Issue Date: June 2017

What's in this issue:

  • Message from Project Director,
  • NEW Community Partner Profile: Gateway Association,
  • NEW Research Partners: Dr. Blair Evans & Dr. Jennifer Tomasone,
  • AWARD Celina Shirazipour,
  • The KTE Shop,
  • Canadian Disability Policy Alliance Update,
  • CDPP Project Updates

Message from the Project Director

Dear CDPP Partners,

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a year since we moved out to Kelowna.  Along with my family and students, I am enjoying all that the ‘Okanagan Lifestyle’ has to offer. Indeed, this spring, I became the proud owner of a two-person sea kayak.

It has been a relatively smooth transition, facilitated by welcoming faculty and staff at UBC and your support through some unexpected administrative bumps. 

The biggest ‘bump’ has certainly been with regard to the transfer of funds. As of today, McMaster is still waiting on the return of funds from a couple of universities. Once all funds are returned, McMaster will issue a cheque to UBC and the sub-grants can be reissued. We are continuing to nudge the research offices at universities with outstanding monies. If you have been contacted because your university has outstanding funds, please do your best to help this process along, as the transfer cannot be finalized until all monies have been returned. I do appreciate how challenging the unexpected loss of access to grant funds has been for everyone and I thank you for your understanding and patience.

As the financial transfer winds up, two partnership-wide administrative activities are getting underway. First, Teams are being asked to review their project milestones and progress in order to develop and finalize research and knowledge mobilization plans for 2018-2021. Second, Adrienne and I are beginning to prepare the SSHRC Partnership Grant Milestone Report. The report is due October 31, 2017 and captures activities during the first half of the grant period.  Team Research Coordinators will be contacting you in the coming weeks to request information for the report. As funding for the second half of the grant period is contingent on satisfactory completion of the Milestone Report, we ask that you please be responsive and timely in providing information.

A couple of our team members have recently celebrated some significant milestones of their own. In January, Dr. Luc Noreau retired from Université Laval and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration. Having come to count on Luc’s wisdom and good advice, I am very pleased that he has agreed to stay on in his role as the Research Lead for the CDPP Executive.

In April, Duane Geddes retired as Executive Director of the Sam Sullivan Disability Foundation. Ms. Ruby Ng has been appointed as the new Executive Director; we welcome Ruby as she steps into Duane’s role as Community Lead for the Mobility Team. Thank you Duane, for your commitment and enthusiasm for building bridges between scientists, community organizations, and community members. We’ll miss working with you and we wish you well in your next life chapter.

We are also pleased to welcome Gateway Association as a new partner. Over the past two years, the Employment Team has built a partnership with Gateway to foster research collaboration and community engagement. We invite you to read more about Gateway in the Community Partner Profile section of this newsletter.

Have a wonderful summer and, as always, please let me know what I can do to support your work with the CDPP.

I’m off to try out my new kayak.


New! Community Partner

We would like to formally welcome and introduce you to our newest community partner, Gateway Association. Gateway is a family and employment resource centre that provides education, family support, mentorship and inclusive employment opportunities for job seekers with disabilities.  The staff at Gateway work hard to build meaningful, paid employment relationships for both employers and employees who live with disabilities.  

Gateway enthusiastically supports rigorous and scientifically-sound research and has been working with the CDPP Employment Team exploring collaborative opportunities.  They have been extremely helpful in identifying staffing specialists who work with job seekers with disabilities and by bringing community stakeholders (e.g., employers of people with disabilities) together for an on-going CDPP Employment Team research project—Job Carving. With Gateway’s help, we secured participants from two populations: employers who have benefited from job carving initiatives, and employment specialists (e.g., agency members) who have assisted people with disabilities find positions through job carving.

While Gateway works primarily with the Employment Team, their mission extends beyond employment (e.g., they aim to increase education and awareness for disabilities in the community to help people with disabilities thrive in all areas of their lives), we foresee opportunities to collaborate with our other CDPP teams as well.

NEW! Research Partners

CDPP would like to officially welcome our newest academic co-investigators, Dr. Blair Evans and Dr. Jennifer Tomosone, who joined the Sport and Exercise team in October 2016.

Dr. Blair Evans is an assistant professor of Kinesiology at Penn State University.  His research focuses on the inherent social nature of sport and physical activity, and ensuring that meaningful and positive relationships are developed in these settings. Dr. Evans’ research approach often includes pairing theories or methods from across disciplinary boundaries – ranging from organizational psychology to behavioral economics. He is especially interested in understanding how youth sport mitigates negative peer interactions, such as bullying, and promote positive peer relationships.  While a post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Evans was actively involved in CDPP-related research.  He co-authored the paper discussing a broader conceptualization of participation and is involved in projects exploring the meaning of quality participation in sport and physical activity among military veterans and parasport athletes.  Dr. Evans currently is leading a project aiming to identify practical elements of quality participation in sport and physical activity.

Dr. Jennifer Tomasone is an Assistant Professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University.  The goal of her research program is to close the gap between what we know about promoting physical activity and sport participation, and how this knowledge is applied in practical settings for persons with disabilities. Her research to date has focused on knowledge translation, or closing research-to-practice gaps, for physical activity behaviour change for persons with physical disabilities and cancer. Her work has been conducted in a variety of contexts including healthcare and community-based organizations.  Her research adopts an integrated knowledge translation approach, whereby she includes relevant stakeholders throughout all stages of research so that her findings will be meaningful in the “real-world”. Dr. Tomasone also is the Executive Co-Director of Kingston Revved Up a community-based adapted exercise program for people with a disability.  In this role, she oversees the intern education and training program.  She recently developed an integrated learning training module focused on developing undergraduate interns’ skills for prescribing and supervising exercise for people with disability. 

AWARD! Queen's University Governor General's Gold Medal 

Celina Shirazipour

Congratulations to Celina, pictured here with Dr. Amy Latimer-Cheung, for achieving the highest academic standing of excellence at the graduate level at Queen’s University for her PhD dissertation. Her research, which was supported by the CDPP, examined quality physical activity participation for military veterans with a physical disability.  Well done!


CDPP Knowledge Transfer & Exchange Support

(aka: The KTE Shop)

Under the direction of Dr. Heather Gainforth (CDPP KT Content Expert), and with support from CDPP KT Specialist Spero Ginis, the KTE Shop will officially open this summer. Project leads will be able to go to the shop/CDPP website and start the consultative process for developing a customized Knowledge Translation/Exchange (KTE) plan for their projects.

Whether you are just starting your project and want to plan an integrated KT approach (iKT) or are finished your research and are ready to start an end-of-grant KT project to reach targeted audiences, the The KTE Shop will help you workthrough a plan to develop and translate findings into knowledge products for delivery to end-users. 

Canadian Disability Policy Alliance Update 

New Project Coordinator at CDPA: I am pleased to announce that Shannon Jones has joined CDPA as the new Project Coordinator.  (Those of you who are subscribers to the CDPA monthly newsletter will know that our previous Project Coordinator, Lynn Roberts, has moved to another position within Queen’s.)  Shannon comes to us with an MA in Health Studies and Leadership from Athabasca University.  She also brings more than 10 years’ experience as a disability/ return-to-work specialist with both Queen’s and the City of Kingston, as well as numerous other skills and experiences that equip her for this position.  We welcome her contributions to CDPA and CDPP!  Her email address is:, and her phone number remains:  613-533-6000 (x 78019).

Sport & Physical Activity Policy Scan: Over the past year, we have employed an undergraduate student (Rob Basmajian) from Life Sciences at Queen’s to assist us with the national policy scan for the Sport and Physical Activity Team.  The report is currently undergoing a final review, and should be posted on our website next month.  Sport has turned out to be a very complex policy area, as we learned when we worked with Femke Hoekstra from the Netherlands on the federal policy scan on sport (

3rd Edition of National Disability Policy Scan: Over the summer, we will post the full 3rd edition of the national policy scan.  This edition is improved in several ways, incorporating our learning from previous versions.  It includes not only the federal government and the 10 provinces, but also the 3 territories.  It includes live links to clauses in the statutes dealing with disability issues.  It benefits from refinements to our search strategies learned over the years.  Our thanks to doctoral student in Rehab Science at Queen’s, Atul Jaiswal, for his meticulous work on this edition.  For a preview, take a look at the report of the federal government section of the 3rd edition, already posted (

Changing attitudes toward disability in Canada: CDPA recently took part in a media announcement in Ottawa, alongside the federal Minister for Sport and Persons with Disabilities, the Hon. Carla Qualtrough (see photo).  The briefing was organized by CAIP – the Canadian Access and Inclusion Project – funded to provide advice to the Minister about forthcoming federal disability legislation.  The announcement highlighted the upcoming Innovation Think Tank in Ottawa in November.  This event is intended to generate new ideas to “throw the doors wide open” to people with disabilities in Canada. 

Meeting with Mobility Team: I am pleased to be meeting with the Mobility Team about ways to translate their wealth of research findings into focused, policy-relevant statements that will help policy makers to do the right thing in their constituency with regard to enhancing participation among people with disabilities.  Try this challenge that I have posed to the researchers on that team!  Complete the sentence – “Our research shows that …”.   Add a phrase that makes a definitive statement of something that you have discovered in your research – don’t be shy!  You are doing wonderful work, and now we want to feature it in a way that policy-makers and other people not used to reading research reports can grasp the 2 or 3 key points of what your research has found!

CDPP Project Updates


Scoping Review on Employment Supports for Youth: This review aims at understanding existing workplace and policy level supports for Canadian youth and young adults with disabilities. We will examine Canadian academic and gray literature. Findings will provide us with a better understanding of the current policies and practices that are being utilized to help youth and young adults with disabilities find and sustain employment, and highlight potential knowledge and practice gaps.

Employability Study: We are exploring factors that contribute to the development and outcomes of employability in individuals with physical disabilities. This 12 month longitudinal study will involve approximately 300 participants who are receiving employment supports (e.g., general job-related training, interview skills). In January 2017, a pilot study was completed through Neil Squire Society. Currently, 15 individuals have enrolled in the study and over 20 community-based service organizations across Canada are supporting the project by providing information about the study to their new clients. Data collection is expected to be completed by January 2019.

Job Carving Study: This study explores the process of job carving (or job crafting) as a contributor to the quality of employment experiences for people with disabilities. We conducted three focus groups, two with staff members from organizations offering employment support for job seekers with disabilities and one with employers and HR personnel. The focus groups have been transcribed and we are beginning qualitative analysis.


Implementation of Community Based Exercise Program: Fitness and Mobility Exercise Outside of Usual Settings (FAMOUS): FAMOUS is an integrated knowledge translation project which aims to develop an implementation framework and implement evidence-based community exercise for people after stroke through stakeholder engagement and development of partnerships between organizations representing people after stroke, community health and community centres and the health authority. The second round of the focus groups (community exercise after stroke) are underway, with expansion to include Providence Health Care and Lions Gate Hospital.  Analysis of data from the first round has commenced and an abstract has been submitted to the Canadian Stroke Conference. A presentation of this data at the GF Strong Research Day was awarded best podium presentation for a post-doctoral fellow. The program will be piloted in September with the support from emerging partnerships with the Stroke support group and health authority workers.

Enabling Mobility And participatioN among those with Disabilities (dEMAND): The objective of this study is to identify what kind of activities assistive technology users participate in as well as the facilitators and barriers to their participation in Vancouver BC and Quebec City, Quebec.

  • In Vancouver and Quebec, data collection is wrapping up. Transcription and data analysis is underway, and the team will begin writing up the results in the next few months.
  • The team has also added a knowledge translation component to the project. A grant entitled “Enabling mobility and participation among those with disability (dEMAND): Knowledge mobilization and community engagement” was awarded to the team through the SFU Community Engagement Initiative. This project will use videography with participants for knowledge translation. The team is in the process of finishing the pre-production of the video and filming will be completed in mid-June

Exploring the impact of wilderness/outdoor activity participation among individuals with disabilities: This qualitative research project is complete, and the resultant manuscript was accepted to Disability and Rehabilitation.

Shing, J., James, L., Mortenson, W. B., Mattie. J., & Borisoff, J. (2016). Experiences with and perceptions of an adaptive hiking program. Disability and Rehabilitation. (Accepted February, 2017)

Exploring the impact of disabled sailing participation among individuals with disabilities: This qualitative research project is complete, and the resultant abstract accepted as a presentation at the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapy National Conference.

Bahen, M., Hanna, C., Mortenson, W. B., Labbé, D., Borisoff, J., & Mattie, J. (2017). Isn’t it swell? Stakeholders experiences' with an adapted sailing program. Paper presentation at Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) National Conference. June 21-24, Charlottetown, PEI.

Effectiveness of peer-led wheelchair training in the community: This project will evaluate the feasibility of Wheelchair training Self-efficacy enhanced for Use (WheelSeeU), a peer-led, goal-oriented manual wheelchair training program in the Vancouver community. The ethics application will be submitted in August. 

Mobility Resource Catalogue: This project will compile mobility resources into a catalog for mobility users and clinicians. The scoping review for this catalog will be completed by the end of the summer, 2017. A manuscript is in progress.

An Evaluation of Sam Sullivan Disability Foundation (SSDF) Programming: This research project employs a mixed-methods approach to examine the impact and effectiveness of SSDF programming on the lives of people with disabilities. All of the qualitative data for this evaluation have been collected and analysis is underway. A survey based on this research has been created and is being initialized. There are plans to develop a ‘KT Casebook’ as a KT output.

Employment Mentorship Support Project: The project will test and evaluate whether the pairing of people with physical disabilities who are seeking employment with community-based, trained volunteer mentors can help reduce obstacles and increase the potential for employment. We continue to collect the data as per the protocol.

Sport & Exercise

Development and evaluation of a Smartphone-delivered Peer Physical Activity Counselling (SPPAC) program for manual wheelchair users: The purpose of this project is to develop and evaluate an intervention that uses smartphone technology and peers to target psychological factors (motivation, self-efficacy) for improving behavioural outcomes (physical activity, wheelchair mobility). The SPPAC program has been developed and refined through a systematic review, focus groups and Delphi surveys. A pilot (pre-post + retention) evaluation has enrolled 4 participants in Québec to date. Data collection will begin in Montréal and Vancouver in Fall 2017.

Parents' Evaluations of Inclusive Physical Activity Messaging for Children and Youth With Disabilities: By sampling parents of children with disabilities, this project aims to understand their opinions, beliefs, and attitudes regarding physical activity participation and promotion messages. Parents evaluate four different media commercials and express their likes and dislikes. We are also interested in understanding which media messages are effective at motivating parents to support their children to engage in physical activity. Currently, 83 participants have completed the study and preliminary statistics are under way. 

Practitioner Training Survey: Understanding needs related to Physical Activity for People with Physical Disabilities: The purpose of this study is to identify the training and educational needs of health care professionals, and fitness and recreation professionals about physical activity participation for people with physical disabilities. The results of this survey will help to identify what training resources professionals are currently using, how confident they feel about using training resources, and what could be improved. Data collection is underway, however, the online survey will be closed as of June 30th. If you are interested in participating in this study or would like to share it with others, please use the following link:

The Experiences and Perceptions of Physical Activity Interventions for Disabled People: The purpose of this review and qualitative meta-synthesis was to improve our understanding of what makes a physical activity intervention effective for people with physical impairments and mobility impairments. We identified seven important intervention components and outcomes: 1) Diversity of interventions; 2) Importance of communication; 3) Need for social support; 4) Behavioural strategies; 5) Gaining knowledge; 6) Re-framing thoughts about exercise and the self; and 7) Health and well-being. Taken together, our results indicate that disabled people perceived a combination of intervention types (informational, social and behavioral) to be most effective for promoting physical activity initiation and maintenance.

Williams, T.L., Ma, J.K., & Martin Ginis, K.A. (2017). Participant experiences and perceptions of physical activity-enhancing interventions for people with physical impairments and mobility limitations: a meta-synthesis of qualitative research evidence. Health Psychology Review, 11(2), 179-196.

Cross Cutting

Evaluation and Cataloguing of KM Resources: Members of the Employment Team are working on a project to identify employment resources available to youth with disabilities. Members of the Mobility Team are creating a catalogue of educational resources for mobility aids and the Sport Team is working on sourcing KM resources for teachers, recreation/fitness practitioners, emerging adults, and parents of children with disabilities.

Measurement of Quality Participation:  We are in the final phases of data collection to validate a questionnaire to assess the six experiential aspects of participation in people with physical disabilities. Approximately 200 people have completed the survey out of a target sample of about 225.  We particularly need to hear from people with disabilities who participate in the workforce or who play a sport.  Please help with recruitment by forwarding the ad in this newsletter.  The project lead, Dr. Shane Sweet, is hopeful that psychometric analyses will be completed by the end of the summer and the questionnaire will be ready to use by late fall. Thank you to everyone who has helped with recruitment for this study. We are nearing our recruitment target and are making a final push to engage another ~25 participants. Please help us with this important project by forwarding the recruitment ad shown below, pdf here: Download Quality of Participaiton PDF

Quality of participation