Incorporation of CCDS took place in April 1995 under the official name, The Canadian Centre on Disability Studies Incorporated. The Centre came into being through a unique set of circumstances.

In October 1993 a Steering Committee was established to develop the concept of a disability studies centre. Members of this steering committee included people from the disability and university communities. Dr. Don Fuchs from the Faculty of Social Work, University of Manitoba, coordinated the activities and Henry Enns who received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree at that year’s fall convocation chaired the committee. Discussions had taken place for many years regarding the idea of such a centre. The conferring of the Honorary Doctorate provided the catalyst to bring people together.


The Steering Committee worked for over a year to develop a mission statement and set of principles.


During the summer of 1994, the centre (still unnamed) received a grant to hire a summer student to consult with the disability community regarding the concept on which to build the centre.

Some forty letters of support were received from various organizations. A formal proposal was developed and work began on a set of by-laws. This work was done by what was later known as the Governance Committee, Art Braid, Al Simpson and Laurie Ringaert.


Meetings took place in January 1995 with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, to discuss an Endowment Fund, which would assist the financial viability of the Centre. The initial response was supportive for the centre’s concept, but funding for an endowment did not look likely. In March of the same year, Dr. Don Fuchs visited Ottawa and was informed by Minister Axworthy that the centre would receive $65,000.00. The pendulum had begun to swing. In Ottawa two weeks later, Henry Enns was given the news that the centre would receive $1 million for the establishment of its Endowment Fund.


Please click on a year below to see a listing of our achievements.

  • 2016

    • CCDS receives international recognition from Zero Project for inclusive education work in partnership with Ukraine Step-by-Step Foundation in Vienna. (February 2016)
    • CCDS, in partnership for the Association for Community Living – Winnipeg, is working on developing an “Emergency Card Program” for people with communication challenges.  Development funding for the first year was attained from both the Winnipeg Foundation, and Thomas Sill Foundation (Completion March 2017)
    • CCDS receives addition year of funding from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to do further research on the barriers to implementing “VisitAble Housing” (Completion March 2017).
    • CCDS is working with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers to complete the first phase of a program evaluation of the CUPW “Moving On” and Moving Up” Programs (Completion date October 2017).

  • 2015

    • CCDS participated in meeting that led to development of “International Leadership Academe in Mental Health Leadership and System Change”, becoming the representative from Canada on this initiative. (insert picture)?
    • CCDS co-hosted with the Manitoba Government Disability Issues Office an International Initiative on Disability Leadership/International Initiative on Mental Health Leadership Pre-conference Workshop entitled: “Social Impact Evaluation”
    • CCDS completed an oral history project of Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD), in partnership with the MLPD and University of Manitoba, funded by the Manitoba Heritage Fund
    • CCDS worked with Peer Zone Ontario/Toronto CMHA and Peer Zone Central Limited to complete a Peer Zone Ontario Program Evaluation.
    • CCDS joined the National Standards for Service Dog Teams Working Committee of facilitated by the Canadian General Standards Board, Integrated Services Branch, Public Services and Procurement Canada.
    • CCDS collaborated with Christine Kelly on “Forging Futures: Health and disability in the non-profit sector” project.

  • 2014

    • Project completed entitled: “Promoting Inclusion of Seniors with Intellectual Disabilities in Winnipeg Senior Centres”.  This work was funded by the Winnipeg Foundation.
    • Dr. Susan L. Hardie, PhD, was hired as CCDS’ new Executive Director, taking over from Eleanor Chornoboy, Interim Executive Director. Dr. Hardie was invited to bring her work on intersectionality and lived experiences in mental health leadership and broader cross-disability expertise, with a vision of situating CCDS for today and the future as a national, sustainable organization in the field of disability issues inclusive of mental health.
    • CCDS became first organization to hold both a membership with the International Initiative on Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) and International Initiative on Disability Leadership (IIDL).
    • CCDS and Simon Fraser University hosted a community forum on intersectionality and inclusion entitled: “Unpacking Intersectionality: A workshop exploring (dis)Ability, equity and inclusion”.
    • CCDS began a historical analysis of its projects since 1995 (Near completion).

  • 2013

    • Longtime CCDS employee, Dr. Olga Krassioukova-Enns, resigns as Executive Director.
    • Completion of collaborative project on “Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities in Ukraine”, with Ukraine Step-by-Step Foundation and CCDS, which was funded for five years by Global Affairs Canada (formerly the Canadian International Development Agency).
    • CCDS receives a three-year grant, from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, to continue its work on promoting visitable housing across Canada.  The project is entitled:  “Collaborative Knowledge Building and Action for VisitAble Housing in Canada”.

  • 2012

    • CCDS completed a three-year, Pan-Canadian project entitled “Inclusive Communities for Seniors with Disabilities and All Citizens: Model and Tools for Actions”.
    • CCDS completed the “Disability, Development and Diversity: People with Disabilities in Canada and Around the World” project, which developed curriculum material on disability and diversity and aimed to increase the knowledge of disability issues internationally. An international exchange and community forum were held between children and teachers in Canada and Uganda during the project dissemination phase of this project.

  • 2011

    • CCDS completed Phase 2 of the “Partnership for Research on Ugandan Women with Disabilities” (PROUWD), which generated knowledge on the lived experience of women and girls with disabilities and aimed to build partnerships between policy makers, community organizations and researchers in Canada and Uganda.

  • 2010

    • CCDS completed the “West African Social Inclusion Disability Project”, which aimed to develop and promote participatory action research projects, the development of Disability Studies curriculum in academic programs (i.e. Social Work), policy development and social service programs to address social inclusion of people with disabilities in West Africa. The project included a series of workshops, planning meetings and public presentations in Ghana, and ultimately aimed to enhance the livers of persons with disabilities through policy and practice.
    • CCDS completed the project “Canada-Russia Northern Development Partnership Program: Physical Education and Sport for the Disabled” which identified the needs of persons with disabilities in regular physical education and sports activities and improved public perceptions about disability.
    • CCDS hosted the community “Celebration of The International Day of Persons with Disabilities” in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
    • CCDS completed Phase 1 of “Partnership for Research on Ugandan Women with Disabilities” (PROUWD) and included conducting a literature review, environmental scan and survey questions for Phase 2.

  • 2009

    • CCDS completed the local project entitled “Welcoming Communities Creating Visitable Housing in Winnipeg.”  This project examined the livability and sustainability of Winnipeg communities by building partnerships and community capacity to increase an understanding of VisitAble Housing amongst stakeholders.
    • CCDS completed the project “Literature Review on Job Retention and Career Progression for Persons with Disabilities in Canada and Internationally” which proposed a framework and methodology required to understand the inter-relationships between disability and job retention/career progression in Canada.

  • 2008

    • CCDS completed the project, “Persons with Disabilities as Caregivers: Understanding Support Requirements and the Path to Developing Effective Models for Caregiving Assistance.” The purpose of this project was to examine experiences of persons with disabilities as informal caregivers of other adults and to identify issues, barriers, and necessary supports in their communities.
    • CCDS began the national project, “From Research and Knowledge to Better Practice: Building Strategies and Partnerships for Livable Communities that are Inclusive of Seniors with Disabilities.”  The purpose of this project was to contribute to the development of livable and inclusive communities by piloting and testing an innovative and comprehensive model for in the communities of seniors with disabilities. Outputs for this project included a number of discussion, synthesis and resource materials.
    • CCDS collaborated on the development of an undergraduate program in Disability Studies at the University of Winnipeg.
    • The international project “Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities in Ukraine” was launched. Goals for this project included improving the policy framework on inclusion by targeting institutions, improving the delivery of inclusion and accessible educational programs for children with disabilities, and increasing the capacity of NGOs to support inclusive education in Ukraine.

  • 2007

    • CCDS completed the three-year international project which aimed to improve the social stability and governance in Russia, entitled, “Canada Russian Disability Program”. The project aimed to develop models of education and preparation materials concerning disability related issues for a variety of stakeholders.
    • CCDS completed the provincial project “Emerging Trends Among Seniors and Disability Sectors: From Wisdom and Lessons to New Ideas”, which identified common issues, gaps, and trends amongst services and programs by fostering dialogues between Manitoba disability and senior’s organizations.
    • CCDS completed the project “Understanding the Status of Visitability in Canada”, which produced summative reports that examined the progress of VisitAble Housing and identified best practices, gaps, trends and issues that enabled and/or discouraged the adoption of VisitAble Housing.

  • 2003

    • CCDS appointed Ms. Cassandra Phillips as its second Executive Director and Dr. Michelle Owen as its third Royal Bank Research Chair
    • CCDS and Captus Press published two books; In Pursuit of Equal Participation: Canada and Disability at Home and Abroad by Henry Enns and Aldred H. Neufeldt and Making Equality: History of Advocacy and Persons with Disabilities in Canada by Deborah Stienstra and Aileen Wight Felske.
    • The “Introduction to Disability Studies I” course was introduced on-line and on television through the University of Winnipeg with the generous support of the Office of Learning Technologie
    • CIDA provided $4 Million in funding for the new Canada Russia Disability Program

  • 2002

    • In a joint initiative with CCDS, the University of Manitoba launched the first Interdisciplinary Masters Degree in Disability Studies in Canada
    • The Province of Manitoba received the CCDS “Award of Achievement” for leadership in support of persons with disabilities
    • The “Henry Enns International Scholarship Fund on Disability Studies” was established
    • Inclusion and Disability in World Bank Activities consulting/research initiative was completed
    • The Donner Canadian Foundation funded a CCDS project to improve access to mainstream education for the disabled in Stavropol, Russia
    • CCDS celebrated the successful conclusion of the Winnipeg (Canada)-Stavropol (Russia) Social Development Project, begun in 1998 with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    • Major consulting/research project with World Bank was awarded to CCDS
    • University of Manitoba Board of Governors approval of the Interdisciplinary Masters Program in Disability Studies, to be launched in September 2003
    • Partnership with a number of agencies allowed CCDS to hire a director for the Disability Information Network
    • The CCDS Small Grants Program funded The Will to Live Template Project: a discussion among people with disabilities in Manitoba bout the right to medical care
    • The publication of Best Practices in the Home-Based Employment of People with Disabilities, a handbook of guidelines and best practices for successful home-based telework arrangements involving workers with disabilities

  • 2001

    • CCDS hosts the 14th Annual Society for Disability Studies Conference, “Democracy, Diversity & Disability”, welcoming 350 persons from 20 countries to Winnipeg
    • Building Bridges Research Project completed and posted on the CCDS Website, identifying the corporate sector as becoming an essential partner in identifying opportunities to enhance the economic participation of people with disabilities

  • 2000

    • Finding Solutions Forum was held in Winnipeg, providing opportunity for 100 entrepreneurs and service providers to share knowledge, resources and solutions regarding the issues and concerns of Canadians with disabilities who aspire to entrepreneurship.
    • Round Table event in Ukraine was held in conjunction with training sessions organized by the Reforming Social Services-Ukraine project in partnership with the University of Manitoba.
    • CCDS organized the Canada – Russia Conference Around Disability Issues in Russia in Moscow May 11–13.

  • 1999

    • CCDS and the University of Winnipeg signed an agreement to promote collaboration on research and education on disability issues.
    • CCDS launched the Small Grants Program, which funds community-based disability-related research.
    • The Province of Manitoba commited $500,000 to the CCDS Endowment Fund.
    • Reforming Social Services in Ukraine, a project of the University of Manitoba and CCDS, received funding from CIDA with CCDS co-ordinating the Disability component.

  • 1998

    • CCDS organized and sponsored the first Canadian National Symposium on Disability Studies at the University of Manitoba.
    • The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) funded the Winnipeg (Canada)-Stavropol (Russia) Social Development Project “to promote democratic development in Russia and enhance the lives of Russians with an emphasis on persons with disabilities”.
    • CCDS launched its website: http://www.disabilitystudies.ca.

  • 1997

    • A $350,000 funding commitment from Royal Bank Financial Group established the Royal Bank Research Chair in Disability Studies for seven years.
    • The Access to Business Opportunities Project (ABOP) was instrumental in the formation of an $18 Million entrepreneurship program for persons with disabilities.

  • 1996

    • The University of Manitoba and CCDS signed an agreement which stated that to work collaboratively to promote the mission of the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies

  • 1995

    • In September 1995, an office was established in shared space with Disabled Peoples’ International.
    • Research work at the Centre was initiated by an entrepreneurship project known as Access to Business Opportunities (ABOP) that received funding in October 1995.

Photo of Henry Enns speaking at a conference.


Henry Enns was the driving force behind the establishment of CCDS in 1995. In his role of Executive Director, Henry led CCDS to many tremendous achievements in Canada and around the world, including:

  • A Masters Degree Program in Disability Studies at the University of Manitoba.
  • An Endowment Fund with a lead gift of $1 million by Human Resources Development Canada followed by a $500,000 gift by the Province of Manitoba.
  • Partnership with the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba.
  • The establishment of the Royal Bank Research Chair in Disability Studies, based at CCDS.
  • The formation of the Disability Information Network, on-line services and resources for people with disabilities.
  • Projects in the Ukraine and Russia promoting democratic development and enhancing the lives of Russian and Ukrainian people, with an emphasis on persons with a disability.

At CCDS, Henry built upon twenty years of experience in international development work. Henry was instrumental in forming Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI) in 1980/81 and during the United Nations Year of the Disabled (1981) assisted the organization in gaining a significant presence on the world stage.


He travelled the world, visiting more than 80 countries during the UN Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992), serving DPI as President and Executive Director.


In the years previous to that, Henry was active with the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) as well as the Association of Independent Living Centres. In the early 80s Henry was on the ground floor of the founding of the Winnipeg and Kitchener Independent Living Resource Centres. During the 80s he also acted as a disability consultant for the Mennonite Central Committee.

Photo of Henry Enns speaking at a conference.
Photo of Henry Enns speaking at a conference.
Photo of Henry Enns speaking at a conference.
Photo of Henry Enns speaking at a conference.
Photo of Henry Enns speaking at a conference.
Photo of Henry Enns speaking at a conference.
Photo of Henry Enns speaking at a conference.