What a Year It Has Been!

March 16, 2021

March 16th marks one year since we transitioned to virtual delivery due to COVID-19. Since then we’ve celebrated some milestones, launched new offerings, and learned many lessons. Most importantly though, we are still here to serve you!

Here are some highlights from the past year.


“When we got the LipSync for free, I was extremely shocked. He gets to feel like his brother. Nicholas is playing Mario Run on the iPad, and he’s able to do it by himself.” – Stacey, whose son Nicholas received a LipSync during COVID-19


Initially, COVID-19 had a significant impact on our Makers Making Change program, particularly in the form of uncertainty related to sanitizing the devices we were sending out. We responded to this by assembling a working group to share validated information relating to the pandemic and how it relates to our community: COVID-19 guidance for makers and users (new window).

Although we had a drop in requests for Assistive Devices at first, we achieved a rebound thanks to the new programs we developed through the summer and launched in the fall. We even exceeded our delivery goals for 2020 that were set before COVID-19!

The Makers Making Change team, along with all of our community chapters in Canada and the US, hosted over 53 webinars, conference sessions and virtual build events since March 2020.

Digital Literacy

“I feel I have a lot more confidence now, in terms of the online world… It’s nice to have that help when things are not great for small businesses and people who struggle with disabilities. To be able to help us out is huge.” – Lucy, who gained tools to take her business online during COVID-19

Lucy and one of her horses

Fittingly, our Distance Computer Comfort program celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2020. We hosted a virtual party in September, inviting participants and volunteers over the years. If you missed it, you can catch up on our Facebook stream (new window).

From March 2020 until the end of January 2021, our Distance Computer Comfort program worked with 57 participants and 30 volunteers.

In October, we launched Digital Jumpstart, a free online program that helps people with disabilities improve their digital literacy so they have the confidence to take their next steps – join a job placement or readiness program, return to school, join the workforce, or simply become more confident using a computer.

By the beginning of March 2021, our Digital Jumpstart program worked with over 210 participants, surpassing our target of 150.


“You can achieve anything with hard work and perseverance. In difficult times, even if others cannot see our vision, we must never stop believing in ourselves and our unique abilities and limitless possibilities.” – Sarah, who landed an Editorial Assistant position at CBC Calgary during COVID-19

Working Together participant Sarah, smiling

We’ve been at the forefront of virtual programming for nearly 20 years and this meant that our transition to purely virtual delivery was uninterrupted. Our Working Together program arranged virtual information interviews and helped participants identify key transferable skills relevant to employers’ challenges. We also offered a combination of virtual and in-person delivery to those who needed it, such as kinesthetic learners, in line with public health directives.

In addition, we launched a 10-part webinar series in May aimed at job seekers with disabilities, as well as employers looking to hire. The series was so popular, with 234 attendees from across Canada, we repeated it again in September and had a further 245 attendees. Our third round will be starting up again on April 6th. Register for a webinar on our website.

From mid-March 2020 to the end of February 2021, our national Working Together program worked with 333 participants, of whom 155 gained employment.

Assistive Technology

“These accommodations for my hearing amplifiers have greatly improved my ability to perform all my duties at work. I could not imagine going back and not using them for work… My life has improved for the better.” – Tony, who can hear his staff, customers, and family much better

Tony at the office

Last February, preparations were underway for our Hearing Solutions (new window) grand opening event. The event was put on hold due to COVID-19, but the pandemic didn’t stop us from delivering hearing health care! Hearing Solutions has been going strong throughout the pandemic. We will have our belated launch event one day – but for now, have a look at our Hearing Solutions video, which was filmed just over a year ago, pre-COVID.

Hearing Solutions (new window) is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of hearing loss. We are a fully equipped and accessible hearing health centre offering compassionate and client centered service in Burnaby. We welcome anyone with hearing-related concerns.

Grants and subsidies are available for hearing aids!

Contact us today to book your FREE hearing test.
Telephone: 778 945 1215
Email: hearingsolutions@neilsquire.ca

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