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IRIS fosters social innovation to re-imagine inclusion and accessibility, and designs new ways to meet unmet needs. We do this by:

•Developing new community strategies to address inequality, violence and exclusion
•Designing tools and strategies to benefit and equip individuals, families and key community stakeholders
•Piloting, testing and adapting new approaches for creating inclusive and accessible services, supports and communities

Current Projects

Equal Right to Decide Demonstration Initiative

Equal Right to Decide Demonstration Initiative

Timeframe: June 2019 to June 2021

IRIS is providing technical support to organizations in eight communities across Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador to design and implement pilot community-based initiatives for support in decision making. These initiatives will demonstrate how to effectively support people with intellectual and cognitive disabilities, and people living with mental health issues, in exercising their legal capacity in health care, financial and personal life decision making.

Supported through financial and in-kind contributions from the Canadian Association for Community Living, Community Living Ontario, Inclusion Winnipeg and Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living, as well as other community partner organizations.

Accessibility in Action: Bridging Disability Communities & Regulated Entities under the Accessible Canada Act

Accessibility in Action: Bridging Disability Communities & Regulated Entities under the Accessible Canada Act

Timeframe: September 2020 to June 2022

Accessibility in Action is a two-year initiative managed by IRIS with a diverse project leadership team and implementation partners and advisors – including disability organizations with local-to-national reach, individuals representing marginalized communities (i.e. Indigenous, racialized, migrant, 2SLGBTQ+) as well as technical and legal experts.

Accessibility in Action sets out to create an online platform that will bring disability communities together with the thousands of organizations or entities who are regulated under the Accessible Canada Act of 2019. The initiative aims to help deliver on the legislation’s immense potential to mobilize effective engagement of people with disabilities and federally-regulated entities in creating an accessible and inclusive Canada that fully respects and protects the human rights of people with disabilities.

Supported by Employment and Social Development Canada.

Past Projects

Working Together: Combating Structural Violence against Indigenous, Racialized, Migrant Women and Women Labeled with Intellectual and Psychiatric Disabilities

Working Together: Combating Structural Violence against Indigenous, Racialized, Migrant Women and Women Labeled with Intellectual and Psychiatric Disabilities

Timeframe: January 2015 to December 2018

Objective: To ensure that key service providers have increased knowledge on the nature of abuse, barriers, challenges and service gaps for women in target communities and that the target women’s groups have been connected, have established a working relationship – locally and nationally, and have gained and strengthened skills to identify and respond to abuse, as well as plan for their safety.

No Woman’s Land

No Woman’s Land

Timeframe: March 2015 to March 2018

Objective: To explore the real stories of refugee women living in Ontario, their experiences of sexual violence in refugee camps prior to migration, and its traumatic effects resulting in mental health and other disabilities, through a multi-disciplinary performance piece and call to action entitled No Woman’s Land, which used dance, video and verbatim theatre.

Advancing the Right to Legal Capacity for People with Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities in Zambia

Advancing the Right to Legal Capacity for People with Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities in Zambia

Timeframe: February 2016 to February 2017

Objective: To strengthen capacity of people with mental health and intellectual disabilities, their families and the communities they live in, by developing effective community based mental health and other supports, to enable people to exercise legal capacity, resulting in social and economic inclusion.