Category Archives: SBA Newsletter

SBA Newsletter [October 24, 2016]

SBA Programming and Events
  • Early Office Closure – This Wednesday
  • Crafternoon – Monoprinting!
  • SBA Open House
Community Events and Resources

  • Action Speaks Louder Call for Pitches and Editorial Volunteers
  • International Day of Persons with Disabilities – Alliance of Equality of Blind Canadians
  • Inclusive Employment Advocacy Project
  • Make Free Education a Reality

SBA Programming and Events

Early Office Closure – This Wednesday

Please note that the SBA office will be closing early this Wednesday October 26th at 3:30pm.

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Crafternoon

Join us for another craft session at SBA! The usual knitting, colouring, and paper crafting supplies will be available. We’ll also have some monoprinting supplies so you can create your own patterns and designs! For more information on monoprinting, check out:

http://gelliarts.blogspot.ca/

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SBA Open HouseStudents for Barrier-free Access (SBA) invites all students, alumni, and community members to join us at our Open House. Hang out, eat some yummy food, and check out our office, resource library, lounge, computer lab, and study room which are free to use for all members during office hours.

Meet our awesome coordinators and our amazing and dedicated board members and volunteers. Learn more about what SBA is working on this year and find out how you can get involved!

Free! Everyone welcome! Drop-by anytime!

Date: Monday October 31, 2016

Time: 12pm-4pm

12pm-1pm: Board Games
1pm-2pm: Lunch and introduction to SBA
2pm-3pm: Button-making and colouring
3pm-4pm: Tea and cupcake decorating

Location: 215 Huron Street, suite 924 on the 9th floorWheelchair accessible. Gender-neutral washroom located on the same floor. Vegan and gluten-free food options will be provided.

Please note that the SBA Centre is a scent-free space.

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Community Events and Resources

Action Speaks Louder Call for Pitches and Editorial Volunteers

Are you interested in alternative media? Do you want to develop your skills in writing and editing for a publication? Write or volunteer for Action Speaks Louder, OPIRG-Toronto’s bi-annual newsletter!

We work to create space for students and community members to reflect on pressing issues within current struggles for social and environmental justice. If you would like to join our editorial collective, please write to us at opirg.toronto@gmail.com. The editorial collective will begin meeting in October to start work on out Winter 2017 issue. Editorial collective members brainstorm about content, solicit pitches, edit, proofread and work on layout of the newsletter. If you want to get a sense of the production process of a publication from start to finish, this is a great opportunity to develop your skills in a supportive, collaborative environment!

If you would rather just write for us, submit a pitch! The submission deadline for the Winter 2017 issue is extended to Tuesday, October 25, 2016. To send us a short pitch or for questions about the pitch process, please email actionspeaksloudertoronto@gmail.com. We are interested in hearing about your reflections on organizing work, campaigns you’re working on, a political issue that you’re interested in and anything else you want to develop related to OPIRG’s mandate for research, education and action on social and environmental justice!

To get a sense of what we publish, check out our last issue here.————————————————————————-

International Day of Persons with Disabilities – Alliance of Equality for Blind Canadians

You are cordially invited to come to this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities event in Toronto focused on employment. This is Goal 5 of United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, on decent work and economic growth.

Elected representatives from all three levels of government are invited to come and speak on government employment initiatives, as well as persons with disabilities to share their employment success stories. Employment agencies are also invited to come and network with job seekers.

Date:          Saturday, December 3, 2016
Time:         2 to 4 p.m.
Venue:       Metro Hall, 55 John St. Room 308 and 309.
Program:

2 – 2:10           Welcome

2:10 – 2:45      Government Speeches

2:45 – 3:15      Panel Presentation

2:15 – 2:45      Question and Answer Period

3:45 – 4:30      Networking with Employment Agencies

 Refreshments, attendant care and ASL will be provided.

 Please RSVP by October 28 at Voice Mail: 647-947-9022

Email: aebctoronto@gmail.com

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Inclusive Employment Advocacy Project

Do you or someone you know have difficulties getting a job because of a disability?
Do you want to learn how to speak up for yourself for equal access to employment services?

Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) Toronto Chapter is launching an Employment Advocacy Project to build the skills of persons with disabilities to make sure employment programs and services include persons with disabilities. For details on the project, check out http://www.blindcanadians.ca/news/bb/2016-10-inclusive-employment-advocacy-project

If interested in joining a focus group and training sessions, or to inquire further, please contact AEBC at

Voice Mail: 647-947-9022
Email: aebctoronto@gmail.com————————————————————————-

Make Free Education a Reality

Location: Tecumseh Auditorium
Dinner Provided (Vegan/Veg options available)

Now is the time for free education. It is possible and necessary. Too many students are unable to afford post-secondary education as a result of high tuition fees.

Join us (Continuing Education Student Association of Ryerson – CESAR) for a discussion about the barriers you face, and how we can overcome them collectively.

Featuring:

Avi Lewis– Filmmaker and Journalist
Bilan Arte– Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students
Rabbia Ashraf– President, CESAR
Phyllis McKenna– VP Equity, CESAR

This event is part of CESAR’s Take the Lead Series.

Accessibility: We have 1 ASL interpreter secured. We are currently trying to secure a 2nd interpreter.
Wheelchair accessible.

SBA Newsletter [October 11th, 2016]

SBA Programming and Events

  • Surviving Together; A Self-Advocacy Workshop for Disability Students
  • SBA Adovcacy Committee Meeting
  • Craft Afternoon
  • SBA Open House

Community Events and Resources

  • Reclaiming Our Bodies and Minds (ROBAM) Conference Planning Meeting
  • Info-Session & Discussion on UofT’s Sexual Violence Policy
  • Wheel Dance
  • Communications and Design Coordinator – Job Opportunity
  • Wilcocks Commons Open House

SBA Programming and Events

Surviving Together; A Self-Advocacy Workshop for Disabled Students

Join Students for Barrier-free Access (SBA) for a student-run orientation for disabled students and student advocates. Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, full-time or part-time, new or returning, an international or transfer student, this orientation is for you!
Come meet other disabled students and SBA members, enjoy a meal with us, and learn more about self-advocacy and resources for disabled students on campus.

Guest Speakers include:

– Edgar-Andre Montigny Staff Lawyer, ARCH Disability Law Centre
– Nick Hill, Disability Law Intensive Program, ARCH Disability Law Centre
– Ellen Hodnett, Ombudsperson, Office of the University Ombudsperson, University of Toronto

Topics covered at the orientation:
– Know Your Rights as a disabled student
– self-advocacy and navigating academic accommodations
– introduction to campus resources and services for disabled students
– introduction to Students for Barrier-Free Access’ resources and services

Date: Friday October 21, 2016
Time: 1pm-3pm
Location: 252 Bloor Street West (OISE) room 5240, 5th floor

Everyone welcome! Wheelchair accessible. Live captioning will be available.

Accessible and gender-neutral washroom located on the same floor as the event room.

Please note that this will be a scent-free space.

A light lunch including vegan and gluten-free options will be served at 12:30pm. Please join us for lunch prior to the workshop.

If you require ASL to participate in the event, or if you have any other access needs please contact Nadia at sba.advocacycoordinator@gmail.com

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SBA Advocacy Committee Meeting

Join us for our next Advocacy Committee Meeting and learn more about SBA’s campaigns and how you can get involved! New members are always welcome!

Date: Thursday October 20, 2016

Time: 5:30-7:30pm

Location: SBA Centre, 215 Huron Street, Room 924 on the 9th floor

Accessible and gender-neutral washroom located on the same floor as the meeting room.

Please note that the SBA centre is a scent-free space.

Snacks will be provided, including vegan and gluten-free options.

Contact Nadia at sba.advocacycoordinator@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns.

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Craft Afternoon

Join us for another SBA Crafternoon on Thursday October 13th from 4:30-6:30pm in room 924 at 215 Huron Street. Cookies, tea, and much knitting and colouring! If you arrive after 5:30, call our office at 416 967 7322 and we can let you into the building.

All gender washroom on the 9th floor and please note that we are a scent free space.

————————————————————————-

SBA Open House

Students for Barrier-free Access (SBA) invites all students, alumni, and community members to join us at our Open House. Hang out, eat some yummy food, and check out our office, resource library, lounge, computer lab, and study room which are free to use for all members during office hours.

Meet our awesome coordinators and our amazing and dedicated board members and volunteers. Learn more about what SBA is working on this year and find out how you can get involved!

Free! Everyone welcome! Drop-by anytime!

Date: Friday October 31, 2016

Time: 12pm-4pm

12pm-1pm: Board Games
1pm-2pm: Lunch and introduction to SBA
2pm-3pm: Button-making and colouring
3pm-4pm: Tea and cupcake decorating

Location: 215 Huron Street, suite 924 on the 9th floor

Wheelchair accessible. Gender-neutral washroom located on the same floor. Vegan and gluten-free food options will be provided.

Please note that the SBA Centre is a scent-free space.

————————————————————————-

Community Events and Resources

Reclaiming Our Bodies and Minds (ROBAM) Conference Planning Meeting

Join us for the first planning meeting for the Reclaiming Our Bodies & Minds (ROBAM) Conference!

At this point, we have booked the Ryerson Student Centre for Friday, March 10, Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12 for the Conference. This will be an opportunity to talk about everything and anything for the conference.

Monday, October 17, 2016
6:00pm-8:00pm
Ryerson Student Centre, 55 Gould Street
SCC311-B, Third Floor, Directly across from the elevators

The organisers strives to create accessible and inclusive spaces for its members. If we require additional accommodations to ensure your participation, please e-mail equity@rsuonline.ca. Tokens will be available for meeting participants.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/318851015138129/

AGENDA

Suggested agenda (open to modifications and additions):
1. Introductions
2. Review of 2015 and 2016 Conference
3. Goal Setting & Brainstorm for 2017 Conference
4. Draft Timeline for 2017 Conference
5. Initial Task Delegation

The Reclaiming Our Bodies & Minds Conference was initially hosted at Ryerson University in 2012. In 2014, student groups and campus/community activists from Ryerson University, York University, University of Toronto and George Brown College came together to imagine an inter-campus conference that brought together disability community activists, service providers, academics, and everybody in between. This is the second year of the Reclaiming Our Bodies & Minds Inter-University Conference.

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Info-Session & Discussion on UofT’s Sexual Violence Policy
Online: https://www.facebook.com/events/292989534427476/
When: Tuesday, October 11th – 6:00pm
Where: Sidney Smith Hall – Room 2111 (100 St. George Street)

Sexual Violence in the workplace is an issue of health and safety for graduate students and academic workers on campus. We believe that you deserve to be included in conversations around sexual violence- response, policy and prevention- at the University of Toronto and in union spaces.

Collaborating with the Cupe3902 Flying Squad, 3902 Stewards and Joint Health and Safety Reps, we are facilitating one final info session and discussion on the draft sexual violence policy before the University’s deadline for feedback.

On Tuesday, October 11th we’ll hold an info session and public discussion on the draft sexual violence policy in room 2111 of Sidney Smith Hall (100 St. George Street) at 6:00pm.

We’ll have food and refreshments on site – get at us with any dietary restrictions or accommodation requests at SIVUofT@gmail.com.

We’ll also have active listeners and an equity officer on site!

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Wheel Dance!

Learn Latin Dance in a comfortable and accessible environment. Classes will cover the basic elements of partner dancing, with an emphasis on basic patterns, turns and timing, moving across the dance floor, and having fun. A mixed abilities class – everyone welcome. Bring a partner or come on your own.

October 16th – November 20th

January 8 – February 12

12-1pm

$70 per session, $10 per class]

Where: Miles Nadal JCC, 750 Spadina Ave at Bloor

Call: 416-924-6200 ext 0 to register or email wheeldance@outlook.com for more information.

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Communications & Design Coordinator

Date Posted: Oct 03, 2016

Salary: 32,000 Salary

Province: Ontario

Region: Metro Toronto Area
City: Toronto
Term: Part-time

Organization Description

Tangled Art + Disability is a not for profit arts organization and forum for creative and artistic excellence that serves as a leader, catalyst and resource for bringing together professional artists, emerging artists and arts and cultural organizations and a diverse public. Tangled Art + Disability uses the power of art as a transforming medium to enhance the understanding and acceptance that people with disabilities can and do make significant contributions to all aspects of society, in particular the arts and an evolving cultural sector.

Job Description

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS:
Communications & Design Coordinator
Tangled Art + Disability
October 2016
Part-time (3.5 days/week)
$32,000 Salary
One-year contract with potential for renewal
Some evening and weekend work is required

Tangled Art + Disability is boldly redefining how the world experiences art and those who create it. We are a not for profit art + disability organization dedicated to connecting professional and emerging artists, the arts community and a diverse public through creative passion and artistic excellence. Our mandate is to support disability-identified artists, to cultivate disability arts in Canada, and to enhance access to the arts for artists and audiences of all abilities. Through this work, we aim to create a new standard of excellence in the arts by prioritizing inclusivity through accessible curatorial, programming, and art making practices.

Tangled is inviting applications for the position of Communications & Design Coordinator. Working with the organization’s management and curatorial staff, the Communications & Design Coordinator will be responsible for designing and executing the communications and marketing program for all Tangled activities and events including Tangled Art Gallery programming. This position will play a vital role in growing the Tangled audience at the local and national levels during a period of significant growth and interest in disability arts.

The ideal candidate will be an independent self-starter with excellent organizational and multitasking skills, and a talent for effective interpersonal communication with a variety of groups including media, internal staff, partner organizations, artists, audiences, volunteers and people with a variety of access needs. Graphic design skills, an interest in writing, and an understanding of the disability arts sector are a must.

For more information: http://www.workinculture.ca/The-Job-Board/jobs/Communications-Design-Coordinator-(1)

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Wilcocks Commons Open House
Date: Monday, October 17th, 2016
Time: 4-7pm
Location: Sidney Smith Hall Lobby

We would like to invite University students, faculty, staff and public to an open house to view and comment on the concept design for the revitalization of Willcocks Street. Over the course of the past few months, the consultant team DTAH has been leading the design and exercise of reimagining this important urban landscape on campus. As the concept design phase is wrapping up, we are asking the community to come out to this event to view and provide input on this proposal. Thanks and we look forward to seeing you there!

http://willcockscommon.utoronto.ca/engagement-upcoming-events/

SBA Newsletter [October 5, 2016]

SBA Programming and Events

  • Surviving Together; A Self-Advocacy Workshop for Disability Students
  • SBA Adovcacy Committee Meeting
  • Craft Afternoon
  • Pride is Political. Pride is Black – Postphoned

Community Events and Resources

  • Reclaiming Our Bodies and Minds (ROBAM) Conference Planning Meeting
  • Women’s Talking Circle
  • Accessibility Camp TO! – Register Now
  • Drop In Elder hours at OISE
  • Wheel Dance
  • Communications and Design Coordinator – Job Opportunity
  • Wilcocks Commons Open House

SBA Programming and Events

Surviving Together; A Self-Advocacy Workshop for Disabled Students

Join Students for Barrier-free Access (SBA) for a student-run orientation for disabled students and student advocates. Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, full-time or part-time, new or returning, an international or transfer student, this orientation is for you!
Come meet other disabled students and SBA members, enjoy a meal with us, and learn more about self-advocacy and resources for disabled students on campus.

Guest Speakers include:

Edgar-Andre Montigny Staff Lawyer, ARCH Disability Law Centre

Nick Hill, Disability Law Intensive Program, ARCH Disability Law Centre

Ellen Hodnett, Ombudsperson, Office of the University Ombudsperson, University of Toronto

Topics covered at the orientation:

– Know Your Rights as a disabled student

– self-advocacy and navigating academic accommodations

– introduction to campus resources and services for disabled students

– introduction to Students for Barrier-Free Access’ resources and services

Date: Friday October 21, 2016

Time: 1pm-3pm

Location: 252 Bloor Street West (OISE) room 5240, 5th floor

Everyone welcome!

Wheelchair accessible. Live captioning will be available.

Accessible and gender-neutral washroom located on the same floor as the event room.

Please note that this will be a scent-free space.

A light lunch including vegan and gluten-free options will be served at 12:30pm. Please join us for lunch prior to the workshop.

If you require ASL to participate in the event, or if you have any other access needs please contact Nadia at sba.advocacycoordinator@gmail.com

 


 

SBA Advocacy Committee Meeting

Join us for our next Advocacy Committee Meeting and learn more about SBA’s campaigns and how you can get involved! New members are always welcome!

Date: Thursday October 20, 2016

Time: 5:30-7:30pm

Location: SBA Centre, 215 Huron Street, Room 924 on the 9th floor

Accessible and gender-neutral washroom located on the same floor as the meeting room.

Please note that the SBA centre is a scent-free space.

Snacks will be provided, including vegan and gluten-free options.

Contact Nadia at sba.advocacycoordinator@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns.


 

Craft Afternoon

Join us for another SBA Crafternoon on Thursday October 13th from 4:30-6:30pm in room 924 at 215 Huron Street. Cookies, tea, and much knitting and colouring! If you arrive after 5:30, call our office at 416 967 7322 and we can let you into the building.

All gender washroom on the 9th floor and please note that we are a scent free space.

Pride is Political. Pride is Black 

Details to come! Questions/Concerns: please contact Nadia at sba.advocacycoordinator@gmail.com


Community Events and Resources

Reclaiming Our Bodies and Minds (ROBAM) Conference Planning Meeting

Join us for the first planning meeting for the Reclaiming Our Bodies & Minds (ROBAM) Conference!

At this point, we have booked the Ryerson Student Centre for Friday, March 10, Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12 for the Conference. This will be an opportunity to talk about everything and anything for the conference.

Monday, October 17, 2016
6:00pm-8:00pm
Ryerson Student Centre, 55 Gould Street
SCC311-B, Third Floor, Directly across from the elevators

The organisers strives to create accessible and inclusive spaces for its members. If we require additional accommodations to ensure your participation, please e-mail equity@rsuonline.ca. Tokens will be available for meeting participants.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/318851015138129/

AGENDA

Suggested agenda (open to modifications and additions):
1. Introductions
2. Review of 2015 and 2016 Conference
3. Goal Setting & Brainstorm for 2017 Conference
4. Draft Timeline for 2017 Conference
5. Initial Task Delegation

The Reclaiming Our Bodies & Minds Conference was initially hosted at Ryerson University in 2012. In 2014, student groups and campus/community activists from Ryerson University, York University, University of Toronto and George Brown College came together to imagine an inter-campus conference that brought together disability community activists, service providers, academics, and everybody in between. This is the second year of the Reclaiming Our Bodies & Minds Inter-University Conference.


 

Women’s Talking Circle

Join TYRMC Senator Constance Simmonds, Elise St. Germain, and Sheila LaRoque on Thursday, October 13th at Native Child and Family Services (30 College Street) for a potluck dinner, teachings on the Falling Leaves Moon and an evening of discussion on full moon ceremony, feasting our ancestors, Métis women’s health and well-being. Bring a family story you would like to share.

Please contact Elise to RSVP and let us know what dish you can bring (remember your feast plates!): 
(416) 994 – 1705 / elise.stgermain@mail.utoronto.ca

Want more updates? Join our Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1912509512310032/


 

Accessibility Camp TO! – Register Now

Date and Location: Saturday November 5th, 2016 @ 9am. OCAD University, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto (map).

5 presentation tracks / 25 presentations / 250 people. This is the camp’s 6th-year!

#a11yTO Camp has always welcomed new people to the accessibility community. With that in mind, we’re going to shake things up this year by trying something new. Our 2016 camp will feature a theme: “Get to know us!”

And by “us” we don’t only mean Accessibility Toronto. Rather we’re aiming to include everyone. We encourage you to take time to better understand what it means to be part of the community and what we’re all striving for as passionate, inclusive web developers and users.

For more information or to register, please visit: http://www.accessibilitycampto.org/

About Accessibility Camp TO

Our mission is to connect people on digital accessibility solutions. It is an opportunity for accessibility professionals (new and experienced) who wouldn’t otherwise meet to come together and share ideas, solutions, techniques, case studies and more in an open, relaxed, informal environment.

Focusing on users with different abilities, sessions cover digital accessibility topics from the web (technical to tactical), desktop software, mobile apps, eLearning, online gaming, open source innovations, wearables and everything in between. Watch this brief video from the first #a11yTO Camp to get a feel for what to expect during the day. Also, video recordings from past camps are available.

Regardless of your level of knowledge, this event is for you. It will be a great opportunity for members of the design/development, usability, accessibility, IT and disabled end-user communities to interact and learn from each other. We recommend you browse the Frequently Asked Questions, especially if you have never attended a participant-driven BarCamp/unconference before.

Please support the event with a $10 suggested donation at the door on the day of the event. Your donation will help cover the costs for miscellaneous expenses – materials, food, etc.

Please follow event updates on Twitter via @a11yto or the hashtag #a11yto.Wheel Dance!


 

Drop In Elder Hours at OISE

Elder Cat Criger & Traditional Ojibwe Kokomis/Teacher, Jacqui Lavalley
are available once a week for students, staff, and faculty to drop-in.

Hours of Availability: Fridays from 9:00am-5:00pm

Cat Criger: 9:00am-1:00pm
Jacqui Lavalley: 1:00pm-5:00pm

October drop-in sessions with Jacqui will have a focus on asemaa (tobacco)

Location: OISE, 7th floor, room 7-230 Drop-ins welcome
or Book an appointment

Contact Julie Blair at: ien@utoronto.ca


 

Wheel Dance!

Learn Latin Dance in a comfortable and accessible environment. Classes will cover the basic elements of partner dancing, with an emphasis on basic patterns, turns and timing, moving across the dance floor, and having fun. A mixed abilities class – everyone welcome. Bring a partner or come on your own.

October 16th – November 20th

January 8 – February 12

12-1pm

$70 per session, $10 per class]

Where: Miles Nadal JCC, 750 Spadina Ave at Bloor

Call: 416-924-6200 ext 0 to register or email wheeldance@outlook.com for more information.


 

Communications & Design Coordinator

Date Posted: Oct 03, 2016

Salary: 32,000 Salary

Province: Ontario

Region: Metro Toronto Area
City: Toronto
Term: Part-time

Organization Description

Tangled Art + Disability is a not for profit arts organization and forum for creative and artistic excellence that serves as a leader, catalyst and resource for bringing together professional artists, emerging artists and arts and cultural organizations and a diverse public. Tangled Art + Disability uses the power of art as a transforming medium to enhance the understanding and acceptance that people with disabilities can and do make significant contributions to all aspects of society, in particular the arts and an evolving cultural sector.

Job Description

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS:
Communications & Design Coordinator
Tangled Art + Disability
October 2016
Part-time (3.5 days/week)
$32,000 Salary
One-year contract with potential for renewal
Some evening and weekend work is required

Tangled Art + Disability is boldly redefining how the world experiences art and those who create it. We are a not for profit art + disability organization dedicated to connecting professional and emerging artists, the arts community and a diverse public through creative passion and artistic excellence. Our mandate is to support disability-identified artists, to cultivate disability arts in Canada, and to enhance access to the arts for artists and audiences of all abilities. Through this work, we aim to create a new standard of excellence in the arts by prioritizing inclusivity through accessible curatorial, programming, and art making practices.

Tangled is inviting applications for the position of Communications & Design Coordinator. Working with the organization’s management and curatorial staff, the Communications & Design Coordinator will be responsible for designing and executing the communications and marketing program for all Tangled activities and events including Tangled Art Gallery programming. This position will play a vital role in growing the Tangled audience at the local and national levels during a period of significant growth and interest in disability arts.

The ideal candidate will be an independent self-starter with excellent organizational and multitasking skills, and a talent for effective interpersonal communication with a variety of groups including media, internal staff, partner organizations, artists, audiences, volunteers and people with a variety of access needs. Graphic design skills, an interest in writing, and an understanding of the disability arts sector are a must.

For more information: http://www.workinculture.ca/The-Job-Board/jobs/Communications-Design-Coordinator-(1)


 

Wilcocks Commons Open House
Date: Monday, October 17th, 2016
Time: 4-7pm
Location: Sidney Smith Hall Lobby

We would like to invite University students, faculty, staff and public to an open house to view and comment on the concept design for the revitalization of Willcocks Street. Over the course of the past few months, the consultant team DTAH has been leading the design and exercise of reimagining this important urban landscape on campus. As the concept design phase is wrapping up, we are asking the community to come out to this event to view and provide input on this proposal. Thanks and we look forward to seeing you there!

http://willcockscommon.utoronto.ca/engagement-upcoming-events/

 

Read Our Article on the BSWD/CSG-PDSE published in Action Speaks Louder!!

“Barriers Related to Disability Related Educational Supports: Mapping Funding Discrepancies Across the Province”

by Fady Shanouda and Nadia Kanani

published in Action Speaks Louder, Winter 2016 Edition (re-printed below)

The Bursary for Students with Disabilities and the Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Persons with Permanent Disabilities (BSWD/CSG-PDSE) is a provincial and federal bursary administered by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.  The provincial/federal split is reflected financially in a 20/80% division, respectively. This means that out of the possible $10,000 of funding disabled students can apply for annually, $2,000 is provincially funded (BSWD), while $8,000 is federally funded (CSG-PDSE).

To be eligible for the BSWD-CSG/PDSE students must: have a permanent disability; qualify for OSAP ($1.00 minimum); be a Canadian citizen; and be enrolled in full-time studies (40% workload for disabled students). Even when students do meet all of this criteria, they still face various obstacles in accessing the bursary that often go unrecognized and that, in turn, limit their access to funding and support. To eliminate these barriers to access, the Ministry, along with universities and colleges, should make information about the bursary, including how funding is allocated and the process through which funding decisions are made, easily available and accessible to students. We have yet to see this level of transparency concerning the bursary and, as a result, Students for Barrier-free Access (SBA) has initiated action to learn more about the administration of the bursary.

Copies of the manuals that outline the management of the bursary are not available to students. Students have been denied access to the manuals when we have requested copies. Counselors and staff deny our requests for information arguing that the documents are government issued and, therefore, that they have no legal right to distribute them without the government’s approval.

This lack of transparency, and the idiosyncratic decision-making that is part of this process, could no longer go uninvestigated. Therefore, on May 27, 2015, SBA filed two Freedom of Information (FOI) requests: one with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities; and, the other with the University of Toronto’s internal information and privacy office. The University denied our FOI request, suggesting that they did not have to comply with the request because the Ministry developed the documents and, therefore, owned the copyright. The Ministry, however, did comply with our request, and SBA received copies of 15 manuals spanning the same number of years, from 2000-2001 to 2014-2015 (SBA has since filed for and received the manual for 2015-2016).

With only a few months since the request was received, SBA has not yet completed a full and in-depth  analysis of the manuals. We are diligently working our way through each manual to determine how the bursary operates at the Ministry level, and the changes that have been introduced and implemented over time. Still, our preliminary analysis has lead to one significant and astonishing finding. We have discovered that each university or college can set internal caps or maximum funds for each specific disability support that are different from the Ministry’s caps, as long as they are below the Ministry’s caps. For example, note-taking services are covered under the bursary. The Ministry cap for note-taking for the 2015-2016 year could be set at $250 per course. However, York University could choose to set a cap of $200 per course for note-taking while the University of Toronto’s cap could be set at $150. As long as both caps do not exceed the maximum set by the Ministry they would be in compliance with Ministry guidelines. Thus, in effect, disabled students in different parts of the province could be receiving different levels of funding for the same service. What this amounts to is an inequitable distribution of funding for services for disabled students across the province.

The fact that each University or college could set their own internal caps or maximum funds also leads us to think that there must be internal manuals at each university and college that governs the internal operations of the bursary and sets these internal caps for services. Therefore, there may be two sets of manuals, those developed and distributed by the Ministry to the universities and colleges and that set the maximums for the province, and another manual or guideline developed by universities and colleges and that govern the internal operations of both the disability office and financial aid office. Evidence of these internal manuals are still missing; and if no internal manuals or guidelines exist, then there is no clear sense of how disability and financial aid officers make decisions around the bursary. Having consulted with students in different parts of the province, we know that students are receiving significantly different information in regards to the maximum level of funding for particular education-related disability supports. Whether or not internal manuals exist, and there is still nothing to suggest that the internal manuals do not exist, officers in universities and colleges are making decisions at their discretion and disabled students, in different parts of the province, are still receiving different levels of funding for the same type of service.

Within this complex process, disabled students are expected to be compliant with the decision they receive and the funding level the university or college allocates to them, even if this limits the level of support and services they can receive (such as with the note-taking example above). This labyrinthian process excludes disabled students from making informed decisions since it remains unclear how decisions are made, who is responsible for making these decisions, and what appeal process, if any, exists.

SBA is moving forward by filing 20 FOI requests to every university in the province, asking for the internal manual or guidelines that governs the administration of the bursary. There are also plans to file similar FOI requests with every college in the province. SBA received files, this past week from a second FOI request for internal documents from the University of Toronto; the successful request included over a thousand pages. Analysis of these documents will take some time, but SBA plans to release its findings sometime in the new year. If you are interested in assisting us in this process, please consider joining our Advocacy Committee (contact: sba.advocacycoordinator@gmail.com).

 

view past issues of Action Speaks Louder at https://issuu.com/opirgtoronto/stacks/2d18021b16254c18bcae9e682aa2cc81

Disabled Students’ Orientation

Join us for a student-run orientation for disabled students and allies. Whether you are full-time or part-time, new or returning, an international or transfer student, this orientation is for you!

 

Topics covered at the orientation will include an overview of accessible space at University of Toronto’s St George Campus, a discussion on Accessibility Services and supports available to students, and an introduction to Students for Barrier-Free Access’ resources and services. Come meet other disabled students, as well as SBA board members, staff and volunteers.

 

Date: Wednesday October 14, 2015

Time: 2:00-4:00pm

Location: O.I.S.E., 252 Bloor Street West, Room 5150

Everyone welcome!

Wheelchair accessible. ASL and live-captioning will be available.

Accessible and gender-neutral washroom located on the same floor as the event room.

Please note that this will be a scent-free space.

Reclaiming Our Minds and Bodies: Intermingling Disability Communities

Mark your calendars: February 27th, 28th, and March 1st the Reclaiming Our Minds and Bodies: Intermingling Disability Communities Conference will be taking place. This three day conference brings together activists, academics, community members and service providers to explore and honour multiple understandings of disabilities. Join us for a large variety of workshops, panels, and performances!

Registration is Free. For more information or to reserve your spot visit: https://reclaimingourbodiesandminds.wordpress.com/

Oliver Martin Memorial Trust Fund Assessment Scholarships (psycho-educational assessments)

Application Process to Re-open May 1, 2014

The International Dyslexia Association Ontario Branch (ONBIDA) announce that they we will be offering scholarships for psycho-educational assessments for students who struggle learning to read and write as their primary area of difficulty. Continue reading Oliver Martin Memorial Trust Fund Assessment Scholarships (psycho-educational assessments)

Breaking the Cycle of Secrets and Discarding the Robe of Shame: Wellness Gathering for Survivors of Childhood Sexual abuse

Date: Monday June 23rd 6-8pm

Location: Stonegate Community Health Centre

Be encouraged as our guest speakers share their stories of thriving past trauma. Your voice is the most powerful and effective tool known to mankind. You can free someone from solitary confinement. Continue reading Breaking the Cycle of Secrets and Discarding the Robe of Shame: Wellness Gathering for Survivors of Childhood Sexual abuse