Every quarter, CCEDNet sends our members an exclusive communiqué, packed with valuable insights, updates, and opportunities from within our network and beyond. Each communiqué also shines the spotlight on one member and the impactful work they’re doing.
For the October 2023 communiqué, CCEDNet spotlighted Eviance, a member organization that works across Canada. For the past 26 years, Eviance has been helping people with disabilities in Canada and their allies advance human rights through intersectional, community-based research that is committed to action-based, sustainable solutions.
We spoke with Susan L. Hardie, the organization’s executive director, about how Eviance is building an inclusive, equitable and accessible society. In the text below, Susan provides insights into the organization’s approach and impact. She also explains how Eviance is helping CCEDNet make some of our programming more accessible to people with disabilities.
A bit about Eviance
Eviance is a nationally oriented organization committed to driving societal change. We describe ourselves as a knowledge hub, and our operations include a main office in Winnipeg, as well as a virtual office in Ontario, with team members currently working out of Manitoba, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec.
Our primary focus is on addressing human rights and promoting equity through the lens of lived experiences. Our ultimate goal is to bolster intersectional action-oriented solutions that advance human rights and encourage decision-making that centers on equity in Canada, which we believe helps all people living here, not only those who live with disabilities. We place great importance on offering sustainable solutions to systemic problems related to equity and human rights. Additionally, we are dedicated to supporting the diverse disability networks we collaborate with by addressing the issues they face.
Alignment with social justice principles
Consequently, our work is guided by and aligns with the social justice principles outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and various other international social justice frameworks. We have extensive experience in disability rights monitoring, human rights training and education, applied social research and utilization focused evaluations.
Our work is intended to be useful for a wide range of audiences including people with lived experience of disability, DPOs (disabled peoples organisations) and other disability organizations, other non-profit organizations, governments, funders and the general public. Our work is also guided by best practices in accessibility and knowledge mobilization.
Becoming a bilingual organization
In striving to become a truly bilingual organization (2017 Eviance Strategic Plan), we found that there was not an accurate translation into French of the legal name of “the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies Incorporated”. Thus, in 2018 we launched the new organization brand name of “Eviance” that represents an amalgamation of three core activities of CCDS; more specifically, “evidence”, “advancement” and “vie” which is French for “life”.
Thus Eviance is a community-based knowledge hub on cross-disability issues, (inclusive of disability studies but not limited, inclusive of disability justice but not limited), that embraces an intersectional, human rights and reflexive approach in all its work (i.e. community-based projects, education, inclusive development, and knowledge mobilization).
Eviance as a STARCAP community partner
Editor’s note: In this section, Susan explains how Eviance is helping to make the Synergia Transition and Resilience Climate Action Program, or STARCAP, more accessible. One of STARCAP’s key elements is a Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), which is used to help mobilize community-led climate action.
We initially thought that there might be barriers for the diverse disability communities after reviewing the MOOC curriculum. We flagged right away to the STARCAP Project Lead and a meeting was convened immediately with CCEDNet Project Lead and Manager to discuss the perceived barriers for meaningful engagement of the diverse, disability communities. We were able to agree that we would focus our efforts in working to provide feedback on accessibility issues, and potential solutions, with the MOOC curriculum and associated CCEDNet processes.
In addition, we agreed that a smaller group of participants would engage in the STARCAP program, with hopes that for the upcoming year the STARCAP program would be enhanced with regard to accessibility, and inclusion, and that Eviance could readily and ethically invite the diverse, disability communities to meaningfully engage and learn together about climate action and how the diverse disability communities may want to engage within its sector and more broadly with civil society partners on this key issue. We are now working as a community partner with STARCAP and implementing climate action in our developing Youth Leadership Program.
Learn more about Eviance
Eviance is an important contributor to a more equitable society and we encourage all our members to learn more about them and check out their new website: https://www.eviance.ca
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