Type your search

Accessible & Inclusive Supports & Services

Accommodating People with Disabilities in Exercising their Right to Decide – guide, 2023

This is a planning guide to assist people with disabilities, and their supporters, in thinking about how best to support and accommodate a person in making decisions. The purpose is to assist people to direct their own lives, choose what is best for them, and have others respect their choices. In other words, to enjoy … Continued

Primer on Disability and Public Policy – report, 2023

This primer looks at what public policy is, how it is made, how it impacts people with disabilities, and how disability communities can engage in the policy making process. As more and more of the current generation of disability communities’ leaders and senior policy makers in disability policy step back and make way for a … Continued

Primer on Disability Income – report, 2023

Focused on the income security system in Canada, this policy primer sets out the elements of the current disability income system, the core principles that should guide reform, and the challenges linked to eligibility, policy coherence, adequacy and disincentives. It explains key concepts and provides the policy language that we hope will enable informed conversation … Continued

The Accessibility Exchange: News Site

Stay up to date with news, updates, blog posts, and resources. Get ready to create your profile for our launch! Click here to sign up today!

The Accessibility Exchange: Instructional Videos

Click here to watch: About The Accessibility Exchange Click here to watch: How this works for individuals with disabilities, Deaf people, and supporters Click here to watch: How this works for Community Organizations Click here to watch: How this works for Federally Regulated Organizations

The Accessibility Exchange: User Testimonial Playlists

Click here to watch: About The Accessibility Exchange Individual testimonials below! Click here to watch: Noah Papatsie – What I think of The Accessibility Exchange Click here to watch: Selma Kourdri – What I think of The Accessibility Exchange Click here to watch: Sherron & Isaiah Grant – What I think of The Accessibility Exchange … Continued

Help Wanted – Ending Sheltered Work in Canada

About the report This is a report on research undertaken as part of People First of Canada’s initiative Help Wanted – Sheltered Workshops and the Steps to Ending Employment Segregation in Canada. The project aims to build awareness about the ongoing realities of sheltered work across Canada, create alternatives to sheltered work, and build capacity … Continued

Inclusive Violence Against Women Shelters for Older Women with Disabilities and Older Deaf Women: A Resource Guide by Springtide Resources

This best practice guide was written by Doris Rajan, Director of Social Development at IRIS, for Springtide Resources. It offers information to shelter workers to learn about the nature of violence and barriers older women with disabilities and older Deaf women experience in accessing shelter services, in order to equip shelters to proactively address these … Continued

Advancing the Right to Legal Capacity

Implementation Blueprint for Community-Based Pilots for Supporting Decision Making

This is a technical resource to assist project designers in developing the detailed programmatic framework for designing and implementing a community-based initiative for supporting decision making. It is intended to assist technical assistance teams, researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders understand the theory and concepts behind community-led initiatives for supporting decision making.

The Equal Right to Decide – Tools for Community Change

IRIS has been working for some years to develop resources and strategies to advance the equal right to decide for people who live with an intellectual, cognitive or communication disability mental health issues. Many people who live these disabilities are denied the right to make basic decisions about their lives – about where they will … Continued

Community-led Initiatives Supporting the Right to Decide – A Readiness Assessment Tool

This guide is designed to assist community organizations assess their readiness to implement strategies for supporting people in decision making. It looks at each of the ‘core functions’ for community-based initiatives in the Framework guide and asks about the enablers, barriers and strategies need to ensure effective capacity to deliver each function.

Community-led Initiatives Supporting the Right to Decide – A Framework for Design and Implementation

This guide presents the core functions of community-based initiatives to support people in making decisions, presented in this document, provides a helpful framework to begin the dialogue in your community. The first step is to convene community organizations and advocates who want to partner in launching a local initiative for the right to decide.

My Life My Decisions – Course Overview

My Life My Decisions is an introduction to the right to decide, and the key concepts of supports for decisions, supported decision-making arrangements, and the duty to accommodate a person. Designed to be provided online or in person, this course has information and exercises for participants to learn about this issue and to begin to … Continued

The Equal Right to Decide – Designing a Pilot Projet Initiative

People with intellectual, cognitive and psychosocial or mental health disabilities often face barriers to the equal right to ‘legal capacity’. Legal capacity is the power to make and direct your own decisions about your personal life, health care, and money. IRIS has been working on pilot projects to help people exercise their legal capacity in … Continued

The Equal Right to Decide in Canada: Closing the Gap

In 2019, IRIS completed a study on how people with developmental, cognitive, and psychosocial disabilities lose the right to decide in their lives, and what can be done to address this growing problem.

Growing Number of Canadians Vulnerable to Losing the Right to Decide

In 2019, IRIS completed a study on how people with developmental, cognitive, and psychosocial disabilities lose the right to decide in their lives, and what can be done to address this growing problem

Supported Decision Making A Roadmap For Reform In Newfoundland & Labrador – Summary Report

IRIS was engaged by the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living, on behalf of the provincial ‘Steering Committee on Citizenship and Legal Capacity for All’ to: identify key issues and barriers to legal capacity; recommend directions for reform; and outline a ‘roadmap’ to implement them. The review involved focus groups and key informant interviews … Continued

Supported Decision Making A Roadmap For Reform In Newfoundland & Labrador – Final Report

IRIS was engaged by the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living, on behalf of the provincial ‘Steering Committee on Citizenship and Legal Capacity for All’ to: identify key issues and barriers to legal capacity; recommend directions for reform; and outline a ‘roadmap’ to implement them. The review involved focus groups and key informant interviews … Continued

Primer on a New Disability Income Benefit

The 2020 Throne Speech announced the federal government’s plan to introduce a new disability income benefit modelled on the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for seniors.  The primer scans the income support landscape in Canada and explores where and how the disability benefit might fit. It asks a series of questions about eligibility, benefit levels, administration and relationship to other income benefits. … Continued

Policy Brief: The Equal Right to Decide in Canada – Closing the Gap

Over 50,000 Canadians are currently under guardianship – a system that takes away their power, choice, and control over their own lives. Many more Canadians who rely on decision-making supports and accommodations are vulnerable to losing their equal right to decide because assisted approaches are not supported in law and public policy. This policy brief outlines findings … Continued

Evoking Human Agency and Autonomy Where Interpretation Meets Indeterminacy

Presented by Michael Bach, 2013, for Essex Autonomy Project Conference, London, England.

Looking Differently at Disability and Decision Making

Presented by Michael Bach, 2015, for Open Society Foundations.

The Right to Legal Capacity under the UN Convention

Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) recognizes the right to recognition as a person before the law and the right to legal capacity on an equal basis with others, without discrimination on the basis of disability—not only as the capacity to have rights, but the capacity to … Continued

Robust Safeguards in Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)

Concerns with Expanding Access to Medical Assistance in Dying: A Review of Evidence

IRIS has issued a review titled, “Concerns with Expanding Access to Medical Assistance in Dying: A Review of Evidence”. This review of evidence examines a wide range of evidence that points to substantial legal, ethical and social concerns with expanding access to medical assistance in dying for mature minors, through advance directives, and based solely on … Continued

Safe and Inclusive Communities

Trafficking & Indigenous Women with Intellectual, Cognitive and Psychosocial Disabilities – report, 2023

The Trafficking & Indigenous Women with Intellectual, Cognitive and Psychosocial Disabilities: Promising Preventative Practices initiative seeks to learn more about the specificity of these experiences to develop and implement culturally and disability sensitive promising practices for potential community supporters and women and gender diverse people themselves. The first step in developing promising practices that will … Continued

Roadmap for the National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Gender-Based Violence

This report is the result of intense strategic engagement and analysis that took place over three months in early 2021 with anti-violence experts from across Canada representing 1000 person-years of experience and knowledge in the areas of violence against women (VAW) and gender-based violence (GBV). IRIS was a contributor to this report.

Serious Problems Experienced by Diverse People with Disabilities: Western Canada – A Qualitative Study

This report was written by IRIS’ Doris Rajan for Justice Canada during the onset of the pandemic in 2020.  Justice Canada, in partnership with other federal government departments and Statistics Canada, conduct the general population Canadian Legal Problems Survey, however it was determined that there was a need to gather more information on certain marginalized … Continued

Keeping Safe! Preventing and Responding to Violence against People with Disabilities and Deaf People

This guide is a result of many years of anti-violence applied research and community development initiatives that the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society (IRIS) has been involved with over the last three decades. Specifically, the information in this guide builds on access to justice resources developed in the late 1990s through … Continued

Local Safety & Inclusion Solidarity Networks – Infosheet

Since 2012, IRIS has been working with local partners in various provinces and territories across the country to address issues such as; gender-based violence, access to justice and housing disparity. Given that IRIS provides policy research and social development leadership in pursuit of inclusion, human rights and well-being for people with disabilities and other marginalized … Continued

Justice Denied: People with Disabilities Face Multiple Barriers in Accessing Justice

IRIS recently completed a community-driven access to justice initiative (https://irisinstitute.ca/resource/access-to-justice-for-indigenous-and-racialized-victims-and-survivors-of-crime-with-intellectual-psychosocial-and-cognitive-disabilities/) and hosted an online forum “Access to Justice for Marginalized People with Disabilities” (https://irisinstitute.ca/2020/12/11/panel-presentation-videos-access-to-justice-for-indigenous-racialized-and-2slgbtq-people-with-disabilities/).   A key finding our many years of work in this area is that law enforcement is not well equipped to effectively support people with psychosocial, intellectual and cognitive disabilities in … Continued

Access to Justice for Indigenous and Racialized Victims and Survivors of Crime with Intellectual, Psychosocial and Cognitive Disabilities

Phase II: Community Safe House: Prevention and Promotion of Responsive Legal and Justice Systems


This report outlines the results of research conducted through a collaborative initiative led by Riverdale Immigrant Women’s Centre, the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation and the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society, entitled: Toronto – A Place to Call Our Own: Empowering Women to Take Action for Affordable Housing. The initiative … Continued

Women With Disabilities And Housing Brief

Doris Rajan, Director of Social Development at IRIS, has written a brief for the Learning Network at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children at the University of Western Ontario. Funded by the Government of Ontario and commissioned by DAWN-RAFH Canada, this brief explores the barriers that women with disabilities … Continued

People with Mental Health and Cognitive Disabilities & Access to the Justice System

People with disabilities experience disproportionate challenges when interacting with the justice system, both as victims of interpersonal and domestic violence and also when they are involved as potential offenders. This literature review identifies the challenges people with mental health and cognitive disabilities experience when interacting with the justice system, in order to consolidate current information … Continued

Six Key Elements for an Inclusive Labour Market

Despite research suggesting the positive benefits associated with the employment of people with developmental disabilities historically, this group of individuals has disproportionately low levels of job attainment.  This research paper focuses on the positive outcomes of those who have employed individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as best practices that have been implemented, and explores … Continued

Income Sources Report IRIS & CCD

Statistics show that people with disabilities of working age are more likely to live below the poverty line than those without disabilities. The clearest factor in the income disparities between those with disabilities and those without is the component of social assistance. This report provides a statistical look at the personal income sources of people … Continued

IRIS Disability Inclusive Lens

A guide developed to aid policymakers in creating policy and program initiatives that are inclusive to individuals with disabilities. Areas which the research focuses on include: poverty levels, inadequate education, support services geared for people with disabilities, violence and abuse, and denial of autonomy and self-determination. By exploring these realms, the paper is able to … Continued

Employment Program Best Practices

This paper is a review of best practices that have been implemented in organizations who support persons with disabilities in the labour market. The report includes tips on how to overcome barriers which may arise when one tries to employ individuals with disabilities. By demonstrating key socio-demographic and disability-specific factors, the aim of the research … Continued

Youth in Transition

A literature review focusing on youth with disabilities and their transition from school to work and school to post-secondary education. Using research from the United States and the United Kingdom, the paper seeks to identify the unique situations and circumstances faced by youth with disabilities. By taking a deeper look, the paper discusses the lack … Continued

Intellectual Disability and Employment

This report looks at the employment situation of people with intellectual disabilities in Canada. It is based on the Participation and Activity Survey of 2006 (PALS), which has been Statistics Canada’s ‘flagship’ survey on disability. The report focuses on people who self-identified on PALS or who were identified by proxy as being told by a … Continued

Pride and Prejudice

What values and attitudes do Canadians hold on matters of impairments and handicaps, of who they think of as disabled, on what they understand to be a disability, and on which institutions in society are responsible for taking action for advancing the inclusion of persons with disabilities? To take up these questions, this paper examines … Continued

The Disability Community’s Engagement in Public Policy Processes

Click image for pdf This paper aims to develop a better understanding of how the disability community can engage more effectively among themselves and with governments so as to move public policy issues and reform agendas forward. The paper’s focus is on the participation of disability organizations and associations, and the disability policy community as … Continued

Mixed Signals

This paper provides a look at various policies, programs and practices that relate to Canadians with disabilities. The purpose is to present a sense of the state of affairs for disability organizations—service providers, consumer organizations, and advocacy groups—in contemporary Canada. The paper advances an argument for strengthening community capacity and developing active partnerships among governments, … Continued

Learning Difficulties Snapshot

The purpose of this research paper is to provide policy-relevant baseline information that will inform public policy regarding the population of people with learning and/or developmental disabilities. It explores selected demographic and other characteristics of adults 15 years and older classified as having ‘learning difficulties’. It draws from Statistics Canada’s 2001 Participation and Activity Limitation … Continued

Coming Together Report

Click image for pdf On February 13, 2008, Community Living Manitoba hosted a day long event which uncovered issues surrounding individuals with intellectual disabilities. Entitled ‘Come Together 2008’, the conference brought together police officers, government representatives, advocates and individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families. Areas which became recurring themes in the conference included the … Continued

When Bad Things Happen

This publication discusses violence, abuse and neglect of people with disabilities. Particularly, looking at women from Manitoba, the research study sets out to provide evidence that Manitoban women face unique circumstances which further marginalize them. Using focus groups, it concluded that Manitoban women are facing physical, mental and sexual mistreatment, amongst other things. Identifying ‘gray’ … Continued

CAILC Safety Symposium Report

In 2003, the Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres (CAILC) received funding from the National Crime Prevention Partnership Program, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada for “Crime Prevention and Independent Living; A Pan-Canadian Initiative for People with Disabilities”. CAILC is a non-profit, national bilingual umbrella organization supporting a network of 26 member Centres across Canada … Continued