Brunswick Employer Support Services (NBESS) launched. This program provided support to employers in New Brunswick for recruitment, hiring and retention of persons with disabilities. Recruiting through NBESS allowed the employer to have their positions circulated to all EAS contracts throughout the Province.

    CCRW established a partnership with Elsipogtog First Nation Economic Development in New Brunswick. The “Customer Service Essential Skills” (CSES) a partnership project for First Nation persons with disabilities. The project mandate was to prepare participants for employment and further education opportunities.

  • 2010

    National Conference: Strategies for Inclusive Employment; Supporting Changing Labour Market Trends; Real Issues, Real Solutions. This conference provided an opportunity for Canada to discuss a range of employment issues impacting persons with disabilities in the world of work today. Sessions covered a wide variety of topics and perspectives including disability awareness, employment strategies, youth in transition and inclusion.

  • 2011

    Canada receives formal confirmation to the United Nations Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities.

  • 2012

    Maureen Haan becomes President & CEO of CCRW.

  • 2013

    Accessibility for Manitobans Act became law.

  • 2014

    Talent Untapped – A film about Breaking Barriers – CCRW shared resources and offered support to filmmaker Anna-Karina Tabunar for her documentary film. Released in December 2015, the film documents the barriers to employment experienced by Canadians with disabilities as well as the business cast for supporting an inclusive workplace.

    “Inclusion is not about bringing someone into your space – inclusion is about making space for everyone.” Maureen Haan

  • 2017

    CCRW, as part of Civil Society, is asked to attend Canada’s appearance in front of the UNCRPD committee. The recommendations from concluding observations included: Adopt a policy on the employment of persons with disabilities, including indigenous persons with disabilities that guarantees access to employment, promotes work in open, inclusive and accessible markets and environments, equal opportunities and gender equality and provides for reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities at work.

    CCRW joined like-minded leaders and hosted the first Disability and Work in Canada (DWC) conference – Successes and Challenges of Canada’s First 150 Years, Developing a Vision and Strategy for the Future. This inaugural conference was held in Ottawa in December 2017 corresponding to the 150th anniversary of Canada. This resulted in the development of the DWC initiative that includes of the Pan-Canadian Strategy for Disability and Work, the annual DWC Conference as well as an annual policy forum meeting where provinces, territories and the federal government convene to speak of promising practices for employment for people with disabilities.

  • 2018

    CCRW publishes of the children’s books “I’m Smart in my Own Way”, “Benjamin-Bob Can Do the Job” and “Felicia McCan” for the 150th anniversary of Ontario.

    In partnership with the Federal government, CCRW launched the Disability Confident Employer Program (DCEP), self-led online training platform divided into six sections that feature best practices and resources to educate employers on how to develop and maintain inclusive hiring and retention practices for persons with a disability.

  • 2019

    The Accessible Canada Act was adopted into Legislation in June of 2019, resulting in the formation of many federal initiatives including Accessibility Standards Canada. A technical committee was formed in 2021 to create a standard for employment for people with disabilities.

  • 2020

    Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) becomes law.

    Workplace Essential Skills Partnership (WESP-GTA) was originally initiated as a pilot project in cooperation with the Canadian National Institute of the Blind (CNIB) in July 2005 during a time when CNIB divested from employment programs. Clients received an employability assessment and participated in an employability enhancement workshop. Clients also receive career exploration or occupational assessments moving towards the final outcome of employment. This project has demonstrated its capacity to achieving outcomes and has evolved into a pre-employment program for university and college graduates and professionals with disabilities.

  • 2021

    Accessible British Columbia Act becomes law.

    The Disability Inclusion Action Plan is announced in the Speech from the Throne, which confirms a robust federal employment strategy is to be created for employment for people with disabilities.

CCRW is the only national charitable organization with the sole mission of employment for people with disabilities.