COVID-19 Disability-Related Resources

Version imprimable

A list of resources:

  • General Covid-19 Information
  • Looking After Yourself
  • Family
  • Rights & Advocacy
  • Employees/Employers
  • Official Sources
  • Media
  • Other Helpful Resources

General Covid-19 information

Abilities Centre COVID-19 Survey Results

Ever wonder how COVID-19 really is affecting people with disabilities? We know individually how each of us is doing, but how about all of us? Are we ok?

The Abilities Centre COVID-19 Disability Survey is designed to measure the needs, well-being and health behaviours of Canadians with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery periods. The results will provide information to assist government agencies and community organizations to develop and implement COVID-19 response strategies that meet the needs of people of all abilities.

Communication Resources

Effective communication is essential in all healthcare situations. Communication Disabilities Access Canada has compiled a range of picture and word boards to support people who have communication disabilities when communicating about COVID-19.  It also provides information for healthcare providers on ways to communicate with patients who cannot speak.  
You can get the resources at the link below.

Accessible Emergency Announcements in Sign Language

This is the place to go for all Canadian live streamed and pre- or post-recorded emergency public health announcements with ASL and LSQ interpreting, including Deaf interpreters, for members of the Deaf community.

This page focuses on interpreted information provided by public health or government officials only. This page has only one main focus, and that is to bring you all sign language interpreted Coronavirus-related news delivered by public health or government officials.

COVID-19 Easy-to-Read

There is lots of talk right now about COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. We may come across lots of information out there, but it is not always easy to understand and it can be confusing. The Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities team is pulling together resources from around the world and information to support people with developmental disabilities and their families during this time.

Look after Yourself

COVID-19 Resources for People who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing

The Canadian Association of the Deaf – Association des Sourds du Canada (CAD-ASC) knows that there are many significant impacts of COVID-19 for Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL) and langue des signes québécoise (LSQ). The mandated personal isolation and “social distancing” that separate people from friends, family, also creates barriers in accessing regular health care, support programs, and services, which lead to increased levels of anxiety. CAD-ASC has resource information related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Get In Motion

Get the support you need to be active at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Get In Motion is free, telephone-based Physical Activity Coaching for Canadian adults with a physical disability such as spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, post-polio syndrome, or an amputation.  

Find out more by using the link below.

Canadian Mental Health Association: Assistance During Covid-19

The effort to address COVID-19 is both extremely important for us all and poses a range of challenges on individuals and families as they respond to the demands of the situation. The situation is stressful for everyone and it is normal to be anxious and worried. This site is designed to provide information and suggestions about how best to cope in this difficult time. It is not intended to be a resource for people who require screening for COVID-19 or are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Do You Need Safe Shelter from Violence?

Women’s shelters and transition houses are open during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect women and children fleeing violence. If you or someone you know needs help or wants to speak to a shelter worker, you can find your closest women’s shelter and their crisis line on this website. Remember that you can get advice and safety planning through their crisis line without moving into the shelter.

If you are a woman experiencing abuse, there is someone you can reach out to any time of day or night.

COVID-19 and Neuromuscular Patients | La COVID-19 et les Patients Neuromusculaires

There is an abundance of information available on COVID-19, but little guidance specific to Canadians with neuromuscular disease (NMD), their families, and their caregivers. The Neuromuscular Network for Canada (NMD4C) and Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC) hope to support the community by compiling this information, recommendations, and links to additional sources. Information is provided to the best of our current knowledge, but recommendations may change as the situation evolves. For tailored advice and treatment, you need to reach out to your health care provider.

Muscular Dystrophy Canada's Ask the Expert About Neuromuscular Disorders (NMD) and Covid-19

Muscular Dystrophy Canada has received numerous questions about COVID-19 and how it may uniquely affect people with neuromuscular disorders (NMD). The COVID- 19 virus is still very new and there are a lot of things we don’t know specific to Canadians with neuromuscular disorders, their families, and their caregivers. Researchers are still studying this new coronavirus and how it affects people who are vulnerable.

Practising Active Living During the Covid-19 Crisis

Keeping active is good for us... for our mind, body and spirit. Now, is a great time to share ways we can be active while dealing with the impact of Covid-19 (coronavirus). The Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability has started a weekly blog with suggestions on what you can do to stay active and still feel included while being home and isolated. It is important to feel connected these days. You can read the blog and be inspired at: - (scroll down the page).

COVID-19 Communication Rights Toolkit

Patients with COVID-19 (coronavirus) who need communication tools and supports due to speech-related disabilities face greater risks of discrimination and isolation during this pandemic. For example, for safety reasons, your family members and others who help you communicate may not be allowed to join you in the hospital. You also may face other barriers to communicating your needs and desires while you are being treated.

Family Resources

Helping Kids with Disabilities Understand Coronavirius

From - Many children are worried about the coronavirus (COVID-19) — the new-to-humans viral strain in the coronavirus family that affects the lungs and respiratory system. As parents, other family members, or children and youth workers, we are likely to be worried about how to keep them safe.

Coronvirus (COVID-19): Tips for Caregivers Serving People with Dementia

This resource is created by the American Alzheimers Association. Most likely, dementia does not increase risk for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, just like dementia does not increase risk for flu. However, dementia-related behaviours, increased age and common health conditions that often accompany dementia may increase risk.

Canadian Association for Community Living's Covid-19 Resources

The Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) knows that the implications of COVID-19 for people with intellectual disabilities and their families are significant. Many of us are facing increased levels of anxiety. Personal isolation and “social distancing” may separate us from friends, family, regular health care, or support systems and services. Our carefully established routines for loved ones with a disability may be disrupted.

Rights and Advocacy

British Columbia's Essential Visitor Policy

On May 19, 2020, a new BC Essential Visitor Policy was announced. Congratulations to all the people who worked hard for this change and to the BC government for taking appropriate action.

Here is an informative article about the BC change:

A Propos De Triage. Quebec

L’élaboration d’un Protocole de triage était une étape nécessaire et importante, afin d’encadrer les décisions des professionnels de la santé en cas de pénuries extrêmes de ressources. Cependant, que l’on soit en situation d’urgence sanitaire ou non, les décisions cliniques ne devraient jamais être prises en violation des droits fondamentaux de tout être humain.

Letter to Provincial and Territorial Ministers from Minister Qualtrough and Minister Hajdu – April 14, 2020

The following letter (English and French) was sent to the provincial and territorial ministers of health by Minister Qualtrough and Minister Hajdu. This letter includes another letter at the end, that 61 disability organizations sent to Minster Qualtrough and Minister Hajdu stating that triage practices must change.


Dear Minister:

Backgrounder - COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group

"During this time of public health and economic crisis, in the spirit of “Nothing Without Us” and the Accessible Canada Act, and in recognition of Canada’s domestic and international human rights obligations, the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that it considers, respects and incorporates the interests and needs of persons with disabilities into its decision-making and pandemic response.

Statement by Minister Qualtrough on Canada’s Disability-Inclusive approach to its COVID-19 pandemic response

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, issued the following statement:

“From the onset of the outbreak of COVID-19, the Government of Canada has taken significant steps to curb the spread of this virus and to reduce its impacts on the health of Canadians and our economy.

Government Offices Most Responsible for Disability Issues across Canada

The Canadian Disability Policy Alliance provides this gem. Government disability services and supports have been described as fragmented and difficult to navigate, especially for those new to the process. In an effort to make it easier to find what you’re looking for, they have assembled some basic information about government disability services across the country. In each province or territory, there is a designated office most responsible for coordinating and governing services and supports to people with disabilities. In this brief report, CDPA attempt to summarize:

Open Letter: COVID-19 Triage Protocols & the Rights of People with Disabilities

People with disabilities and Deaf people are at special risk – some are vulnerable to COVID-19, and all are vulnerable to discriminatory triaging. Organizations representing and supporting people with disabilities, Deaf people, and their families, know that disability itself is already being used as an indicator in deciding who will gain access to needed health care, and who will not. Many people with disabilities and Deaf people fear for their lives. These practices must be stopped immediately.

CTV Interview with Rick Hansen

Rick Hansen speaks to Lisa LaFlamme on CTV about his perspectives on the Covid-19 (Coronavirus). 

"People who are most vulnerable, which includes people w/ disabilities, have extended needs... that often get overlooked during these massive crises. I think it’s very important that we reach out and ensure that our policies, our procedures are adapted to those needs."
You can watch the video by following the link below.

Emerging Challenges Impacting People Living in Vulnerable Circumstances - Canadian Human Rights Commission

The Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Marie-Claude Landry, has a message to share. As the country deals with the Corona virus there is an impact on people in vulnerable circumstances. Here is part of her message. Follow the link to read it in full.

Employee/Employer Resources

Changes to Canada Summer Jobs program to help businesses and young Canadians affected by COVID-19

The Government of Canada is taking unprecedented action to support workers, businesses, and all Canadians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, young people are facing serious challenges finding work. To build the foundations of strong communities, we need a strong workforce that includes good job opportunities for youth. That is why the government is working to help employers adapt to the realities of COVID-19, and supporting young Canadians as they begin to look for summer employment. 

Tools For Working Remotely

From AccessNow's blog: The future of work isn’t remote. It is accessible. As companies move their businesses online and manage their teams virtually, we see progress in ways of working that our community often advocates for. Remote work doesn’t just help #FlattenTheCurve by staying indoors but it also levels the workplace and proves that accessibility for all is possible. Access to digital platforms and tools can get the job done whether you’re in the office or not. 

Official Sources

COVID-19 Vaccination for People with Disabilities (Ontario)

Ontario needs a multi-pronged strategy to reach all people with disabilities that includes improving information about communication accessibility, physical accessibility, and social and sensory environment accessibility throughout the COVID-19 vaccination journey.

Government of Canada's Economic Response Plan for Individuals

This webpage outlines support for:

  • individuals and families
  • people facing unemployment
  • people who are sick, quarantined, or in directed self-isolation

  • people who are unable to work

  • Indigenous peoples

  • people who need it most

  • seniors

  • students and recent graduates

Of note: As of April 6 2020, people with disabilities are not on this list as of yet.


Media Coverage

Canadians with Disabilities Left with Few Alternatives Amid COVID-19 Shutdowns

Article by Tashauna Reid:

"Cindy Ramage's 22-year-old son, Cameron, who lives with cerebral palsy, would typically be at his day program during the week. It's where he gets to ride his specialized bike, take swimming lessons and participate in art therapy. 

But like the majority of day programs, child-care facilities and schools in Canada right now, Cameron's program has shut down because of COVID-19. 

Outbreak of COVID-19 hits Elmira home for people with intellectual disabilities

From CTV Kitchener's Nicole Lampa in video and story format - new Covid-19 outbreak at Elmira District Community Living, a residential home for people with intellectual disabilities. Both staff and residents are affected.

The story is available by following the link below.