Issue Date: January 2015

What's in this issue:

  • Project Updates (Employment, Mobility, Sport, and Cross-Cutting),

  • Meet the Leadership Team,

  • Other News

Message from the Project Director

Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis

Since SSHRC's summer announcement of funding for Partnership Grants our team members have been busy hiring project staff, obtaining research ethics approvals, and designing and launching projects.  The first two years of our 7-year timeline are largely focused on conducting projects to describe and understand employment, mobility and sport participation among persons with physical disabilities.  You will see from the brief project descriptions below, we are well on our way to achieving these project goals.

In this edition, we also introduce our partnership’s leadership team. Our community and academic members will be introduced in subsequent editions.

If you have any feedback, ideas, or questions, we want to hear from you.  If there is a project you would like to get involved in, please contact the Team's Research Lead.  Of course you can always contact me directly at or 905-525-9140 x 23574.

Kathleen Martin Ginis
Project Director
Chair, Leadership Team


Project Updates


1.1 Employment Barrier Taxonomy: The purpose of this project is to classify the barriers to employment experienced by individuals with physical disabilities. We seek to develop an organized model focusing on the individual, the employer and the environment.

1.1 Defining Quality Participation: A working paper on the conceptualization of “quality” participation in the workforce. A working paper has been produced and is being used to guide the conceptualization and measurement of quality participation across the three domain teams.

1.2 Life-Course Analysis: This study will use key informant interviews and focus groups to compare the work experiences of young adults (18-30), middle-aged adults (30-55) and older workers (55+) with arthritis to determine the similarities and differences in employment transitions across the working life course. Within each life phase we also aim to compare the work experiences of individuals with earlier disease onset (e.g. disease onset at an earlier life phase) to individuals with later disease onset.

1.2 Performance Appraisal Study: This study will test the hypothesis that performance appraisals of people with disabilities tend to be less constructive and useful to the employee than those of people without disabilities.

1.4 Utility Analysis: We will conduct a formal cost-benefit analysis to assess the financial impact of employment accommodation policies and programs on Canadian employers. With the help of organizational data provided by Sodexo, we will quantify the net benefit of hiring and accommodating people with physical disabilities.


1.1 The aim of this sub-project is to determine the state of knowledge and research gaps, and to develop a testable conceptual model of participation via four literature reviews. A systematic review (title below) has been accepted for publication in Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology. A scoping review on scooter research is nearing completion and has been submitted for presentation at RESNA. A literature review and synthesis on physical environment, mobility and community participation among people with physical disabilities is also nearing completion, along with a scoping review on the impact of canes and walkers on social participation.

  • Smith E, Sakakibara BM, Miller WC. A review of factors influencing participation in social and community activities for wheelchair users. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology 2014 Dec 4:1-14. [Epub ahead of print].

1.2 Mixed-methods studies of mobility barriers and facilitators: A literature review has been conducted and a project proposal outlining research questions and methods has been written for the project; the team are working to refine this. The project will involve participatory action research that addresses questions such as, “what are mobility assistive technology users doing”,  “where are they going?” and “what barriers are they encountering?” Methods such as Photovoice and prompted recall interviews based on GPS data will be used to answer these research questions. The team will reach out to community partners soon to get the participatory action model started. Ethics will likely be submitted in spring and data collection will begin in late spring.


1.1  A Systematic “Review of Reviews” of barriers and facilitators to sport and physical activity participation in persons with physical disabilities: A paper is in preparation that summarizes our findings and makes recommendations for practice. Our next step is to conduct a review to identify best practices for alleviating barriers and implementing facilitators to participation.

1.1  Defining Quality Participation:  The purpose of this structured literature review is to develop a conceptual model defining quality participation in the context of sport.  We will draw from variety of domains (e.g., occupational therapy, organizational behaviour, sport psychology) to develop the model and will engage an expert panel to review the model. One output of the project will be a checklist to identify aspects of "quality" sport experiences.

1.1  Quantification of sport participation among children, youth, and adults with physical disabilities:  This project aims to collate existing data, and collect new data, that will provide estimates of sport participation among Canadian children with physical disabilities. Sources of data are currently being sought, and data collection methods are being designed.

1.2 Life-Course Analysis:  The protocol for this study is still under development.  The purpose of this project is to have athletes describe their sport participation history and identify factors that enhanced the quality of their experiences.  Athletes of all levels of competition (recreation, competitive, elite) will be interviewed.

2.1  Environmental scan of knowledge mobilization methods and messengers to deliver physical activity information to people with disabilities:  The purpose of this project is to catalogue existing Canadian informational/educational resources and programs designed to share knowledge about sport and physical activity for persons with disabilities.


2.2 Cross-Cutting Jurisdictional Policy Analysis: For each project associated with the partnership, a detailed policy analysis will be conducted to identify areas where policy both supports and hinders participation in employment, community mobility and physical activity.  These analyses will assist in identifying opportunities for knowledge translation to policy makers, and for seeking structural changes to enhance participation.


The Leadership Team

Executive Members:

Dr. Chris McBride

Dr. Chris McBride
With over 20 years experience as a spinal cord injury researcher, research centre executive, volunteer, and now community service leader in the spinal cord injury sector, Chris brings a unique set of skills and experiences to his role as Executive Director of Spinal Cord Injury BC. Before arriving at Spinal Cord Injury BC, Chris served as Managing Director of ICORD, a world-leading spinal cord injury research centre at UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health, and as Managing Director and later Executive Director of Translational Research at the Rick Hansen Institute. Chris holds a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of British Columbia, where he also obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology.

Luc Noreau

Dr. Luc Noreau
As Scientific Director at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation in Social Integration (CIRRIS) and Professor at the Rehabilitation Department, Laval University, Luc is internationally recognized as an expert in the study of social participation and disability and has led several cross-sector research and KM partnerships focused on enhancing participation in the disability community. From 2009-2013, he developed and led a team of researchers, clinicians and consumers, the SCI community survey, the largest study of its kind on community integration to ever be done in Canada among people with SCI.

Employment Team Leadership:

Dr. Catherine E. Connelly, the Employment Team Research Lead, is a Canada Research Chair and Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour, at McMaster University's DeGroote School of Business. Her recent publications deal with the attitudes and behaviours of non-standard workers, employees' use of different communication tools, and knowledge hiding in organizations, among other topics. Her research is funded by SSHRC, CFI, and MEDI.

Dr. Catherine Connelly

Dr. Gary Birch O.C, theEmployment Team Community Lead, is an expert in Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology and the Executive Director of the Neil Squire Society. He earned his B.A. Sc. in Electrical Engineering in 1983, and in 1988 received a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering (Biomedical Signal Processing), from the University of British Columbia. Gary won several medals in the 1980 Summer Paralympics in the Netherlands. In 2008, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. He continues to champion accessibility through his Research and Development work in assistive technologies as an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia and with the Neil Squire Society..

Dr. Gary Birch

Mobility Team Leadership:

Dr. Bill Miller

Dr. Bill Miller, the Mobility Team Research Lead, is an Occupational Therapist with research training in epidemiology and biostatistics. At present he holds the positions of Professor in the Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy and Associate Dean Health Professions in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. He has been researching different aspects of mobility for past 15 years, most recently with a focus on wheeled mobility. He characterizes his research as the measurement, epidemiology and intervention to minimize mobility disability and its influence on the engagement in daily and social activities of adults.


Duane Geddes

Duane Geddes, the Mobility Team Community Lead, is the Executive Director of the Sam Sullivan Disability Foundation.  His expertise in the area of mobility for people with disabilities is highlighted by his numerous Executive Director community positions, which include the Tetra Society of North America, the Disabled Sailing Association of BC, British Columbia Mobility Opportunities Society, ConnecTra Society, Vancouver Adapted Music Society, and the Disabled Independent Gardeners Association.  These societies and associations provide opportunities, information, and assistive devices to people with disabilities to support participation of an active lifestyle through community engagement.

Sport Team Leadership:

Dr. Amy Latimer-Cheung, the Sport Team Research Lead, is an Associate Professor and Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity Promotion and Disability at Queen’s University.  Her research aims to understand and promote healthy lifestyle behaviors in the general population and among people with chronic disease and disability.

Dr. Amy Latimer Cheung

Stuart McReynolds OCT/EAO, the Sport Team Community Lead, is the Manager of System Development & Education at the Canadian Paralympic Committee. A certified teacher with experience in disability programming, Stuart has a strong background in both education and sport leadership. Originally from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, UK, Stuart has worked in education & sport in the UK, Spain, New Zealand and Canada. He is a former professional rugby player and now coaches at both the grassroots and high performance levels. Stuart brings a teacher's perspective to his responsibility for the Canadian Paralympic Committee's educational resources for schools and is a strong advocate for inclusive physical education and sport both in Canada and internationally.

Stuart McReynolds

Other News

The Canadian Disability Policy Alliance

By virtue of being a member of this partnership, you are also an honorary member of the CDPA!  The CDPA aims to promote a vision of Canada where people with disabilities enjoy full participation and citizenship, supported by a coherent framework of legislation, regulation and programs.  If you have not already done so, come visit our website ( and see some examples of the work we have done over the past 5 years.