About Every Canadian Counts

Every Canadian Counts (ECC) is committed to improving services for Canadians that have long-term, chronic disabilities. There is an urgent need to provide for these Canadians and their families, as many do not have access to even the most basic supports and services. The crisis is clearly illustrated by stories of families who have left loved ones on the steps of government agencies or at the door of homeless shelters in a desperate attempt to access needed services. Lack of services, weak provincial support systems, and the absence of a national strategy to address this crisis is unacceptable in Canada in this day and age. 

A national disability support program could offer a number of solutions to existing problems, for example:

Seamless delivery of services and supports throughout an individual’s lifetime

Elimination of current waiting lists for support programs and housing

Country-wide provision of quality, consistent and portable services

Canada's Broken System

We are well aware that Canada's disability system is broken but how can we fix it? The following highlights gaps in Canada's disability support systems.


Both individuals living with long-term disabilities and their families are in a crisis. Their stories are being documented by the media on a regular basis. It is important to listen to these people to see how we can help them.


In many cases official data is missing, but organizations providing supports claim waiting lists are unmanageably long. Reliable data is key to ensuring governments are spending responsibly to meet the needs of all Canadians.


Each province and territory in Canada is facing similar challenges when it comes to providing acceptable disability services and supports. In fact, many of the existing support programs are under review due to poor performance.


Along with our organization, there are many other groups with campaigns that advocate for change in the disability sector. Our goal is to unite these groups so we can work together to create positive and lasting change.

Our Vision for Canada

The Every Canadian Counts Coalition envisions a Canada where all Canadians feel included regardless of the abilities or needs they live with. Being included means being able to participate in Canada’s social, economic, cultural, and political spheres as much as possible. Learn about the benefits of developing a national disability supports program below and check out our Policy Paper ‘Moving Forward’, and check out the Australian 'Shut Out Report', (published in 2009), that demonstrated to their general public the absolute need for a national disability insurance plan - this document is what set the foundation for Australia’s successful initiative, which is the template that we are following here in Canada.


Many provinces and territories are struggling to address the need, and indeed some are falling behind, increasingly less-able to provide adequate support based on the size of their taxpayer base.

A national program would introduce new financial resources to address the shortfall in supports. It would also allow for balanced financial transfers so that every province and territory, regardless of how wealthy or poor, could meet a minimum, adequate standard of support for Canadians with long-term disabilities.


“Portable” means you can take something with you, no matter where you go in Canada. Right now Canadians with disabilities have no guarantee that should they move, the services they need will be there for them.

A national approach would ensure that a minimum standard of supports was available across Canada. This would allow Canadians with disabilities and their families to enjoy the same flexibility in their life decisions as other Canadians knowing they will get the support they need no matter where they lived.


Data on the number of Canadians living with disabilities is not well documented - there is no requirement for our governments to collect or publicly report this information.

This program could create a nationwide data collection system and reporting standards to provide a clear picture of provincial and territorial performance. It would then direct resources to identified areas of need.


Canadian provinces and territories have been changing delivery systems for disability supports as they learn through trial and error. Meanwhile, other countries have introduced nationwide systemic reforms.

A national program could allow for coordinated knowledge sharing and the setting of performance standards, thereby identifying policies and delivery methods that work, as well as those which are less effective.


Canadians with disabilities who require support may receive it from their family, a government program, a private provider or a not-for-profit organization

A national program would increase coordination, close support gaps, set performance standards, and reduce costs through preventative approaches, such as early intervention and sustained supports.


Many of us know of someone living with a long-term disability and their experiences with trying to navigate the current disability support systems ‘nightmare’.

Gaining public support for a national insurance program will require raising public awareness about the ongoing disability crisis and the benefits this program could have for all Canadians. We believe a more educated public means a stronger and more understanding Canada.


There is no guarantee or minimum standard of supports in current provincial or territorial systems. No national standard exists to ensure individuals with similar needs are treated equally. .

A national program could set country-wide standards to ensure fair and equitable access and treatments.

Our Advisory Board


Executive Chair and Director, Melbourne Disability Institute at the University of Melbourne
Professor Bonyhady is also one of the key architects of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and was the inaugural Chair of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) from 2013 to 2016. He is widely regarded as the “father of the NDIS’. He is also a former President of Philanthropy Australia.


International Consultant
Michael's efforts have included notable international initiatives such as the NDIS in Australia, the International Initiative on Disability Leadership, and more. He is perhaps best known for his extensive public speaking and teaching roles on many issues for over more than four decades.


Senior Management Consultant,Managing Director, International Information Technology Foundation
John's career began at Canadian Pacific Limited as Manager of Systems Development and later at VIA Rail where he was Chief Information officer. John was also responsible for the IT value-for-money audit practice of the Auditor General of Canada.

Executive Director


Interim Executive Director of Every Canadian Counts

Educator and specialist teacher, community leader and volunteer.
Hubert has a long history of working and volunteering in the disabled community. 

He has been involved with the Ontario Association for Developmental Education for 18 years serving as a member-at-large, president and past president. Hubert served as the president of the Council for Exceptional Children for London-Middlesex. 

He is on the L’Arche London board of directors. Before retirement, Hubert was a special education specialist teacher in a mostly self-contained classroom for 17 years. He taught students with a wide
range of intellectual and multiple disabilities. Hubert also engaged in a year-long teacher work exchange to Australia for the year of 2010. 

Board of Directors



Focus on Independent Living initiatives and UNCRPD compliance advocacy.
Jonathan Marchand is a senior network engineer from Quebec City. He has worked in Quebec and in Australia for many years. He's been institutionalized since 2010 against his will because of his disability. 

He's a founder and president of Coop ASSIST - Quebec cooperative for Independent Living which aims to create a new provincial personal assistance program that is compliant with the UN's Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).


Background in the areas of disability, government programs, and international development

Pavel’s recent work history includes working with the Federal Government and multiple Canadian disability organizations to provide the Federal Government’s Office for Disability Issues with the disabled community’s collective recommendations to improve the federal accessibility legislation known as Bill C-81, “The Accessible Canada Act”.

He holds an MA in Political Science from the University of Ottawa and a BA in International Relations from the Moscow State University of International Affairs.


Addressing the needs of people with disabilities through advocacy for a national disability insurance program.
Dr Cowie holds both a Ph.D. and a Masters from the London School of
Economics, London UK, in Development Economics and Geography (1982). He has been a lecturer at the University of Toronto, Ottawa and Carleton Universities specializing in global economics and is currently a professional trainer for the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University. 

In recent years, Bill has headed up Every Canadian Counts.


President of OCAPDD/Open Hands (Ottawa Carleton
Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities)

Norma is the current President of OCAPDD/Open Hands (Ottawa Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities) and is their representative to the Board of OASIS (Ontario Agencies Serving Individuals with Special Needs). 

In addition Norma is also member of Champlain Grant
Review Team, Ontario Trillium Foundation while employed as an Assistant Returning Officer for Elections Canada (Federal Electoral District of Ottawa West-Nepean).
Portrait of Carmine Tiano smiling


Director of Occupational Services

Carmine Tiano has been the Director of Occupational Services through the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario since 1997. Carmine has a MA from York University (Economics), a Diploma in Regulatory Law and is a graduate of McMaster University's Occupational Health program.

Carmine deals with workplace insurance, health and safety and is involved with various research bodies. He teaches in the Disability Management and Health and Safety program at Pacific Coast University and presents at various conferences and seminars on occupational health issues.


Areas of focus in education, health, and social safety nets, poverty, public expenditure, and aid coordination.
An economist by training Jim has over 40 years professional experience in development including 23 years at the World Bank; three years spent in the Prime Minister’s Office in Papua New Guinea, and one year as an Advisor in the Government of Indonesia. 

Jim served in a number of positions including as Senior Advisor to the International Development Research Centre, advising the United Nations, various African governments, and the Government of Canada, and working with Oxford University’s Centre for Global Economic Governance.


Specializes in disability inclusive development of policy and programs.
Dr. Turmusani specializes in disability inclusive development with a PhD in disability studies from Britain. 

As volunteer, he serves/ed on the Board of Director for a number of national disability organizations and a former member of the Board of Ottawa-Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities. 

Currently, working on the social inclusion of autistic users with multiple educational needs. His expertise includes research
and evaluation; design/management of international community-based
rehabilitation, namely inclusive education; disability rights protection and legal reform.


Active advocate for equal rights for all; harnessing positive reinforcement as a powerful tool.
Penny is the president of Barrier Free Canada- Canada Sans Barrieres and Vice president of CNIB Deaf Blind Community Services member of The city of Kingston Accessibility Advisory Committee.

In 1984 Penny obtained a diploma in business management from the British Columbia Institute of Technology and since that time Penny has enrolled in
several courses ranging from communication courses to obtaining a instructor certificate in adult literacy.

Encouraging society to do the right thing goes a lot further than calling people out for doing the wrong thing. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool.
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