Ontario Investing in More Accessible Communities

Applications now open for the 2024-25 EnAbling Change Program

The Ontario government is investing up to $1.5 million in the EnAbling Change Program this year to support not-for-profits, municipalities, and other organizations across the province that are developing and implementing innovative initiatives to make Ontario accessible to people of all abilities.

“By working together with businesses, organizations and communities, we can build a stronger and more accessible Ontario,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. “The EnAbling Change Program allows organizations to develop tailored supports to ensure Ontario is open and inclusive to everyone.”

Applications for the 2024-25 EnAbling Change Program are open now until June 27, 2024. Eligible projects can include those that increase the accessibility of community programs and services, as well as online initiatives, educational tools, and public outreach programs that help communities and businesses understand the benefits of accessibility and inclusion.

Examples of projects currently funded through the 2023-24 program include:

  • BioTalent Canada is receiving approximately $150,000 to promote equitable employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
  • The Geneva Centre for Autism is receiving approximately $112,500 to create The Inclusive Education Resource Hub to support better outcomes and experiences for neurodiverse students in publicly funded education.
  • The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum is receiving approximately $100,000 to develop a guide for employers on recruiting and retaining apprentices with disabilities in the skilled trades.
  • Toronto Metropolitan University is receiving approximately $150,000 to develop, pilot and disseminate a curriculum called The Enabling Accessible Healthcare Delivery project, which aims to foster accessible and sensitive health care for disabled people.

The Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility’s Age-friendly and accessibility grants web page has information on how to apply for the 2024-25 EnAbling Change Program.

Quick Facts

  • The EnAbling Change Program started in 1999 and has supported more than 230 projects across Ontario. It provides funding to municipalities, not-for-profit, industry and professional associations across a range of sectors.

Additional Resources

Breaking the Stigma: Join the “At Least Five Ways” Campaign

Are you ready to make a difference in combating the stigma of homelessness? Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges and Universities, in collaboration with Dr. Carrie Anne Marshall from Western University, is launching an exciting initiative called the “At Least Five Ways” campaign. This campaign aims to engage youth and young adults across Ontario in generating ideas to reduce the stigma associated with homelessness.

What’s the Campaign About?

Funded by the Ministry of Ontario Colleges and Universities, this initiative focuses on raising awareness and fostering discussions about homelessness in Canada. Dr. Carrie Anne Marshall’s research project at Western University, called the “Peer to Community (P2C)” model, is at the heart of this campaign. The P2C model aims to help individuals integrate into their communities after experiencing homelessness.

The “At Least Five Ways” Campaign: How Does It Work?

Every May, youth and young adults aged 16-30 in Ontario are invited to submit videos of 2-5 minutes in length. These videos should propose “At Least Five Ways” to reduce the stigma of homelessness in Canadian communities. Submissions can be made by individuals or teams.

Participating in the Campaign: What You Need to Know

  • Eligibility: Youth and young adults aged 16-30 residing in Ontario are eligible to submit videos. Both individuals and teams can participate.
  • Video Content: To protect privacy, only animated videos are accepted. Videos should not contain personal information that could compromise individuals’ safety.
  • Submission Deadline: Videos must be submitted by May 31st, 2024.
  • Video Creation Tools: Several free programs are available for creating animated videos, including Canva, Adobe Express, Powtoon, Moovly, and Renderforest.

Recognition and Awards

The winning video will be featured on the P2C website and social media pages. The individual or team behind the winning video will receive a $200 award and a certificate recognizing their contribution to reducing homelessness stigma in our communities.

How to Submit Your Video

When your video is ready, use the following link to submit: Submit Your Video Here

Campaign Timeline

The submitted videos will be circulated on social media and the P2C website throughout June 2024.

Join the Movement!

Let’s work together to break the stigma of homelessness. Your creative ideas can make a real difference. Get your videos ready, submit them by May 31st, and let’s spread awareness and compassion throughout our communities!

Learn More

Visit the campaign website to learn more: At Least Five Ways Campaign

For any questions, feel free to contact at: AtLeastFiveWays@peer2community.ca

Let’s make change happen!

Trauma- & Violence-Informed & Equity Promoting Research & Knowledge Mobilization to Support London’s Whole of Community System Response to Health & Homelessness (February 16, 2024) 

 High Level Summary of Key Discussions & Next Steps

 On February 16th, 2024 CRHESI hosted an event on the importance of generating and mobilizing research and evaluation knowledge in ways informed by trauma-and violence informed care (TVIC) and equity principles. Panel discussions and small groups centered on the creation and implementation of rigourous and impactful evaluation methods, while also exploring strategic, respectful and effective approaches to knowledge sharing and use. 

This synthesis highlights the importance of building relationships, managing expectations, and effectively communicating narratives surrounding health and homelessness. It emphasizes the need for community involvement, TVIC approaches, and equitable representation in research and storytelling. Through respectful engagement, diverse perspectives, and transparent communication, efforts can be made to counter stigma, shift negative perceptions, and promote positive change in addressing health and homelessness in London. 

Trauma and Violence-Informed Care 

Trauma-informed care establishes a safe environment for service users by recognizing the effects of trauma and its close association with health and behaviour, focusing on understanding rather than eliciting or treating individual trauma. Expanding on this approach, trauma- and violence-informed care (TVIC) acknowledges the intersecting impacts of systemic and interpersonal violence, as well as structural inequities, on a person’s life. It emphasizes both historical and ongoing violence and their traumatic effects, shifting the focus to encompass a person’s experiences of past and present violence, including marginalized social circumstances. 

Embedding TVIC Principles in Producing & Sharing Evaluation Knowledge: Overarching Considerations

  • Collaborate to design questions, and collect and use data efficiently, effectively and safely. 
  • Evaluation questions and designs should focus on addressing structural and systemic violence and be analysed and interpreted to show the impact of these factors on individuals and groups. 
  • Shift from identifying problems to understanding ongoing issues and traumatic impacts. 
  • Acknowledge trauma’s complexity influenced by genetic, biological, and social factors and how it can look in research interactions – prepare all staff accordingly. 
  • Recognize substance use as a continuum and address stigma as it often causes the most harm. 

What to Evaluate about London’s New Housing Support Interventions: 

(Hubs, Highly Supportive Housing, Encampment Strategy, etc.) 

  • Emphasis on critical role of these supports in connecting with and meeting people where they’re at and moving them to the kind of housing they need:
    • describe and evaluate these pathways and outcomes across intervention types;
      • importance of individual and intersectional experiences, and collective action;
      • use data purposefully and transparently;
    • demonstrate (cost-)effectiveness of interventions to influence public policy and to highlight barriers.
  • Examine the impact of new approaches and spaces on staff transitions, wellbeing and job satisfaction.
  • Initial Hubs (youth, women, Indigenous) aim to fill most pressing needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – include this framing in interpretation of findings.

Managing Expectations, Hopes and Fears: 

  • Manage expectations about what can and might be found by maintaining communication.
  • Collaboration between academia and the community to address biases in data interpretation.
  • Concerns about political manipulation of data and importance of honesty in evaluation.
  • Significance of telling accurate stories to reflect realities of marginalized communities.

Specific Strategies for Safe & Inclusive Participation: 

  • Use existing relationships to help recruit; ensure fair payment, though people should not feel they can’t afford to decline to get money or service (i.e., recruitment arms’ length from staff but using their advice).
  • Address concerns about privacy and confidentiality during recruitment; build data protection into all practices and strategies.
  • Let participants tell their stories but ensure support is available during data collection, interpretation (e.g., member checking) and when data are made public (anticipatory guidance to avoid surprises).
  • Train all research staff in TVIC, cultural safety & humility, and inclusive and respectful communication with all participants; emphasize (e.g., role play) strategies to build trust and comfort.

Sharing and Mobilizing Knowledge: 

  • Emphasize inclusivity, respect, timeliness and collaboration in communication and engagement efforts.
  • Use clear, concise and destigmatizing language and point to systems and structures that need to change (i.e., don’t use data to blame staff or service users for their individual circumstances or behaviours).
  • Use data enhanced with narrative and share in multiple formats (including photos, art, poetry, videos, song, etc.) to tell the story of the work in ways accessible and safe for all involved.
  • Proactively understand public concerns and expectations and develop a communications plan to prepare the public (and politicians) for various types of findings.
  • Continuously evolve and iterate knowledge-sharing strategies.
  • Actively create and “field test” de-stigmatizing, equity-promoting messages for the London community, particularly regarding health and homelessness, regardless of study findings.

Engaging Indigenous & Racialized People and Groups Across Activities: 

  • Listen, build relationships, and support people and groups (as they’re willing) in decision-making.
  • Include diverse perspectives, decolonizing approaches, and ensure benefit for those facing most harm.

Next Steps for CRHESI’s H&H Facilitators

  1. Convene first 4 research/evaluation teams and outline key evaluation questions with input from Tables:
    • Experiences and Outcomes of Defined Groups
    • Experiences and Outcomes of Direct Service Workers
    • Systems, Structures, Processes, and Cost of Care
    • Overall WCR Process Review
  2. Support each team in developing research/evaluation plans, ethics protocols, funding applications, etc.
  3. Support London CARES and LHSC to document their outcomes in the new Dundas St. highly supportive housing site.
  4. Develop templates, guides and trainings for researchers/evaluators to ensure safety, consent, privacy, confidentiality, and community engagement in research, evaluation and knowledge sharing processes.
  5. Continued efforts towards inclusive and respectful communication and engagement, especially with local Indigenous partners and the new Indigenous Reference Table

Speak on It, featuring Michaëlle Jean

Designed to showcase the diversity of Black Excellence across disciplines and professions, our Afrocentric speakers’ series called Speak on It! aims to acknowledge and appreciate the plurality of Black expertise and experiences. In this vein, the Office of the President at Western University has invited the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean to close out Black History Month and the Robbins-Ollivier speakers’ series.

Feb. 29, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Location: McKellar Room, UCC

Michaëlle Jean was appointed Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada in 2005; the first Black woman to reach the highest constitutional office in the country, a function she served with extraordinary dedication for a five-year term. At the end of this mandate, on October 1, 2010, the United Nations immediately called upon her, as UNESCO Special Envoy, to support reconstruction efforts in Haiti, her native country devastated that same year by a brutal earthquake. She also served as Chancellor of the University of Ottawa from 2011 to 2014. In 2014, Michaëlle Jean was elected Secretary General of La Francophonie, the first woman to lead this multilateral organization comprising 88 states and governments on five continents. A seasoned stateswoman and diplomat, her words serve to convene goodwill everywhere in the multilateral sphere, in every UN forum, from New York to Geneva, all the way to the Security Council, as well as within the European Union, the European Parliament, the OECD, the African Union. She is best known and appreciated for her convictions, her deep sense of universal humanistic values, the principles and rules of democracy, the rule of law, justice, and fundamental human rights and freedoms, which she never betrays.


Welcoming Two New Faces to CRHESI: Meet Eleanor Gebrou and Kelly Barnes

We are thrilled to introduce you to two remarkable individuals who have recently joined the Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion (CRHESI) family. As we continue our mission to address health equity and social inclusion issues in our community, their expertise and passion will undoubtedly strengthen our efforts toward positive change. Please see their short bios below for more information.

Eleanor Gebrou

I am a facilitator, community-researcher, and an educator with a formal background in psychology, local government and journalism— my skills include strategic planning, evaluation and administration. Outside of my work in non-profit and governance, I have been teaching in the BMT and Health Systems Management programs at Fanshawe College for 3+ years. I also moonlight as a singer/ songwriter, and I’ve been lucky enough to find ways to intersect my artistic endeavors with my work in the impact sector a few times over. With 10+ years of leadership and project management experience, and a history of diverse scholastic success— I am uniquely poised to carry out complex public-facing projects. I am excited to contribute to the impactful work at CRHESI and leverage my skills to make a positive difference in the lives of Londoners experiencing homelessness.

Kelly Barnes

I am a Social Psychologist by training and a passionate advocate for evidence-based social change. I studied attitudes toward immigrants and their settlement outcomes under Dr. Victoria Esses at Western. I have volunteered with the London and Middlesex Local Immigration Partnership for over a decade, including several years as lead of the annual I am London campaign. Since completing my PhD in 2015, I have taught in the Psychology Department at Western and Kings, worked in Social Housing for the City of London, and spent several years as a policy researcher in the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy Office and Ministry of the Solicitor General. For the last four years, I led assessment efforts at an educational non-profit called The Carpentries that teaches researchers to code so they can do more efficient and reproducible research. I live in Old South with my husband, 2-year-old son, and our cat. In my free time I love to cook, paint, and play video and tabletop role playing games. I love London and am so honoured to be part of the Whole of Community Response to Homelessness that will so directly impact the lives of those facing homelessness and our whole community.

Join Us in Welcoming Eleanor and Kelly

As Research and Evaluation Managers, Eleanor and Kelly will spearhead our efforts within the Whole of Community System Response to Health & Homelessness (WCSRHH). With their combined expertise and enthusiasm, we are confident that they will play pivotal roles in advancing our mission of promoting health equity and social inclusion in our community.

We invite you to join us in extending a warm welcome to Kelly Barnes and Eleanor Gebrou as they embark on their journey with CRHESI. Together, with our collective dedication and expertise, we will continue to work toward creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

Stay tuned for updates on our ongoing initiatives and the impactful contributions of Eleanor and Kelly.