Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Programs and Services

Advocacy - Ottawa

Social Action Committee

What do we do?

The Ottawa Chapter's Social Action Committee (SAC) was the first such committee formed within the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, predating both the Ontario Social Action Committee and the National Social Action Committee. Formed in November 1983, it has been continuously active since then. The SAC's role is to advocate on various problems and concerns shared by the community. Over the years, the SAC has been involved in a number of issues such as:

  • Improving all types of public transportation that affect persons with disabilities in Ottawa, such as lobbying for more accessible taxis, improved access to OCTranspo buses, and improved service on the ParaTranspo service
  • Enhanced health care services, with particular attention to community care, including the LHIN, Local Health Integrated Network and CCAC, Community Care Access Centre
  • Improved housing for persons with disabilities, especially housing with on-site health care services
  • Accessibility to public buildings, including curb cuts, parking spaces and location, washrooms, and accessibility within buildings
  • Education, including support services for students with disabilities at community colleges and universities in the Ottawa region
  • Employment of persons with disabilities, including activities under the Ontario Disability Support Program

Latest News

Joining forces with Ecology Ottawa, the Social Action Committee recently conducted a neighbourhood walk audit for the purpose of conveying to the City of Ottawa and the broader community work that needs to be done to eliminate barriers and improve access for pedestrians including those who use mobility devices. You can find out more about the origins of this initiative here Social Action Committee member Karen Scott's article about the audit which she lead is available here .

Our Current Interests

The current focus of our activities is aimed at improving legislation, policies, practices, opportunities and attitudes that affect people with MS through the following actions:

  • We work at building relationships with decision-makers at various levels. However, we concentrate on influencing the local level through regular contact with City councilors and City officials.
  • We regularly deal with OCTranspo accessibility issues such as broken elevators and lack of power doors at transit stations
  • We hold meetings with the executive staff of the Premier several times a year to influence Ontario policies and legislation
  • Periodically, we assist the National level of the MS Society in lobbying the Federal Govt., in areas of their jurisdiction
  • We also work in cooperation with other organizations with similar objectives including MS Ontario's Social Action Committee , Reach Canada, the Champlain Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and the VHA Health and Home Support
  • We played a leadership role in the development of the Ottawa Disability Coalition comprised of service providers, people with disabilities and their allied supporters that has adopted the mission to build a community in which persons with disabilities have equitable access to the same opportunities as every other citizen of the City of Ottawa

Our Accomplishments

Over the past few years, the SAC has played a leading role in the following activities:

  • Established the Peggy Allan Memorial Award, awarded annually to the person with a disability in Ottawa, who has made a major contribution in the areas of accessible transportation, independent living, and barrier-free access
  • The first group in Eastern Ontario to get service under the Attendant Outreach Program
  • Establishment of priority seating on all OCTranspo buses (which resulted in a priority seating policy provincially)
  • Stronger recognition of disabled parking permits in Ottawa, and their enforcement by municipal and police authorities
  • Provision of improved curb cuts, better parking for persons with disabilities, and better access to public buildings
  • Advocating against the increase in hydro expense for necessary services for persons with disabilities such as air conditioning

How can you help?

If you would like to help us address issues like those you read about here Become a member of the Social Action Committee!

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