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2018 Tribute Award

2018 Tribute Award – Partnership

Pathways Health Centre for Children

The Aamjiwnaang First Nation

The Walpole Island First Nation

The Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation

Pathways Health Centre for Children, together with the Aamjiwnaang, Walpole Island, and the Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation have undertaken important work to improve service delivery for children living in First Nations communities in Lambton County.

With startup funding from local industry partners Suncor, Esso, Shell, Nova Chemicals, and Arlanxeo, these partners successfully launched programs that deliver developmental services including speech therapy, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy, to kids and their families in their communities.

These innovative partnerships between Pathways Health Centre for Children and the First Nations communities have led to the development of community-driven models that are increasing access to services, ensuring children and families receive service in appropriate settings, in their own language, and delivered with and by Indigenous therapists.

Positive impacts are already reported for this initiative, which offers tremendous potential to improve developmental outcomes for children in First Nations communities in the future.

Empowered Kids Ontario is pleased to recognize the deserving partners whose dedication to children and youth is at the heart of these innovative and impactful programs.

2018 Tribute Award – Advocacy

Kevin McShan

For many Ontarians, finding a job can be difficult. Job candidates with a disability often find they have to compete, and also educate employers about accommodations they may need. Kevin McShan has fought that fight himself. Now he’s doing the same for others.

A natural leader, Kevin is devoting his career to promoting equality and building awareness of the untapped market of skilled individuals with disabilities. After graduating from St. Clair College where he studied Journalism, Kevin became involved in several local campaigns, created his own media consulting business, and produced the 2Man Advantage sports podcast. He served as a program development facilitator at WEareABLE, a Windsor-Essex initiative aimed at educating local business and hiring managers about the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities.

Earlier this year, Kevin was appointed by the province and by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to be Ambassador for Access Talent: Ontario’s Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities in the Windsor-Essex region, rolling out the province’s access talent strategy and the online DiscoverAbility network, a hub for employers seeking qualified job candidates. In the role of what CBC calls “talent ambassador,” Kevin educates employers about hiring people with disabilities, and is having great success matching individuals with employers. Kevin explains that these initiatives aim to place candidates with disabilities in 56,000 jobs, reducing the unemployment rate for those with disabilities by 30 per cent in companies that have 20 or more employees. His goal is to break down barriers to employment for the nine per cent, or one in seven, with a disability, ensuring their financial, personal and social independence, and the opportunity to make a contribution.

2018 Tribute Award – Advocacy

Dear Everybody Campaign, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

In the second year of a five-year campaign, Dear Everybody features young advocates taking a stand, letting the world know they are not defined by their disabilities.

HBKR CEO Julia Hanigsberg describes the campaign as a national movement, started by the hospital in partnership with kids and youth, to raise awareness of disability stigma and designed to change perceptions, and more importantly get people to take action to create a more equitable society.

In Canada today there are more than 400,000 children and youth up to age 24 living with a disability. The Canadian Human Rights Commission notes disability is the most cited reason for discrimination in the country—at 59 per cent. HBKR research demonstrates this reality: 53 per cent of kids with special needs have zero or one close friend, and they are two to three times more likely to be bullied than kids without a disability. Only 49 per cent of people age 25 to 63 with disabilities are employed, compared to 76 per cent of those without disabilities.

Dear Everybody gives young people a platform to raise awareness about the stigma and barriers they face every day. The campaign reaches people through displays, advertising, news stories and social media and focuses on issues including employment, bullying, friendship, education and health care.

Common misperceptions including underestimating kids with special needs when it comes to their ability to learn, and study. The campaign demonstrates how kids and youth with special needs are like everyone else.

While just in year two, the campaign has already been elevating conversation about disability stigma.


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Did You Hear?!

EKO Spring Symposium is Back in 2025!

Every two years EKO hosts this pinnacle event for the child development sector and the largest gathering of professionals and stakeholders from Ontario and across Canada.

learn more about the event!