Contact Us | 1-800-664-0925 |
| Subscribe to our newsletter |  DONATE |      

History of CCRW 1966-1999

The roots of CCRW started in 1966. Today’s CCRW began to emerge with the passage of the Federal Employment Equity Act in 1986.

In 1966, 75 representatives of workshop programs across Canada formed a committee to discuss operational standards for employing persons with disabilities. In 1976, the committee became the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) and received registration as a national charitable organization.

In 1978, CCRW began holding annual National Training Seminars, developing resources to assist Canadian employers of persons with disabilities based on a business/industrial model rather than a welfare/sickness model.

CCRW began the largest single project in Canadian history (to date) on behalf of rehabilitation workshops in Canada in 1979.  Project BIDS was proposed to design and implement strategies to help employers broaden, refocus, or enhance their workshops employing persons with disabilities.

1981: The International Year of Disabled Persons. The Federal Government funds experimental wage  subsidy programs expected to employ up to 5,000 job seekers with disabilities over 2 years.

The “new” CCRW was announced in 1984, shifting focus toward promotion of employment of persons with disabilities both iinside and outside of “workshops” and increasing collaboration with partners.

Canadian Parliament moved toward greater employment equity for visible minorities and persons with disabilities in 1986 with the Federal Employment Equity Act, citing studies that indicate equal or superior job performance among persons with and without disabilities.

The CCRW cultivated relationships with companies adapting to new obligations to increase the number of persons with disabilities and other designated groups in their workforce. During this time, the CCRW Employer Advisory Committee (EAC) was formed, and national conferences were held to establish links between the business community and agencies that provide employment services to persons with disabilities.

In 1991, surveys confirmed that the “supported employment” model, including accommodations for persons with disabilities, yields greater productivity than the sheltered workshop model.  At the same time, the CCRW took on increasingly broader projects and activities related to improving mainstream employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. This included an innovative study of supported employment (a model for providing real jobs for persons with intellectual disabilities). These new relationships, commitments, and activities provided the CCRW with a more pronounced and unique identity.

Until the late 1980s, there was little training available for Canadians assisting persons with disabilities who were looking for employment. There was also a notable shortage of disability-related training programs for employers. Recognizing these needs, the CCRW became a major source of training workshops related to the employment of persons with disabilities in Canada.

Since 1987, the CCRW has presented dozens of workshops across Canada, which have included training for human resources personnel of major Canadian corporations:

  • 1989-1990: TREND (the Training and Education Network on Disability), a series of seminars and events focused on the employment of persons with disabilities
  • 1993-95: teleconference seminars
  • 1993-95: CTAP (Corporate Training Access Program), which provided access for persons with disabilities to internal training courses of major Canadian corporations;
  • 1996: Working Solutions, which were workshops on interviewing and supervising persons with disabilities

In conjunction with Canada’s National Strategy for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities (1991-96), the CCRW expanded its Programs and Services to include:

  • JANCANA – a toll-free phone consultation service for general job accommodation information
  • Skills Training Partnership (STP)® Program – launched in 1992, an employment training program for persons with disabilities, which was based on innovative partnerships with businesses and community organizations.  (STP)® was later recognized by the UN as a best practice.
  • Wide Area Employment Network (WAEN) – a resume database and job bank specifically for job seekers with disabilities, which was launched as a pilot project in southern Ontario
  • The CCRW also coordinated Human Resources Development Canada’s Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) pilot project for persons with disabilities (1994-96).

Publication activity grew substantially in the late 80s and early 90s, and a variety of authors wrote numerous research reports and other major publications. In 1994, the CCRW began marketing its publications and a full range of books and products on employment and disability from Canadian and U.S. publishers; these were contained in the Emerging Workforce Catalogue. The CCRW newsletter, “”Ability and Enterprise””, was published on a quarterly basis and was a key Canadian periodical on employment and disability issues.

Visit to learn more about our Youth Ability in Skilled Trades program.

Address – National Office

477 Mount Pleasant Road, Suite 105
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4S 2L9
P: 1-800-664-0925
F: 416-260-3093


CCRW Twitter Feed