Equality and Justice
For People With Disabilities

Upcoming Seminars

Reach provides legal and resource information to people with all disabilities, their caregivers, educators, lawyers and service providers. Reach holds both brown-bag lunchtime and evening seminars as well as conferences on topics such as mental wellness, PTSD, abuse, workplace accommodations, learning disabilities and many other topics related to disabilities.

If you would like to suggest a topic for discussion or discuss partnering with us please send us an email

Reach's Legal Referral and Educational Programs are supported by the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund and the Ottawa Community Foundation.

"...It was a privilege for me to be part of this program.Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you all and for your dedication to making life better for people living with disabilities."

Dr. Francine F-A. Sarazin, C.Psych., Pratique en Neuropsychologie / Practice in Neuropsychology, Évaluation de capacité / Capacity Assessment 


Upcoming Seminars

Family Law, Access, and COVID-19

COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of society, including family life. Please join Reach for a discussion on family law and access issues. In speaking about access in the context of COVID-19, the presentation will, among other things, touch on considerations for families with parents and/or children living with disabilities, as well as provide information on navigating the current family law court process during the pandemic. Our speaker will be Lisa Sharp, a family law and immigration lawyer practicing in Ottawa. 

Lisa Sharp has practised family law for fifteen years, including family and child protection litigation, adoptions, and fertility law.  Lisa is a parent / step parent to seven children; some of whom are persons with disabilities. Lisa offers a welcoming and accessible office to all families and has worked with families led by lesbian, gay, straight and transgender parents.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

There is no fee to attend this event, but advanced registration is required. This Legal Information Seminar is made possible with support from the Ottawa Community Foundation. 

Register now!


Past Seminars


Returning to Work in a Pandemic: Employee and Disability Rights during COVID-19

As workplaces begin to re-open following the COVID-19 shutdown, employees face difficult questions about how to protect their health and safety, fulfill their family obligations, and protect the health and safety of those around them. Please join Reach for a discussion on employees’ rights while returning to work during COVID-19, with a specific focus on the disability rights of employees and their family members. Our speaker will be Morgan Rowe, a lawyer with RavenLaw.
Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

There is no fee to attend this event but advanced registration is required.


ODSP and Supplementary Government Benefits during COVID-19

Are you a front line worker who wants to learn about whether new supplementary government benefits during COVID-19 have any consequence for those receiving benefits under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)? Please join Reach for a discussion on recent changes to ODSP, as well as the impact if any, on ODSP recipients. Our speaker will be Randy Slepchik, partner, Jewitt McLuckie & Associates LLP. 

This seminar is offered through the Legal Referral & Information Clinics program with funding from the Ottawa Community Foundation.

Tuesday, July 14 2020 - 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

There is no fee to attend this event but advanced registration is required. 


Culture Change in Long-Term Care Homes

Matt Gervan, Personal Injury Lawyer and Partner with McNally Gervan LLP, along with Kathy Wright , V.P., CARP* Ottawa Board and Barbara Schulman, CARP* Ottawa member, will provide an overview on the topic of Long Term Care homes for front-line workers - issues and changes, as well as addressing common questions arising in this area.

*formerly the Canadian Association of Retired Persons

Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

There is no fee to attend this event but advanced registration is required. 


Wills, Estates and Powers of Attorney for Front-Line/Community Workers

Raymond Murray and Erin Kelley from the firm of Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP will provide an overview on the topic of wills, estates and powers of attorney, and address common questions arising in this area, as well as discuss some specific issues to consider during COVID-19. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 11:00am - 12:00pm

Via Zoom

There is no fee to attend this event but advanced registration is required. 

Fall 2019

Reconnect, Rejuvenate and Build Resilience: An Evening for Caregivers

Are you caring for an elder, or a child or adult living with a disability or neurodiversity?  Do you sometimes feel like you have nothing left to give?  Please join Reach, Equality and Justice for People with Disabilities, for an engaging and informative session about resilience and self-compassion for caregivers.  Reconnect with yourself and others, take time to fill your self-care tank, and head home with practical mindfulness tools to help build resilience.

Hear from speakers Gail Dawson, Social Worker, MSW, and Heather Cross, Mindfulness and Yoga Instructor, owner of Here and Now Studio, and Lawyer.

When:  December 3, 2019, 7 - 9 pm
Where:  United Way Building, 363 Coventry Road, Ottawa

Spring 2019

Planning for People Living with Disabilities

March 20, 2019
7 pm - 9 pm
Ramada Inn, Cornwall - 805 Brookdale Ave, Cornwall, ON K6J 4P3  

Please join Reach and Citizen Advocacy for an educational evening to learn more about planning options available specifically for people living with disabilities. Areas covered will include:

Wills and Henson Trusts;

Powers of Attorney;



Disability Tax Credit; and

Registered Disability Savings Plan.

Following the presentations, there will be an opportunity to speak briefly with a lawyer and/or a financial planner on a one-on-one basis to ask individual questions. 

Our speakers will be lawyers Michele Allinotte, Allinotte Law Office, Elizabeth Lockhart, Elizabeth Lockhart Law, and Financial Planner, Lisa Whittleton, Equity Financial Services.



Fall 2018

Wills, Power of Attorney and Estate Planning for Beneficiaries with Disabilities

Thursday, November 22th, 2018/Jeudi 22 Novembre 2018

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Public Service Alliance of Canada Building, 233 Gilmour St., Ottawa  

Please join Reach, Equality and Justice for People with Disabilities/ Égalité et justice pour les personnes ayant un handicap, for an educational seminar on Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Estate Planning when there are beneficiaries with disabilities.  Come learn about planning for long-term financial care. The evening will include an overview and discussion on the importance of wills and estates, powers of attorney, Henson Trusts and the Registered Disability Savings Plan ("RDSP").  Following the presentation, there will be an opportunity to speak briefly with a lawyer on a one-on-one basis to ask individual questions. 

Des conseils juridiques en français seront également offerts au besoin. 

Our speakers will be lawyers Leslie Kirk, Kirk Law Office, and Stéphanie Lalonde, Mathieu Quesnel Professional Corporation.

There is no charge for this event, however registration is required.

Compassion Fatigue and Mindfulness for Caregivers

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018/Mardi 27 Novembre 2018         

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

United Way/Centraide Ottawa, 363 Coventry Rd., Ottawa

Please join Reach, Equality and Justice for People with Disabilities/ Égalité et Justice Pour Les Personnes Ayant un Handicap, for an engaging discussion on Compassion Fatigue and Mindfulness for Caregivers. How can we best care for ourselves while also caring for others? Are you caring for an elder, a child or adult with special needs, disability or neurodiversity? Come learn about compassion fatigue, resilience, and how to develop a relaxation practice.
Our speakers will be Gail Dawson, Social Worker, MSW, and Heather Cross, Mindfulness and Yoga Instructor, owner of Here and Now Studio, and Lawyer.


Fall 2017- Spring 2018
Health Care and the Vulnerable Person Series

Part 1: Consent and Capacity, Substitute Decision-Making, Power of Attorney for Personal Care

Date: Thursday November 30, 2017 at Sandy Hill Community Centre, 250 Somerset St. East (fully accessible)

Time: 8:30 a.m. to 12: 00 p.m. (includes a networking breakfast)

Join us in the morning to learn from three experts: Dr. Francine Sarazin, C.Psych. Practice in Neuropsychology and Capacity Assessment, Elizabeth Lockhart,  Lawyer & Mediator and Audrey Cole, activist and educator with deep roots in the Community Living movement. She is known for her expertise on guardianship legislation and her work on supported decision making.


Part 2:  Living Well and Dying Well-  Discussion on range of options such as increased supports, palliative care, medically assisted dying

Date: Thursday April 19, 2018  

Time:  8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Venue: The Royal Canadian Legion, Montgomery Branch, 330 Kent Street, Ottawa

Featuring a panel of three experts: Nadine Valk, Executive Director of the Champlain Hospice Palliative Care Program, Dr. Jill Rice MD, CCFP(PC), Champlain Regional Palliative Consultation Team & Palliative Care Lead and Kelly Doctor, Lawyer, Goldblatt Partners LLP, Part 2 will be of specific interest to health and legal professionals, caregivers and clients.

This program may be eligible toward the Law Society's CPD Requirement as Substantive Hours.  Please note that this program is not accredited for Professionalism Hours.  


Part 3: Health Care and Protecting the Vulnerable Persons in our Community-  Rights and Resources

Discussion on vulnerable people at risk while in care facilities or under home attendant care. Seminar will include introduction to Elder Mediation. Speakers include: Daniel Nassrallah, partner at DNG law firm; Elizabeth Sterritt, certified family mediator; Kim McDonald, Case manager, Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Resource Centre.

Date: Thursday May 31, 2018

Time: 8:30 a.m. to 12: 00 p.m.

Venue: The Royal Canadian Legion, Montgomery Branch, 330 Kent Street, Ottawa

Spring 2017

Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder or Suspected Eating Disorder – What to Look for, How to Respond

Tuesday May 16, 2017, 7pm-9pm

Canterbury High School, 900 Canterbury Ave, Ottawa, ON K1G 3C3

Dr. Hien Nguyen, C.Psych. and  Dr. Sarah Jane Norwood, C.Psych., Anchor Psychological Services are both registered psychologists with the College of Psychologists of Ontario having completed their predoctoral residency at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Dr. Nguyen has worked and trained at community-based mental health centres, university clinics, and tertiary care hospitals. She has extensive experience working with children and adolescents from diverse backgrounds, across various age groups and presenting with a wide range of clinical, learning, and developmental difficulties.

Over the course of her training, Dr. Norwood has gained experience providing psychological services to children, youth, and families in hospital and community mental health settings. She has also co-authored numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals and has presented her research on body image, eating disorders, and emotion regulation at several international conferences.

Invisible Disabilities: Addictions in the Workplace

Tuesday April 25 at  11 am to 1pm (bring your own lunch, refreshments available)

Location: 601 Cumberland | Ottawa | K1N 6N5, second floor above Café Nostalgica. Fully Accessible.

Psychologist Matthew Rippeyoung will discuss the shift in how substance use and abuse is conceptualized, the variety of treatment approaches and how to support a person struggling with substance use, and information about local treatment options.

Lawyer and partner at Jewitt McLuckie & Associates, Randy Slepchik will present the legal framework behind addiction issues in the workplace and entitlement to disability benefits. This will engage employment law, labour law, human rights law (the duty to accommodate) and insurance law.
Best practices and strategies for assisting employees with disabilities whether as their lawyer or when assisting a colleague in the workplace will also be addressed.

This program contains 2 Professionalism Hour(s).

Fall 2016

Wills, Estates and Power of Attorney
Most Burning Estate Questions

Tuesday November 29 from 7pm - 9pm

United Way - 363 Coventry Rd, Ottawa ON K1S 4E6

Questions you have in planning for the financial security of a family member with a disability, taking into account his or her unique circumstances and needs, will be addressed by this REACH workshop on Estate Planning Options for Family Members with Disabilities: Wills/Estates/Power of Attorney/Trusts.

Presenter: Wills/Estates Lawyer, Erin McNamara, McNamara Law. The presentation will be followed by an opportunity to meet for a 10-12 minute consultation with a lawyer on a one to one basis for your individual questions.


Eating Disorders - Signs, Symptoms, Stigma:  Panel of lived experience and clinicians

Wednesday October 5th, 12:00pm to 2:30pm - Welcome to bring your own lunch

Presented by: Reach , Hopewell, National Initiative for Eating Disorders

Catholic Family Service Ottawa- 310 Olmstead, Ottawa

Panelists include:  Wendy Preskow, Founder/President NIED-National Initiative for Eating Disorders; Dr. Sarah Jane Norwood and Dr. Hien Nguyen, Anchor Psychological Services; and Nerys Parry, Ottawa writer and mother of two, one of whom struggles with an eating disorder.


Introduction of Mindfulness

Thursday October 20, 2016 from 11:30am to 1:30pm

400 Coventry Road- Enbridge Building, corner of Coventry and Belfast

This workshop is an introduction to the history of mindfulness and its fundamental principles. Participants will have the chance to experience both formal and informal mindfulness. The workshop consists of mindfulness practices, group discussions and educational materials on incorporating mindfulness to daily life.

Sonia Tanguay, a psychotherapist, provides counselling and psychotherapy to young adults and adults on ADHD, autism, anxiety, depression and stress management. Zsuza Grandpierre, is a Canadian Certified Counsellor, a Registered Psychotherapist, Mindfulness Teacher and Professional Development Instructor.