Pathways to Independence
The WDB and the CPWD
recognize that many
people living with a dis-
ability in Peterborough
City/County are not able
to participate fully in com-
munity life due to a variety
Peterborough Social Planning Council
Workforce Development Board 2
The views in this document do not necessarily reﬂect those of
the Council of Persons with Disabilities or their funders.
159 King Street, Suite 208, Peterborough, ON K9J 2R8
Tel: (705) 749-3250 1-800-340-0111 Fax: (705) 749-3162
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.solutionsatwork.info
The views in this document do not necessarily reflect those of
Service Canada or the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
WHY THESE CONSULTATIONS WERE CARRIED OUT
The Council for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) and the Workforce
Development Board (WDB) launched these consultations as a ﬁrst
step to ensuring that persons with disabilities in Peterborough City and
County are able to fully participate in all aspects of community life.
The purpose of these consultations was to identify barriers, needs and
gaps in local services to persons with disabilities. It was also to iden-
tify strategies or ways of better meeting the needs of persons living
with disabilities in our community. This included looking at how to
increase local employment for persons with disabilities.
An independent living resource centre (ILRC) was one of the ways or
options we looked at to better meet the needs of persons with disabilities.
An ILRC is a centre that is run by and for persons with disabilities.
It offers services and programs that help persons with disabilities to
become more independent and to take control of their lives.
In 2001, an ad-hoc committee of the CPD was formed to investigate
the need for an independent living resource centre for Peterborough.
Recognizing the ILRC’s potential for enhancing employment oppor-
tunities for persons with disabilities, the WDB joined forces with the
Council and together they carried this project forward.
HOW THE CONSULTATIONS WERE CARRIED OUT
The consultations included four main parts: ﬁve focus groups with
persons with disabilities; a written questionnaire seeking input from
agencies and support groups serving persons with disabilities; an
alternate format survey of over 300 persons with disabilities living in
Peterborough City and County; and, a roundtable discussion with local
employers and employees with disabilities.
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We included persons with various kinds of disabilities in the consul-
tations, including those with physical, sensory, intellectual, memory,
learning and mental health disabilities. To participate, persons with
disabilities had to be 15 years of age or over and live in Peterborough
City or County.
Secondary research was also completed that included:
• types of disabilities
• existing municipal accessibility plans
• web site search of best practices in the areas of accessibility,
employment, inclusion and related topics
WHO ARE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES?
For this study, we used Statistics Canada’s deﬁnition of disability –
“persons with disabilities are those who have a physical, mental or health
condition that reduces the kind or amount of activities they can do”.
According to Statistics Canada’s Participation and Activity Limitation
Survey (PALS) conducted in 2001-02, just over 13% of all Ontarians
- about 1.5 million people – have disabilities. A large majority have
more than one disability. Mobility, pain and agility are the most com-
mon types of disabilities.
Disability rates typically increase with age. Adults with disabilities
have lower levels of education than those without disabilities. Em-
ployment among persons with disabilities is low – about 46% of
Ontarians with disabilities are in the workforce, compared to 80% for
persons without disabilities. Ontarians with disabilities are much more
likely to live in poverty than those without disabilities.
Based on the provincial disability rate of 16% and 2001 Census data,
the Peterborough area has an estimated 20,000 to 33,600 persons with
disabilities aged 15 and over.
2 Council for Persons with Disabilities
The City-County population (125,856) is projected to increase steadily,
peaking at about 130,600 in 2013. Seniors are expected to make up
about 27% of the population by 2026. These two factors mean that
the number of persons with disabilities living in our community will
continue to grow.
WHAT SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES?
We identiﬁed about 60+ agencies in Peterborough City and County
that provide services to persons with disabilities aged 15 years and
over. This includes agencies whose client base is made up entirely of
persons with disabilities, as well as those whose clientele includes a
large number of persons with disabilities.
These agencies provide various programs and services including:
• case management
• legal support to training, employment, recreation and housing
Most are based in the City of Peterborough as well as offer some level
of service to persons living in the County.
While most of these agencies deliver a few core programs, several
are multi-service providers offering on average four to six different
types of programs. In total, there are an estimated 75 disability-related
programs available in the Peterborough area.
WHAT AGENCIES SERVING PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES TOLD US
A detailed survey was sent to key service providers and support groups
to gather information about their organizations and programs for per-
sons with disabilities. Feedback was also sought about their ability
to adequately meet the needs of their clients. A total of 50 out of 62
agencies answered our survey.
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Many of these agencies said that a lack of funding limits their ability
to provide service to persons with disabilities. Some of the problems
they identiﬁed were long wait times for service, inadequate rural ser-
vice, not enough staff and inconsistent service provision.
More than one-half had the following concerns:
• demand for services were greater than ability to offer services
• lack of information about other services
• lack of co-ordination between service providers
• fragmented service delivery
Gaps in service for persons with disabilities identiﬁed by these
• employment services
• health services
• assistive supports
• family supports
• day programs
• speech and language programs
• recreation programs.
They also identiﬁed speciﬁc groups of people they felt were in need of
services. These included: persons with intellectual disabilities, men-
tal health problems and learning disabilities, those living in poverty,
young adults, seniors and those living in rural areas.
WHAT PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES TOLD US
Fifty-three persons with disabilities attended our focus groups and 307
responded to our survey. It is clear from their input that most continue
to face various barriers within our community. As well, many have
needs that are not being adequately met.
4 Council for Persons with Disabilities
Over 85% of those who completed our survey said they are prevented
from participating in their community. The barriers persons reported
most often were: a lack of accessibility (to buildings, activities, infor-
mation); a lack of accessible, reliable transportation; health limitations;
and, the cost of goods and services.
Other barriers included:
• negative attitudes
• ﬁnding employment
• long waiting lists
Needs that were not being met that were mentioned most often were:
• the need for accessible, affordable and reliable transportation in
both the city and the county
• the need for greater ﬁnancial resources
• the need for more social/recreational programs and opportunities
• and, the need for more and better information.
Among those of working age, employment was also reported as an
In terms of solutions and recommendations, persons with disabilities
would most like to have greater ﬁnancial support, better public transportation,
improved access to information, accessible buildings, programs and
services, better/quicker access to supports, more employment opportu-
nities and greater public awareness of disabilities.
PRIORITIES TO BE ADDRESSED
Based on what we heard, the highest priority needs that affect the
greatest number of persons with disabilities are greater ﬁnancial support,
accessible, affordable transportation and physical accessibility.
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Other priority needs identiﬁed through the consultation process
• more opportunities for social interaction and recreation
• better access to information and communications
• employment and training opportunities
• increased service in rural areas
• education programs
• literacy/day programs
• health and medical services
• quicker access to supports
• adaptive technologies/aids
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?
In order to address the many diverse issues brought to light through
these consultations, there needs to be action taken on several different
fronts and at different levels.
We are recommending the adoption and implementation of a broad-
based, comprehensive strategy that includes both short and long term
initiatives. Too numerous to describe in this summary, the full report
outlines several recommended strategies to meet identiﬁed needs.
Short-term recommendations include:
• developing more public awareness programs using innovative
techniques (e.g. interactive theatre)
• increasing the number of services that are TTY accessible
• establishing a committee of local employers to advance the
employment of persons with disabilities
• creating more social/political networks for persons with disabilities
• investigating opportunities for developing day/educational
programs for persons with intellectual disabilities
• undertaking a review of designated parking for persons with
6 Council for Persons with Disabilities
• examining best practice models for rural and parallel transportation
• bringing together agencies serving persons with disabilities in order
to identify ways of providing resources and services
Long-term recommendations include:
• making public information available in alternate formats
• developing a “one stop shopping” model for employers to recruit
persons with disabilities
• creating more internships and short term employment contracts as a
means to introducing persons with disabilities into the workforce
• working with all levels of government to lobby for policy changes
and increases in disability support programs
• investigating using the new multi-use service centres
(e.g. Havelock) as rural information centres
• continuing to improve building accessibility and pathways to travel
• preparing a pocket guide of accessible facilities and services in the
City and County of Peterborough
It is recommended that additional research be undertaken to evaluate
opportunities for funding an independent living resource centre. An
ILRC could potentially meet many of the needs identiﬁed in this con-
sultation process. (e.g. a social support network, social and recreation-
al programs, peer support and counselling, better and quicker access
to information and referral, life skills, literacy and other types of train-
ing, assistance with daily living, public education to address negative
attitudes, etc.). An ILRC could also serve as a one stop shop or local
coordinating agency for persons with disabilities, service providers
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The implementation of these suggestions will require the cooperation
and participation of various people and community groups, including
service providers, municipalities, provincial and federal governments,
business, education, law enforcement, etc. It will also be important to
review and evaluate progress in achieving full participation for per-
sons with disabilities.
The recommendations will also support the new Accessibility for On-
tarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. Passed into law in June of 2005,
this legislation requires government to work with the disability com-
munity and the public and private sectors to jointly develop standards
leading to an accessible Ontario in 20 years.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The results of this consultation process, including recommended
strategies, will be broadly distributed and made available throughout
the community. They will also be sent to various government agen-
cies that provide services to persons with disabilities. The Council for
Persons with Disabilities and the Workforce Development Board will
host a public forum this spring to present the results of these consulta-
tions. They will also seek input about the recommended strategies. A
more detailed implementation plan outlining speciﬁc actions and time-
frames will then be developed and put into place.
As part of this project, we also produced an accessible directory of
services available for persons with disabilities living in Peterborough
City and County. This will be available for distribution in the spring/
summer of 2006.
HOW TO FIND OUT MORE
Copies of the full report, including survey comments, are available for
viewing at your local library. The report can also be accessed through
the Workforce Development Board or the Council for Persons with
Disabilities. For more information, please contact:
Workforce Access Co-ordinator
Development Board (705) 742-7771 ext.1785
(705) 749-3250 www.city.peterborough.
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