Issue Date: July 2015

What's in this issue:

  • A Message from the Project Director, 
  • Partner Profile: SCI BC,
  • Update Regarding MITACS Funding,
  • Student Exchange,
  • Project Updates


A Message from the Project Director

As the first year of the Canadian Disability Participation Project winds up, Adrienne and I have been busy preparing our Year 1 Milestone report for SSHRC. Preparing the report has provided an opportunity to reflect on the tremendous progress we have made this past year. The level of engagement among partners has been exceptional— it has been great to see such rich dialogue and collaboration taking place between our community and university partners. I have also been pleasantly surprised by the attention that our work has received from government agencies. Clearly, there is broad interest and strong value placed on the activities we are undertaking. And, on the research front, teams have been busy reviewing and synthesizing the best available knowledge regarding employment, mobility and sport/exercise participation. A couple of reports from this work have recently been released, with more to come. Heading into Year 2, I look forward to continuing our work together to study and improve participation among Canadians with disabilities.

Wishing everyone a great summer,

Kathleen Martin Ginis
Project Director
Chair, Leadership Team 905-525-9140 x23574


Partner Profile

Spinal Cord Injury BCSCI BC is a “not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping people with spinal cord injuries, and related disabilities, adjust, adapt and thrive.  Whether someone is dealing with a new injury or struggling with the ongoing challenges of living and aging with a physical disability, Spinal Cord Injury BC is here to connect people with the support and resources they need. More than half our staff members are people with disabilities, so we really understand where our Peer members are coming from.”

Under the Executive Directorship of Dr. Chris McBride, SCI BC has two main programs: 1) a Peer Support Program that provides peer mentorship, social support and life experiences to individuals with spinal cord injuries and their families and 2) a Resource Centre that helps people access information and services relevant to people with a spinal cord injury.

SCI BC brings to the CDPP a wealth of experience in the design and delivery of services and best-practices to support people with disabilities, strong communications with the disability community, and leadership in the drive toward greater participation and integration among Canadians with disabilities.  Given its focus on helping people with disabilities thrive in their communities, SCI BC has a keen interest in the activities being undertaken by all three CDPP project areas: employment, mobility and sport/exercise. 

According to Dr. McBride, "Today, more than ever, no single organization alone can provide all the necessary support and service required by individuals within the SCI community, and research evidence is required to inform what practices will yield the greatest impact with the limited resources community service groups have available to them. Collaboration, partnership, and practice based on valid evidence is critical for overall improvements in meeting the unmet needs of British Columbians with SCI and for creating opportunities for them to improve their quality of life and levels of community participation."


Update Regarding MITACS Funding

MitacsIn previous communications, we indicated that MITACS would provide matching funds (minimum $7,500) for graduate students to work with CDPP Community Partners, through an expedited process.

Since that communication, one of our partners has submitted an application to MITACS. We are finding that the application process has not been nearly as simple nor as streamlined as initially suggested to us. If you are considering submitting a MITACS application, please contact Kathleen for further information.


Student Exchange

This May, Toni Williams was invited by Kathleen, and funded by the CDPP, to spend a month at McMaster University to contribute to a research project on physical activity and disability. Toni is currently studying for her PhD in exercise psychology at the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport at Loughborough University in the UK. Using a variety of qualitative methods she has specifically addressed the barriers, benefits and facilitators of physical activity for people with SCI. Toni was therefore able to utilize her methodological experience and subject knowledge to qualitatively explore how exercise interventions for disabled people can be improved to increase physical activity within this population. She had a great time working alongside various members of the CDPP team and getting involved in other academic activities with the whole kinesiology department at McMaster University. Toni was very thankful for this excellent opportunity and hopes to continue this collaboration in the future.


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. A poster for this project was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP 2015) in April.

1.2 Life-Course Analysis: This project will 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. We have completed key informant interviews with community partners and other stakeholders, and are currently analyzing the transcripts and preparing for our focus groups which will take place this summer.

1.2 Performance Appraisal Study: This project 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. We have completed data collection for a pilot study to help finalize the experimental protocol, and are set to begin preliminary data analysis.

1.4 Utility analysis: The purpose of this project is to quantify the net benefit of hiring and accommodating people with physical disabilities, through a formal cost-benefit analysis. We have begun analyzing data provided by Sodexo, and are in the process of recruiting additional employers to participate in the project.


1.1 Systematic Reviews: The aim of this sub-project is to conduct four literature reviews to determine the state of knowledge and research gaps among the mobility and social participation literature, and to develop a testable conceptual model of participation. Bill Miller and Emma Smith’s systematic review of factors influencing social and community participation for wheelchair users (reference below) has been published in Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology. The review identified wheelchair factors, accessibility, skills with wheelchair use, pain, finances and education, to be associated with participation among wheelchair users; however more research focused on modifiable factors is required.

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 Enabling Mobility And participatioN among those with Disabilities (dEMAND): The purpose of this project is to identify mobility barriers and facilitators via a mixed-methods approach. The methods have been finalized and include activity monitoring, PhotoVoice and environmental audits. Ethics submissions are underway in both Quebec City and Vancouver, with data collection beginning in early Summer.

Sport and Exercise

1.3 National Physical Activity Monitoring Study: The purpose of this project is to evaluate sport and physical activity participation among adolescents with physical disabilities across Canada. The protocol for this study is still under development.

2.2 Parent support study: The purpose of this project is to examine predictors of parental support behaviour for sport participation among youth with disabilities. Elicitation data have been collected (N=25) and are currently being analyzed to inform the development of a questionnaire. The questionnaire will be administered among parents in the fall of 2015.

1.2 Predictors of Parasport Initiation: The purpose of this project is to identify factors related to elite athletes' initiation in Parasports. The first phase of the study will focus on pilot-testing among Canadian Para PanAm athletes while Phase 2 will entail a cross-sectional study of International Paralympic athletes. The protocol for this study is under development.

Cross Cutting  & The Canadian Disability Policy Alliance

Cross Cutting: A sub-group, led by Kathleen Martin Ginis, has been working to develop a definition of ‘quality participation’ that can be used across the teams and across projects. A draft definition has been created and has been circulated to the Team Leaders.

The Canadian Disability Policy Alliance has completed the first of three reports on policy related to our three research themes.  This report examines legislation from all provincial and federal jurisdictions in Canada governing employment supports to people with disabilities.  The 30-page report is currently being reviewed by our 7 policy partners in this project to ensure its accuracy and usefulness.  It will then be circulated to all partners, and we encourage you to contact Mary Ann McColl ( or Lynn Roberts ( at the CDPA with your comments or questions.  Reports for the Mobility Team and the Sport & Recreation Team are in the works!