familyWORKS – Invitation to a discussion about Real Work for Real Pay


familyWORKS invites you to join us in our
‘Conversation about Real Work’
November 14th, 2009
6 pm – 9 pm

Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion

2709 Norland Avenue

Topics for discussion:

  • What does ‘Real Work for Real Pay’ mean to families?
  • What have families been doing to support their members to work?
  • What are families’ thoughts, concerns, and words of wisdom?
  • What has familyWORKS been up to?

familyWORKS governance group is: Kevin Lusignan, Lois Godfrey, Nelly Wong, Masa Takei, Karen Bruce, Marvin Bruce and John Tsang

Cellphone Industry Code of Conduct


Man you want to talk about red tape….. have you ever tried to truly understand your cell bill?

I recently read an article in the paper about a Code of Conduct for wireless telephone companies. The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) is an advocacy organization who has the interests of the big cell-phone companies at heart. They have created a code of conduct that outlines how the big cellphone companies will treat their customers. 

If you believe that the code has been broken, ostensibly you can complain to the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services Inc. (CCTS). The CCTS is a "non-profit" wholly funded by the cellphone industry. It might be helpful to use this process and at the same time it is difficult to believe that they could advocate for the needs of the consumer given they could be biting the hand that feeds them.

The Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has authoured a report on the situation that you may find informative.

It perhaps is wise to lodge a complaint with the CRTC  and at the same time with the Consumer’s Association of Canada.

My sense is that the the big cell companies need to be properly regulated for the rights of consumers to be protected. It certainly has been my experience that we get gouged in Canada by the wireless carriers like nowhere else.  If you would like to express your thoughts on the regulation of cell-phone companies you can contact the Minister of Heritage, the Honorable James Moore, M.P..


First Nations People with Disabilities


If you or your family member is of First Nations ancestry you may find the BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society helpful. They provide information, employment and advocacy services to people with disabilities within the First Nations community.

Top 10 ICBC Tips


Are you dealing with ICBC? Remember, they are professionals who deal with ICBC issues every day. Moreover, they are not acting in your best interests even though they are friendly and helpful so keep this in mind when you first pick up the telephone to call them.

1. Be prepared and calm when you call them. Make a list of what you want to say.

2. Remember, that your statement can and will be used against you so be careful what you say. Be clear and concise.

3. Make sure that your statement accurately states what happened and that you agree with it.

4. Don’t be in a hurry, especially if you have an injury. It may take months to clearly understand the impact of the injury on your life. Be detailed when you list your injuries. Generally speaking, the sooner you settle a claim, the less compensation you receive.

5. Collect and safeguard the evidence. Pictures, documents, witnesses, etc.

6. Keep a diary if you have been injured. Chronicle your daily aches and pains and the limits on your daily activities. A diary helps to keep track of the extent of your injuries as time marches on and memories fade.

7. ICBC will be notified every time you visit your doctor regarding your injuries.

8. ICBC will conduct surveillance on you, both in person and on the internet. So be careful what you do and what you say online (Facebook, etc). Moreover, they will talk to your friends, neighbors and acquaintences. So give them a heads up.

9. When dealing with ICBC use the internal review process and speak to a manager. Don’t be afraid to go up the hiearchy. 

10. Visit because they have a great deal of information on how to be a good self-advocate when dealing with ICBC.

Consult on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities


The Government of Canada has launched an online consultation on the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities.

You have to register and then you are given a password to access the survey and share your thoughts. You have until July 31, 2009 to complete the consultation.

I hope that the BC Government adheres to the convention and that the Federal Government uses its powers to ensure compliance in all of its provinces.

What do you think?

ICBC and Chiropractors


ICBC has embarked on a pilot project that allows for people injured in an accident to get up to $900 treatment. Problem is that ICBC now requires the chiropractor to release your medical files that they can use against you if you end up in court.

So the tip here is… instruct your chiropractor to black out information that is not pertinent to your current injury and watch him while he does it.


No Summer Camps for Kids with Disabilities this Year


The Vancouver Sun reported that summer camp fees for Children with disabilities has been cut this year.

The total cost of the program is $360,000 and I suppose things must be pretty bad for the Liberals to be so parsimonious when it comes to kids with disabilities and a bit of summertime enjoyment.

You can write Rich Coleman a note to share your feelings on this topic.

Advocacy Tips for People With Autism


If you are looking for advocacy information for a loved one with autism in British Columbia all the same advocacy tips apply. However, the rules with respect to eligibility for services are important to know before you get started.

One place to start is the Autism Society of British Columbia where they provide advocacy information about services for people who have autism.

Another place for support is ACT (Autism Community Training) and they have a Parents Manual that is very well done especially around the importance of advocacy from families to create change within the school system.

Who else out there has advocacy advice for people who need help? Please join UNTAPE and share your knowledge today.

Representation Agreements


Having a Representation Agreement in place has made day-to-day matters for my handicapped loved one so much easier to manage. 

This had included dealing with systems and processes such as:  government offices, civil legal, medical, financial, housing, applications, etc.

It is easy to put in effect and affordable.   We would recommend it to any family who has a loved one with a disability or senior citizen. 

For further information contact:

Representation Agreement & Resource Centre (RARC) or Nidus Registry, 411 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver, BC   V6B 1X4

Phone:  (604) 408-7414




Vote in BC – For people with Disabilities


Make sure you vote. To find out more about the services available to voters with special needs, view the six-minute Meeting your Needs video on the Elections BC website.

Voting options
Advance voting – Voters who need extra time or assistance to register or vote are encouraged to vote during the advance voting period.  Advance voting takes place over four days and is usually less busy than election day.  All advance voting places are wheelchair accessible.  Advance voting is available Wednesday, May 6 to Saturday, May 9, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (local time). General Voting Day is May 12, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Pacific time).

Vote by mail – Voters who are unable to visit a general or advance voting location may vote by mail.  A Vote by Mail package can be requested now at or from any district electoral office after their offices open on April 6.  District Electoral Officers will begin sending packages to voters after the election is called on April 14.

Curbside voting – Voters who arrive at a voting place but are unable to enter due to an illness or injury, or because of the building design, may vote at curbside.  The voter simply needs to alert an election official upon their arrival and voting can be administered outside the voting place.

Register now

Voters should register before the election is called. This will reduce the time needed to vote and will cut down on paper work at the voting place. Until April 21, voters can register online at or by phone at 1-800-661-8683 or 1-888-456-5448 (TTY). The online voter registration system is compatible with screen reading software and meets W3C standards.

Information Officers
The Information Officer is the Elections BC official who greets voters at the voting place. Information Officers have received special training in assisting voters with disabilities. Voters who want help with voting should identify themselves to the Information Officer.

Making a Mark
If a voter makes a mistake when marking a ballot, the voter can return the ballot to the election official and get a replacement.  Voters are encouraged to get a replacement ballot if they are unsure whether their intention is clear on their marked ballot.
Election officials have taken an oath of secrecy and can assist voters to sign voting documents and to mark their ballots.  Voters can also ask a friend or relative to assist them.

Voters with Visual Impairments

A plastic ballot template is available for voters with visual impairments.  The template holds the ballot firmly in place and has holes that expose the marking area for each candidate, alongside raised numeric and Braille numbers. This template works for both the election ballot and the referendum ballot. Voters have several options to review the ballot:
1.    Voters can view a poster-sized large-type list of candidates
2.    Braille readers can use a Braille list of candidates
3.    An election official can read the order of the candidates on the ballot to the voter who can then decide who to vote for
With the plastic template and knowing the order of the candidates, voters with visual impairments can vote independently.

Need more information?

Elections BC has a toll-free phone line and TTY service     (see Register now, above) to provide personal assistance to voters

For more information visit Elections BC’s website at or contact Kenn Faris, Manager, Event Communications at or 250-387-2949.