Founder's Blog

The role of the healthcare provider.

We often hear about the role employers, schools and teachers, landlord’s, and so forth have in ensuring that a disabled patient can get their treatment. Things such as time off work/school, and accessible apartment, and so forth.

Which is fine, but what if your healthcare provider is exploiting that?

From the Ontario Human Rights Commission:

Ontario’s Human Rights Code, the first in Canada, was enacted in 1962. 

The Code prohibits actions that discriminate against people based on a protected ground  in a protected social area.

Protected grounds are:

  • Age
  • Ancestry, colour, race
  • Citizenship
  • Ethnic origin
  • Place of origin
  • Creed
  • Disability
  • Family status
  • Marital status (including single status)
  • Gender identity, gender expression
  • Receipt of public assistance (in housing only)
  • Record of offences (in employment only)
  • Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
  • Sexual orientation.

Protected social areas are:

  • Accommodation (housing)
  • Contracts
  • Employment
  • Services
  • Vocational associations (unions).

So the code says that someone with a disability, for example, can’t have their rights infringed. But it DOES NOT SAY that only employers, for example, infringe.

What if it is your healthcare provider infringing?

I don’t think doctors, nurses, managers, and administrators think of it as infringing on your rights. They book your appointment for 3 pm Thursday, but I might only be part time, that might be my only work shift that week. What about MY RIGHT to earn an income?

Now I’ll freely admit that most health providers can easily re-schedule most tests and procedures. But what if they insist, and you have to fill out one of those against medical advice forms to do so? In my view, that’s infringing on my rights as a disabled person.

I think we need to have a conversation on how our healthcare providers work with our professors/school, employers, landlords, etc. Everyone probably tells you that “your health comes first.” That’s total BS. Without money to pay the rent, and purchase groceries, the treatment means nothing.

It’s time to reconsider our priorities.

Founder's Blog

The diversity of motherhood.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate mother’s of all kinds. Most of us have the traditional view of mother’s. That being the female figure that gave birth to you (or adopted you), and raised us to be upstanding citizens. Doesn’t every mother want their child to attend Harvard Medical School?

My Mom is an amazing person. She stood up for me as a child, told me to chew with my mouth closed, and bought me clothing to wear. I was fortunate to have such a Mom.

Unfortunately, (or not, depending on your perspective), not everyone gets that experience.


To me, a mother is the emotional caregiver in the family. But with stay-at-home Dad’s, that’s not always true anymore. Or alternative families, single parents, the whole gambit of diverse options.

We so often assume that every family has a Mom, and a Dad. Despite changes in Canada’s families, and their makeups, we in general, still assume this. But more often than not, it’s not true. So how then do we change our assumptions?

How do we celebrate the Mom in our life, whomever that person is?


According to a team of world-renowned social psychologists led by Harvard University professor Dr. Mahzarin Banaji, the root of this apparent disconnection between intent and outcome may lie in the unconscious mind. Put simply, our mindset is not as inclusive as we think it is.
It is a distressing claim, one that tends to surprise those who are confronted by evidence that shows their behaviour is out of sync with their intentions. But research conducted by Dr. Banaji and her colleagues reveals that the human brain is hard-wired to make quick decisions that draw on a variety of assumptions and experiences without us even knowing it is doing so. This implicit or hidden system produces lightning-fast but often misguided generalizations while dismissing subtle but important distinctions. Ultimately, these unconscious predispositions shape the decisions we make by affecting the way we interpret information and how we evaluate and interact with people. – Outsmarting our brains


I think that we overcome the assumption by getting to know other people, and families. By changing the way we think about family, and our parents, so that we recognize, and celebrate the people who do provide us with emotional growth.
And weather we have a nuclear family, or not, we celebrate that Mom in our life, as someone who is extraordinary.


Founder's Blog

Can your manager be a gift horse?

Can you manager be a gift horse? Setting expectations.

In our lives, growing up, in school, entering the working world, and moving up the ladder, along the way we get ideas as to what our ‘ideal’ manager would be. The person we report to. Everyone has a different experience, and I’m sure there are more than a few entry level folks afraid of their manager.

Why afraid? We see examples of manager’s on tv. But what if you’re that one unlucky person, who has just had the worst manager in every role they’ve been in? Never allowed even a brief escape so they can breathe. Those are your people who end up on short and long term disability.

We’d like to avoid that.

Instead, I believe manager’s have a duty and obligation to be a gift horse. You’ve heard the saying “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Being in customer service, I know all about setting expectations. A mother may expect that her child will grow up and become Prime Minister of Canada. A father may expect his child to simply grow old due to a developmental disability. And yet another parent may expect their child to pass away due to being born with HIV.

For a manager, the challenges, and juggling, are immense. But that manager has to set expectations with their employees, and vice versa. It’s a relationship that both employee, and manager must, at the very least, endure. But why should both of those people simply endure it?

I have long believed that you have to check your issues at the door. Your spouse might have left you. It’s not your employee’s fault. They don’t deserve to take the brunt of your anger. Instead they deserve your compassion. And yes, this might be a one way street, because you are the manager. You were chosen to lead for a reason.

I don’t expect a manger to be giving out favours and gifts, I expect a manager to give out fairness and compassion. Treat your employees fair, have compassion at all times, and evaluate them fairly, always erring on the side of the benefit of the doubt for them. It’s been proven that employees with low work stress levels are happy, productive employees.


Founder's Blog

What are the benefits?

What are the benefits of serving on a nonprofit board? 

Most individuals who already serve on a nonprofit board need no outside justification for being a board member; they know perfectly well what they are doing and why they want to continue doing it. However, there are others who are too shy to join a board or who need someone else to tell them why it makes sense. Here are some reasons why people join nonprofit boards: 

• They know their skills are needed. 

• A nonprofit is going to improve and will benefit from their contributions. 

• There is a possibility to effect change in an organization. 

• They will feel good by doing good. 

• They enjoy collaborating with interesting people who have the same interests and values. 

• They want to learn new skills. 

• They enjoy being recognized for their efforts. 

• They want to give back to the community. 

• They have found a new reason to live productively. 

• They want to have an impact. 

• It can be fun. 


Consider joining our board today!

Founder's Blog

A livable work week

Pay check to pay check, week to week, mouth to mouth. We’re not really living.

I firmly believe that we work too much. I have a friend here in Barrie, who works 6 days a week. You’d think that would be illegal, but you’d be wrong. The Ontario Employment Standards Act only limits the number of hours per week, and how many hours you should have off between shifts. Other than that, 6 days a week is acceptable. To me it isn’t.

There is no time to relax, no time to enjoy the result of all our hard work.

[themify_quote]Income insecurity affects many Canadians – in 2005, 10.8% of Canadians were under the poverty line, and nearly half of Canadians polled by Environics in 2006 said they were only one or two missed paycheques away from poverty. – CPJ[/themify_quote]

“We know that families and individuals in British Columbia who are caught in the cycle of poverty have really no hope in exiting that cycle and certainly tweaking the system that we have now with small amounts of money is not going to solve the problem.” – Jane Sterk, former BC Green Party leader.

Some of the ways we propose to fix some of this are:

  • A 4 day work week. Let’s give people more time to enjoy some R&R.
  • Paying a higher wage.
  • Lessening the stress on employees.

While a Guaranteed Annual Income would be paid by the government, a minimum wage should be kept so employers don’t take advantage and pay low ages. At the same time it would ideally raise wages, and give some competition for employees.


Founder's Blog

Dreaming of better

Why are there so many
Songs about rainbows?
And what’s on the other side
Rainbows are visions
But only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide
So we’ve been told
And some choose to believe it
I know they’re wrong wait and see
Someday we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me

~ Rainbow Connection


In your everyday job, your everyday career – haven’t you ever wondered “isn’t there better?” Why can’t I be treated better? Why not respectfully? Why only meet the minimums of what the employer must do by law? Why do they not exceed the standard?

A friend of mine often likes to joke that my unofficial motto is “A higher standard.” It certainly is true. I’ll also borrow another slogan I’ve hard – “Think Big. Expect Better.” So why is it as workers we can’t have better?

I believe we can and should have BETTER.

I created Journey to Diversity Workplaces to do just that – to create better. And not just create it, but show how it can be done. Leading by example.

I believe:

1. We can have a higher standard. That the Employment Standards Act has thresholds that are too low.

2. We should get paid better. Anyone making less than $16/hour full time is living below the poverty line, and to me that is simply UNACCEPTABLE.

3. The employees should have more say. At J2DW, the employees are our Class A members, and the people who will make up the bulk of the voting members.

4. Safe work is a right, and isn’t optional. Freedom from harassment, physical injury, and freedom from discrimination, even with job advancement.

5. Everyone should get a holiday off – even if they have to work it. Why not give a day in lieu?

We can, and must have a better workplace. For happier employees, and happier employers.