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LiveWorkPlay Fall Season News 2018: Celebrating Disability Employment Awareness Month, Launching “Just Enough Support”


October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) also celebrated as Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) in provincial and local jurisdictions.

At LiveWorkPlay we typically focus our employment celebrations on December 3rd (International Day of Persons with Disabilities) and our Make A Buzz Ottawa event (see above) but the timing is right to feature Daniel Pinsonneault and The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro (Dave Demers and Grant Webb franchises in the Ottawa area).

Daniel received a huge sendoff from his co-workers, as he is leaving The Works to accept a full-time position with Costco. Dave and Grant are well known as leaders in hiring people with intellectual disabilities and other disabilities, and have spoken publicly on many occasions about how this benefits their business with quality and dedicated employees. Daniel is exactly that, and a class act too: click here to read his farewell speech! We appreciate that The Works recognized his talent many years ago (2011) and have provided so many opportunities for leadership and growth. Daniel retires as the current longest-serving employee of The Works Barrhaven!

Back in July we celebrated 50 jobs (and more since then!) for people with intellectual disabilities with the Public Service of Canada, and also welcomed Tammy Whelan, our new leader of the Private Sector Employer Partnerships and  Employment Task Force. We needed to add that position because Jen Soucy is now focused on the public sector and accompanying task force (Federal Employment Strategy Group).

Tammy (pictured) was also on hand when one of our Employment Task Force founders, Ken Sparks, was added to the new Wall of Inspiration at Ottawa City Hall – we met Ken through Rotary Club of West Ottawa, where Tammy is now serving as one our representatives. 

The connections to LiveWorkPlay (others who are commemorated in the display) include former chairpersons Wendy Mitchell (recognized back in 2003) and Cecelia Taylor, co-leader Keenan Wellar, and fundraising volunteer Felice Miranda. In a memorable ceremony in 2013, the LiveWorkPlay organization was recognized as a Community Builder of the Year.


Although there was a sneak peak provided at the Welcome Back Family Feast (see story below) the official public launch of our new Just Enough Support video serieswas Thursday, September 13, at the Community Living Ontario annual conference. The session was co-hosted by LiveWorkPlay Co-Leader Keenan Wellar and Maurice Voisin, Executive Director from South-East Grey Support Services, ensuring a mix of urban and rural perspectives on helping people with intellectual disabilities to enjoy choice and autonomy in their own homes.

Chris Floyd (Community Connector) and Co-Leader Julie Kingstone (photos above) participated as panelists, answering questions from the standing room audience and via the live online broadcast. Funded in part by the Housing Task Force of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (new Ministry name and new Minister, Hon. Lisa MacLeod from our own region) and videos produced by Ottawa-based Affinity Productions Group, who were also behind the scenes for the Hire for Talent video series that featured many LiveWorkPlay members and employers in 2017.

Interest in the Just Enough Support series has exceeded all expectations, with more than 55,000 views of the original Facebook launch, more than 25,000 views of the trailer video the following week, over 1,000 cumulative shares from where the videos and full transcripts are hosted on our website, and we are moving in on 5,000 cumulative views on our YouTube playlist. As intended, the series is drawing interest from individuals with disabilities and their family members, as well as from agencies and organizations: many are now using the series to train staff and volunteers!

“The concluding video is essentially a training tool,” says Keenan, who speaks for LiveWorkPlay in the videos. “Heather, Phil, Jalynn, Ali, and Tim all tell their unscripted stories that explain the mix of natural and paid support in their lives, and the different valued social roles that are important to each of them. We end off with a scripted video that goes into the principles and the details of Just Enough Support to explain that it’s not just an idea, there are facts and evidence that support using this approach for any person, anywhere, anytime to help people enjoy the best quality of life possible, with the most choice and control possible.”


Our next event is the Festive Family Feast of December 7, followed by the Celebration of Inclusion Family Feast on March 29, and the the big one: Make A Buzz Ottawa 2018 on May 9! This event always sells out, so if you would like to attend, ticket sales are already open and we recommend you purchase them before the end of December.

The Welcome Back Family Feast of September 7 featured a new staff recognition ceremony with the awarding of “milestone pins” to commemorate years of service.

Hosted by board member Kari Whatley, you can check out a photo blog from the event, including information about each member of the team. You can also check out our very popular new online blog series that celebrates annual work anniversaries!


The Toronto Summer Institute is a unique learning opportunity offered by the Inclusion Network. Members of the LiveWorkPlay staff team first took part in 2015, and this year Community Connectors Rebecca Coxon and Wendy MacEwan were joined by Volunteer Coordinator Alex Darling for the 2018 experience (July 14-19).

It was their first time at TSI, and although to varying degrees all three were familiar with the ideas and concepts being discussed, as well as many of the thought leaders present, this was an opportunity for a really deep dive into “Building A Bigger We” (this year’s theme). They each provided a presentation to the staff team about their experience when they returned, and you can read their summaries on our blog.

It has been a busy time for Alex who also completed her Core Gift Master Facilitator certification. Joined by a dozen colleagues from across the country, Alex enjoyed the intense days of learning hosted by Community Living St Marys & Area and looks forward to using what she learned to help bring people together in our community.

Countdown to Giving Tuesday!
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We hope you have enjoyed this jam-packed edition of The LiveWorkPlay News. If you like what you see, why not make a donation? We’ve got a new and improved donation form that saves you time and gives you more options! If you are participating in Giving Tuesday, we’ve got that covered too!