Issue Date: August 2016

What's in this Issue:

  • Message from Project Director,
  • What Constitutes ‘Quality’ Participation?
  • New Community Partner: CASEM,
  • New Research Partner: Dr. Sue Forwell,
  • Canadians with Disabilities Act Consultation Process,
  • Sport & Exercise Team Meeting,
  • Project Updates

Message from the Project Director

Greetings from the sunny Okanagan Valley!

This newsletter marks a new phase for our partnership, as University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus becomes the new home for the academic leadership of the Canadian Disability Participation Project. My family and I completed our move across the country on July 28th and my graduate students will arrive in a couple of weeks. With this move comes a welcome shift in my workload and responsibilities, providing me with more time to invest in the many CDPP projects that are underway and that are on the horizon.

Reading through this month’s newsletter, I find it rewarding to see the development of new partnerships and projects that bring together community organizations and university researchers. These types of collaborations are at the heart of the CDPP’s mandate to undertake community-engaged projects to improve participation among Canadians with disabilities.

If a project in this newsletter catches your interest, don’t be shy about reaching out to the people involved. As I settle into my new surroundings over the coming months, I’ll be working hard to reach out to new people and to make new contacts. I encourage you to take advantage of your membership in the CDPP and to take the opportunity to do the same. 

Kathleen Martin Ginis

What Constitutes ‘Quality’ Participation?

Given the CDPP’s focus on improving not just the number of people with disabilities participating, but also the quality of participation, it is important that we have a clear conceptualization of what is meant by a ‘quality’ participation experience. CDPP team members recently published a literature review, culminating in the recommendation that “the individual’s subjective perceptions of autonomy, belongingness, challenge, engagement, mastery and meaning associated with participating be incorporated into conceptualizations and operationalizations of the participation construct.”  As these six criteria will be important outcomes to be assessed in future CDPP projects, team members are encouraged to read the full article at this link. If you do not have library access, please contact Adrienne Sinden for a copy.

New Community Partner 

We would like to welcome our newest community partner, the Canadian Academy for Sport and Exercise Medicine (CASEM).  CASEM is an organization of physicians committed to excellence in the practice of medicine as it applies to all aspects of physical activity.  CASEM's mission is to forge a strong, collective voice for sport and exercise medicine; to be a leader in advancing the art and science of sport and exercise medicine, including health promotion and disease prevention, for the benefit of all Canadians. CASEM’s current president, Dr. Richard Goudie, approached CDPP leadership with a request to join CDPP in order to forge stronger collaborations with researchers working to advance sport and exercise participation among Canadians with disabilities. CASEM’s role within CDPP will be to facilitate the flow of information into and out of the partnership, and through the medical field. Two CASEM members are currently serving on expert panels linked to Sport and Exercise Team projects.

New Research Partner

Sue Forwell

CDPP would like to officially welcome our newest academic co-investigator, Dr. Sue Forwell, who is joining the Mobility Team. Dr. Forwell is an Associate Professor and the Department Head of the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of British Columbia. Her research interest is in the role that occupations play in the health and wellbeing, life transitions, and citizenship of people with disabilities. Dr. Forwell is co-facilitating a three-year research project with Mobility Team Community Lead, Duane Geddes. This project, the Employment Mentorship Support Project (EMSP), will utilize a volunteer system of mentors that have employment experience to mentor those with disabilities that would like to join the workforce. Welcome Dr. Forwell!

 Canadians with Disabilities Act Consultation Process

The CDPP was asked to partner with Spinal Cord Injury Canada on an application responding to the federal government’s call for proposals to lead consultations to help inform new federal disability legislation. The CDPP Leadership Team and Executive approved the CDPP’s involvement in the proposal. The proposal was submitted July 29th. If funded, CDPP would play a role in helping with the research and knowledge translation aspects of the project.

Sport & Exercise Team Meeting

The Sport and Exercise Team had a very successful two-day meeting on May 24th and 25th at McMaster University.  The full team of over 30 members from across Canada was in attendance including researchers, trainees, and community partners.

Day 1 featured “An Invitation to Qualitative Research” workshop led by Drs. Brett Smith and Cassandra Phoenix from the Universities of Birmingham and Bath, respectively.  During this insightful workshop, Drs. Smith and Phoenix highlighted the value of qualitative research and provided guidance for conducting innovative, high quality work. It was a privilege for team members to learn from international leaders in the field.  

Day 2 focused on setting the team’s research agenda for the next two years.  Using community partner-driven priorities as the foundation, the team identified several research directions for consideration.  Over the next two years, team members will direct their efforts to areas of research related to better understanding how to foster quality participation in sport and exercise for Canadians with a physical disability.  This work will inform the development of training resources for coaches, fitness and health professionals and standards for quality community-based sport and exercise programs.

Project Updates


Employment Barrier Taxonomy: We have reorganized our model of barriers to employment experienced by individuals with physical disabilities to take a MythBusters approach. We evaluated five myths about people with disabilities in the workplace and are preparing a paper for submission to an academic journal.

Life-Course Analysis: Our interviews with 45 individuals living with rheumatic disease from three different age groups have been fully transcribed and coded. Preliminary qualitative analyses have been undertaken to unpack the concept of employment and disability over the life-course. Contact Arif Jetha ( for a slide deck of the study details.

Performance Appraisal Study: We have analyzed the results of our pilot study and are finalizing our experimental protocol. We will test the hypothesis that people with disabilities tend to receive performance appraisals that are less constructive and useful than do people without disabilities. We will begin recruiting managers at McMaster University for the main phase of our study as soon as we receive ethics approval.

Employability Study: We will explore the range of factors that contribute to the concept of employability for people with disabilities. The study will be longitudinal, looking at changes over time. We are currently exploring possibilities for data collection and using pre-existing data with our community partners.

Utility Analysis: We are continuing to recruit employers to help us conduct formal cost-benefit analyses measuring the net value of hiring and accommodating workers with disabilities. Our initial findings, while based on a sample size too small to draw conclusions from, suggest that employing a worker with a disability may actually save an employer money in comparison to hiring a worker who does not have a disability.

Attitudes & Integration Study: This study will focus on the experiences of people with disabilities in their workplaces. We will make use of a flexible methodology to capture the attitudes, perceptions, behaviours and sense of integration of workers with disabilities. We are currently working with a number of employers to identify possible research sites.


Systematic Reviews: Since January 2016, a systematic review has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Behavioural Medicine.

Best K.L., Miller W.C., Routhier F, Eng J.J. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of peer-led self-management programs on physical activity.

Three other systematic reviews have been submitted and two more are in preparation.

Enabling Mobility And participatioN among those with Disabilities (dEMAND): We are moving into the next phase of the research project, which engages participants in assessing the ‘walkability’ and/or ‘wheelability’ of segments along a route/street using the Stakeholders’ Wheel/Walk (ability) Audit in Neighbourhood – People with Disability (SWAN-PWD).

Assessing the impact of adapted activities on the health, well-being and social participation of people with disabilities: Delphine Labbe, a postdoc working with Dr. Miller, was recently awarded a MITACS grant to evaluate the Sam Sullivan Disability Foundation’s (SSDF) programming. Dr. Labbe will be employing a mixed-methods approach to examine the impact and effectiveness of the SSDF programming on the lives of people with disabilities.

The Mobility Team’s effect in the community: Dr. Mortenson’s trainee Mike Prescott, in collaboration with Advisory Board member Heather McCain, collected data to create a ‘SkyTrain map’ for the Vancouver light rail transit system that provides information regarding which door opens at each stop and in both directions at each station. Heather presented this to the Metro Vancouver's regional transportation authority (Translink) and they agreed incorporate it into their website and add this information to the auditory and visual announcements and signage.

Sport and Exercise

Conceptualizing participation in the physical activity domain:  We have a number of systematic reviews and research projects underway all with the aim of developing an understanding of the concept of quality participation in physical activity context.  This work will result in a set of principles for fostering quality physical activity participation.

National Physical Activity Monitoring Study: The NPAM study examines physical activity motivation and behaviour among youth (ages 12 – 21) with physical disabilities across Canada. A total of 26 participants wore accelerometers and completed the two telephone interviews.  Recruitment of youth is continuing over the summer through camps and rehabilitation centres.

Parasport Transition Survey:  The purpose of the study is to examine the factors related to athletes' transition into parasport.  Thirty-eight athletes, both English- and French-speaking, completed the survey.  The Sport and Exercise Team is preparing a report for the Canadian Sport Institute of Ontario and other CDPP partners for dissemination.

Quality physical activity participation for military veterans with a physical disability:  A manuscript exploring the views of veterans with a physical disability regarding what elements constitute quality sport participation experiences, and how quality experiences may be fostered, has been submitted to a journal and is currently under review.

Shirazipour, C. H., Evans, M. B., Caddick, N., Smith, B., Aiken, A. B., Martin Ginis, K. A., Latimer-Cheung, A. E. (Revise and Resubmit). Understanding a quality sport experience: Exploring perspectives of veterans with a physical disability. Psychology of Sport & Exercise.

Two additional studies (one qualitative and one quantitative) focused on understanding quality physical activity experiences for veterans with a physical disability are in the final stages of manuscript preparation. These latter studies explore: (a) program strategies for delivering quality experiences; and (b) the processes through which quality experiences may facilitate transitions to civilian life.

A timeline study exploring the parasport pathways of military veterans with a physical disability, and the role of quality elements in fostering continued participation, was presented in June at the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity conference in Montreal, Quebec.

How do Parents Support Children’s Physical Activity? The study explores the role of parents in supporting physical activity among children and youth with physical disabilities using a Theory of Planned Behaviour perspective. The team is in the data analysis phase of the project.

Can Action Planning Help Parents Support Children's Physical Activity? This study explores the effectiveness of a four week action planning intervention among parents of children with disabilities. The study tests an action planning intervention as a strategy to enhance parent support for physical activity. The team is preparing a manuscript to share the results of this study.

Creating Physical Activity Messages Targeting Parents of Children with Disabilities: This study explores the physical activity messaging needs and preferences of parents of children with disabilities. We have conducted focus groups with parents and are preparing a manuscript and lay summary to share the results of the project.

Supporting Teachers in Creating Quality Inclusive Physical Education: This study explores the role of teacher resources in supporting teachers to create quality inclusive physical education. The team is in the participant recruitment phase of the project and looking for teachers in Ontario to participate. 

The Need for Better National-Level Data Describing Physical Activity Participation Rates among People with a Disability:  Unfortunately, we do not have any up-to-date, high quality national data describing physical activity patterns of people with a disability.  In the absence of this data, it is difficult to definitively determine the extent of the inactivity crisis among people with a disability.  Moreover, it is impossible to determine the impact of national level initiatives (e.g., SCI Action Canada) aiming to promote physical activity among people with a disability. Dr. Martin Ginis has been actively advocating for improved measurement through letters to government officials and an Op Ed.

Martin Ginis, K. A. (April, 2016). We need data on physical activity among people with disabilities. Hamilton Spectator.

Martin Ginis, K. A. (March, 2016). Letter to the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, PC, MP. Advocacy for including items to measure participation in sport and exercise and other forms of physical activity in the Canadian Survey on Disability (2017).

Systematic Review:  A systematic review of review articles was undertaken with the goal of providing a blueprint and a catalyst for researchers and practitioners to shift focus from conducting studies that merely describe PA barriers and facilitators, to developing and delivering strategies to increase physical activity participation.

Martin Ginis, K. A ., Ma, J. K., Rimmer J. H., Latimer-Cheung, A. E. (2016).  A Systematic Review of Review Articles Addressing Factors Related to Physical Activity Participation Among Children and Adults with Physical Disabilities. Health Psychology Review, 5, 1-31.


Defining and Measuring Quality Participation: As mentioned earlier in the newsletter, a paper has been published that focuses on broadening the conceptualization of participation to include qualitative/subjective aspects of participation. Work is currently underway to develop a set of measures of these subjective dimensions of participation.

Martin Ginis, K. A., Evans, M. B., Mortenson, W. B., & Noreau, L. M. (in press).  Broadening the conceptualization of ‘Participation’ of persons with physical disabilities: A configurative review of recommendations. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Resource Catalogues: A paper is under review documenting the process for creating, and evaluating the resources within the CDPP’s Physical Activity, Active Living, and Sport Resource Catalogue. The Mobility team is currently using this work as a template for developing a similar catalogue of mobility-related resources for Canadians.