Equality and Justice
For People With Disabilities


"I commend the folks at Reach Canada for working to address systemic barriers that exist in the legal system and our society as a whole. A city and province where everyone has equitable access to justice is a society we should all strive for."

Joel Harden, MPP Ottawa Centre, 2020

"I recently attended the Trauma Informed Lawyering presentation hosted by REACH. The presenters were fantastic, and the information was extremely useful. Having practiced in personal injury for many years I was able to truly appreciate the practical coping techniques that were discussed during the presentation on how to manage the impact of clients' trauma on your life. What I liked most was that the content was very current and provided an opportunity to licensees to reflect on how they are practicing during the pandemic and the new challenges that we encounter as a profession. I am now a professor and think that these types of educational presentations should be provided to our students so that they can embark on their careers with a focus on their own mental health and they can learn early on to establish healthy boundaries. Thank you REACH!"

Asfrah Syed-Emond, B.A.Hon., LL.B.|Professor, Placement & Legal Studies Coordinator

"REACH was already known to me, when I connected with the organisation as clients during my volunteer work as elected chairperson of the Health Canada Disability Network, as one of the equality groups mandated for the Public Service by the Charter of Rights and Freedom (15.1).   Over three years and at the request of the Network, their lawyers were engaged and provided excellent and helpful educational services through presentations and Q & A sessions. In addition, a contingent of departmental medical professionals attended a joint session of REACH and the labour & employment law firm of Jewitt McLuckie & Associates LLP. In their evaluations, participants of the educational events praised the broad scope and quality of the presentations as well as the flexibility of the organisation’s legal experts.  

Moreover, at various formal and informal community  events I saw first-hand the exemplary engagement of REACH’s staff and volunteers, their enthusiasm, engagement and community leadership on behalf of disabled and less included citizens.

I consider it an honour to volunteer for REACH as an organisation of highest ethical standards that advances human rights in Canada in the spirit of equality and inclusivity."

Dr. E.D. Gardell, Public Servant (Retired), 2020

“Reach has some of the most dedicated and compassionate staff and volunteers, working tirelessly to ensure disabled people in our community have access to justice and equality. They give a voice to some of the most vulnerable people in Ottawa. I am consistently impressed with their level of professionalism and commitment to the greater good of our community.

This tireless dedication has made Reach a recognizable name in Ottawa and an organization that many can turn to. This accrued good will and respect in our community has allowed Reach to form long-term partnerships and mobilize resources. They have a proven ability to bring people together and motivate them to achieve impressive goals. Reach has built an extensive capacity of knowledge, skills and experience that is a tremendous asset to clients in our community!”

Yasir Naqvi, MPP, Ottawa Centre, 2016

“For nearly twenty years now Reach has successfully brought public and private sector forces together to address equality and justice issues that have been identified by community members who have a disability. In doing so, Reach has attracted support from business and professional ranks – in fact volunteers from all walks of life who care passionately about their community. Reach offers a process for change that builds partnerships, mobilizes community resources and empowers individuals to work together in a spirit of inclusion and engagement. Reach is now developing a capacity to share experiences, technologies and resources with like‐minded people; this is what building communities is all about.”

The Right Honourable Ramon J. Hnatyshyn, P.C., C.C, C.M.M., C.D., Q.C. (1934 – 2002), June 1999 

“I wanted to extend my thanks to you and the whole Reach team for an entertaining, heartwarming, and well-organized event last night. Our table thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the entertainers who participated in the evening’s festivities. Mary Walsh could not have been more entertaining, honest, or provocative – she was a hit! While some of our non-lawyer guests were not previously aware of the good work that Reach does, they left with a new found understanding and appreciation of all the hard work that you and the entire organization do to help those in need in our community.”

Robert Sheahan (Gowlings LLP), May 2014

 “The efforts of Reach have assisted many MDO members over the years and will continue to do so, and in turn MDO will continue to support Reach as best as we can by participating in their fundraising events. I know this for a fact as I and other MDO members have walked in the Run for Reach Family 3km walk for the past few years.”

Lianna C, Mood Disorders Ottawa, February 2013

 “I just wanted to thank you and your team for the amazing conference (The Diversity of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Broadening the Conversation) at Algonquin College today. It was superbly executed, the location was perfect and the content was as good as it gets! It was truly a fascinating, educational and hugely inspiring day. Please pass my thanks to all involved and congratulate them on an exceptional event. If you have any other events like this in the future I will be very keen to attend.”

Simon Milne‐Day, Integrated Life Strategies & Deployment Support, June 2013

“A heartfelt thank you for allowing me to attend the recent Reach Canada PTSD Conference. As a lifetime sufferer of PTSD from childhood abuse, trauma and childhood sexual abuse I can honestly say it was such a breath of fresh air to be surrounded by those that understood the effects and limitations of this type of injury. It personally gave me hope and allowed me to feel more at peace for not being alone. The conference really allowed for open and honest dialogue between professionals and fellow PTSD survivors. I feel very blessed to see new doors and pathways to PTSD recovery being offered and explored in our own community. Hats off to all involved.”

Angela O., June 2013

“I owe Reach my personal testimony of thanks for your help in advocating for me over the years. I am a mental health survivor and I have a disability. Twice I obtained help from Reach. In the first case, I was hit by an automobile. Reach connected me with an Ottawa lawyer, who treated me with great respect, made me aware that I had legal rights and obtained for me, in a settlement, physiotherapy etc. so I could recover my physical health. The second time, I received legal help regarding my CPP disability payments. During this time I helped raise my 4 children and worked, when able, part time, as a demo chef. In the beginning of these legal travails, I had to ask myself "Who can help me?" As, on my own, I didn't have the knowledge, clarity, focus, strength or knowledge to move out of the mire. I was paralyzed, fearful and extremely stressed. Most of us survivors feel impotent in the face of life, we don't feel worthy or deserving. My wish is that Reach continues to receive the support they well deserve so they can continue to provide their services. On behalf of the hundreds of voiceless disabled that you have helped, we thank you.”

Christine, June 2012

“Once a week for seven months I volunteered with Reach Canada. This time has remained as my most formative educational and professional experiences to date. As a second year law student at the University of Ottawa, I approached Reach hungry for experience helping individuals with disabilities. Since my first day seven months ago, every minute of my time has been spent supporting individuals with disabilities by operating our lawyer referral program and assisting at community conferences on legal rights. As I embark toward my career in law, I move with confidence for Reach Canada has trained me how to: identify legal issues and create a supportive and judgement free space for individuals. Most importantly, I take away a precise understanding of the significance of pro‐bono services. I truly believe I will be a better lawyer because of my experience volunteering with Reach.”

Eva DiGiammarino, JD Candidate 2014, University of Ottawa

“Volunteering at REACH has been my favourite extra-curricular activity. I’ve gotten immense personal and professional satisfaction knowing I am contributing to such a great organization – one fully committed to ensuring everyone can access justice regardless of the systemic barriers they face. The most gratifying thing is when you are able to tell a client that we have found a volunteer lawyer who can help them. After volunteering each week during the school year, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to stay on as a summer intern. I’m proud of the work we do and of being able to help REACH in its invaluable mission.” 

Tijana Potkonjak, Law School Intern 2015, University of Ottawa

“Access to Justice is a prevailing problem in our justice system that puts well-deserving people in despairing situations. REACH Canada provides much needed support for people with disabilities that face such difficulties. Hearing the joy and gratitude of clients receiving the legal help they need through REACH’s Lawyer Referral Program has been a highlight during my time with REACH. The ability to interact directly with clients has been an invaluable experience and has made me appreciate the social complexities that people with disabilities face in the legal system. It has been wonderful to see so many lawyers from Ottawa volunteer their time with REACH, and it is a great inspiration to law students who are strong advocates of social justice. I am excited for my internship and summer tenure with Reach and am grateful for the wonderful guidance from the ladies at REACH!”

Grace Kang, Law School Intern 2015, University of Ottawa

 "Volunteering with Reach Canada has been tremendously rewarding. The best moments are when clients tell us how much they appreciate our services after consulting with our generous volunteering lawyers.  Reach’s continual devotion to improving access to justice is inspiring. It is an honour to work with such a committed organization. I am excited and looking forward to returning to Reach this summer."

Amanda Chan, Law School Intern 2016, University of Ottawa

“Helping individuals in need has always been a strong passion of mine. Therefore, I am so fortunate to have done my internship at REACH Canada- an organization that truly makes a difference. The experience was like none other.  It was such a rewarding feeling to help connect vulnerable individuals with volunteer lawyers and help them find the justice they deserve! Working at REACH, I also learned skills that are instrumental for any legal career. I recommend this internship for anyone who cares about dismantling the systemic barriers that individuals with disabilities face each day!”

Blake Bochinski, Law School Intern 2016, University of Ottawa

“My work with Reach has been important on a personal and professional level.  Not only is it hands-on experience in a legal capacity, but I get to help people with real problems, who often tell me they have exhausted their other options.  The trust the full-time staff have put in me and my fellow volunteers is exciting and unique among other legal volunteering opportunities.  I have enjoyed my work with Reach so far and I look forward to continuing to do important work in my community through Reach.”

Greg Allan, Law School Intern 2016, University of Ottawa

“I will miss working with Reach when I move back out West but I plan on continuing to find ways to support people with disabilities, whether in a legal capacity or otherwise. It’s a cause that is close to my heart.

I consider myself lucky to have had a number of memorable and enriching experiences at law school and my time at Reach is definitely among them.”

Paige, Law Student Volunteer 2017, University of Ottawa


“Thank you so much for the amazing opportunity to work alongside you at Reach. It has been an incredible learning experience and a privilege to play a small role in the important and meaningful work that Reach does.”

Cara, Law Student Volunteer 2017, University of Ottawa


“Thank you so much for the last few month. I have learned so much about Reach and all the great work you do. You are a great mentor and really supportive”.

Ayesha, Law Student Volunteer 2017, University of Ottawa


"The work being done by Reach Canada is remarkable. They take care of people by providing access to services and information that might otherwise be completely inaccessible. Sage Designs is proud to be able to contribute our time and resources so that, in a small way, we are helping ensure that Reach can continue on its mission."

Sophie Branchaud,  Creative Director - Sage Designs, 2017


"For the past 2 years, Cisco has happily provided an item for the Reach Annual Auction. Cisco truly believes in Reach’s continued support for people with disabilities and their families to seek legal access through Reach’s roster of pro bono lawyers. With the combination of  Reach’s effort and the amazing dedication of their pro bono lawyer roaster there is no limit to the impact they can, and do, provide to our communities."

Sara Hylton (Gunderman), Program Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility - Cisco, 2018


"The work that Reach does is critical and makes a huge difference in the lives of our fellow community members. Legal issues are an extra stressor on anyone’s life, and barriers in obtaining access to services can be an extra strain. The Reach organization and volunteers work endlessly to get the job done and are persistent and optimistic when helping our clients. I am very thankful to be apart of this organization and have learned so much from my experience. Reach is a phenomenal organization with an extremely worthwhile cause, and I look forward to continuing to support Reach and its growth. "

Nour Abbas, Law Student Volunteer 2018-2019, Univeristy of Ottawa


"...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