15 November 2023 – fall is the giving season . . .

. . . . if you’d like to support our work, you can send your gift to [email protected]. We can provide tax deductible receipts for both American and Canadian donors.


PROUD has finished interviewing research participants in all 5 countries; Canada, the US, the UK, France and Belgium. (We are no longer recruiting for this study.)

We are currently publishing Season 2 of our podcast: Broadcastability (www.broadcastability.ca). Episodes are either in English or French and, 2 of them will also by translated into International Sign Language as well. Season 2 podcasts will also be published on our YouTube channel The PROUD Project @theproudproject6570 as a result.

We have been fortunate to have been offered several opportunities to workshop our study results to various groups and stakeholders. We are writing articles for publication in scholarly journals. Recently Chloë Atkins and Isabelle Avakumovic-Pointon published a piece in The Conversation outlining some of the take aways form our multinational research on disability and employment: How employers can tackle misconceptions about disabled people in the workplace.

In October, The American Journal of Bioethics recently published Chloë Atkins’ commentary: A Disabled Bioethicist’s Critique of Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) about the implementation of MAID (medical assistance in dying) in Canada from a disability perspective. Atkins also has an article on disability ethics and the allocation of critical care resources under review and, a chapter being readied for publication by the University of Manitoba which outlines a disability theory perspective on the resistance to public health measures during the COVID pandemic.

The PROUD Project looks forward to carrying out further research with regard to disability and employment, anti-ableism, health equity and, disability rights and justice. We are actively seeking collaborations with scholarly (college or university) or community (businesses, NGOs or government) partners who are interested in disability research and advocacy. We are particularly interested in working with partners in France and, those interested in the disability experience of Indigenous communities in Canada. Of course, we remain open to all proposals for research or advocacy.

If you are thinking of donating to a nonprofit organisation this calendar year, please think of us at The PROUD Project. Please feel free to contact us at: [email protected][email protected] for further information, or give directly to: [email protected].

PROUD is Recruiting Research Participants in the UK , Season 2 of our podcast, Broadcastability, is forthcoming

24 May 2023

The PROUD Project team has almost completed the interviews of our 5 country international study – we are finishing up conversations in the UK this month. We have been speaking to both employees/entrepreneurs living in disabling contexts and employers of people living in disabling contexts in Canada, the UK, the US, France and Belgium. We have learned a great deal from the lived experiences of these individuals during the past 3 years and look forward to sharing our analysis and insights within the next few months.

We are also producing a second season of the podcast, Broadcastability, which focuses on interviews about employment and disability in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Belgium. (As a reminder, the first season focused on Canada.) We anticipate releasing the second season’s episodes this summer.

Dr. Chloe Atkins has presented preliminary findings at 2 Canadian conferences during the past winter. She will also be presenting during Canada’s National Access Awareness Week at the University of Toronto Scarborough: Addressing Ableism, Disability and Accessibility: Progress and Continued Action Plans, 30 May 2023.

Isabelle Avakumovic-Pointon will be in Europe this summer presenting some her own work on the history of disability in Eastern Europe.

The PROUD Project team will be writing articles in French and English providing an overview of the research thus far. We continue to write and publish articles on critical disability studies, ableism, employment and health equity — please see the “Impact” page for further details.

We would like to thank all of the individuals who participated (and continue to participate) in our research. Your knowledge and expertise is absolutely essential to understanding how to better integrate our communities and to counter ableist presumptions which limit both the potential of disabled individuals as well as the overall well-being of our societies.

We would also like to thank both the private and public funders of The PROUD Project’s work. Your financial backing allows us to undertake this important research. It means that we continue to hire highly qualified and highly performing “disabled” academics and professionals as members of our team. More importantly, it means that any recommendations or advocacy we undertake is based in well-carried-out research and substantive analysis.

PROUD Project Blog – August 2022

By Andrea Whiteley, PhD.

There is an accessible and downloadable PDF version of this blog post at the end of the text.

Knowledge Mobilization

The PROUD team is extremely “proud” of our podcast Broadcastability. We finished production in May, creating 8 podcasts with some of our Canadian research participants as well as our with our research partner, Easter Seals Canada. These podcasts have had over 500 downloads. Transcripts of the podcasts will be translated into English and French. We have been promoting the podcasts over social media as well and have put a lot of work into our social media promotion for the PROUD Project in general. We hope to secure more financial support down the road to continue producing podcasts with participants from the other countries where we conducted research.

Chloë has published research several articles during the last few months, in the area of medical ethics and disability including: “An Ethical Analysis of Clinical Triage Protocols and Decision-making Frameworks: What do Principles of Justice, Freedom and a Disability Rights Approach Demand of Us?” and “What Should Clinicians and Patients Know About the Clinical Gaze, Disability, and Iatrogenic Harm When Making Decisions?” The latter article has also been featured in a podcast by the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics. Chloe has just submitted a chapter for a book on scholars with disabilities in the workplace which will be published next year.

Over the past few months, the research team has made presentations at various conferences and to groups interested in our research. In May, Andrea was a guest lecturer for the Masters of Communications Technology Spring Institute at the University of Alberta. The lecture was on “Doing research with vulnerable populations.” Andrea also created a virtual conference poster presentation for the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity, at The Center on Disability Studies, College of Education, University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

This poster reported on the results of a literature review, entitled “Technological exclusion: How research tools exclude disability perspectives in disability and employment research.” This was a virtual conference so we didn’t actually get to go to Hawaii, unfortunately! Andrea also co-presented at a workshop on equity, diversity and inclusion at UTSC entitled “EDI in Assignment and Course Design – Part 2: Design to hear students’ voices.” This webinar was hosted by the Centre for Teaching and Learning at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Andrea and Chloe (with Brenna Leslie) are also submitting two articles for publication, reporting on the literature review they conducted in the area of disability and employment. Stay tuned for publication details for “A comprehensive literature review of disability and employment scholarship using the Web of Science” and “Implicit expert bias in the Web of Science database in the area of disability and employment research: when research tools exclude disability perspectives.”

Research Highlights

The PROUD Project research team has been pushing forward to finish gathering data from employees and employers in Canada, the US, the UK, France and Belgium. While the Canadian interviews are complete, we have had great success recruiting participants in the US and France and have almost achieved our research goals in these countries. Over the next month we hope to finish interviewing in the UK and Belgium, in order to continue with our analysis in the last phase of the project. To date we have interviewed over 60 employees and employers about their workplace experiences.

The data we have collected about the varied working experiences, workplace cultures, and government supports at play in each country will result in a rich description of the disability and employment landscape. We have found that each country’s approach to people with disabilities in the workforce as well as attitudes are very different. The goal of this research is to provide recommendations and best practices for employers, policy makers, and the disability community, about how to create a better workplace environment and experience for people with disabilities, drawing from successful approaches and models.

Student Training

The PROUD Project has benefited greatly from our amazing student hires who have helped us achieve our research and teaching goals. Over the last six months we have hired and trained four research assistants and one teaching assistant.

Isabelle Avakumovic-Pointon, a graduate student at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Ahad Alingary, a UTSC undergrad, assisted in the production and editing of the

“Broadcastability” podcasts, updated our PROUD website, and created social media posts, including Tiktok videos and Instagram reels, to promote the podcasts and assist with research recruiting. Isabelle has also been participating in French and Belgian research interviews and helping translate documents and transcripts into French.

Rachael Desborough, a political science doctoral candidate, is compiling a report on government policies and funding supports for people with disabilities in the countries where we are carrying out our research.

Caroline Cassinelli, graduate student at HMKW University, also has video production experience and is closely connect with the d/Deaf community in the U.S. She assisted Andrea with recruiting participants in the U.S., posting to our social media accounts, and editing transcriptions from research interviews.

Tania Ruiz-Chapman, an Ontario Institute for Studies in Education doctoral candidate, was the teaching assistant for the Health and Society course taught in the Winter 2022 Semester. She trained Andrea on how to use Quercus for online teaching, looked after the video technology during classes, and is now working with Andrea to write a research article on their experiences.

Chloë and Andrea are so grateful for the excellent assistance and experience that the students have brought to the team and have really enjoyed working with everyone.


In the Winter 2022 Semester, Chloë and Andrea taught a fourth year undergraduate course entitled, “Research Methodology and the Ethics of Working with Disabled, d/Deaf People and Other Vulnerable Groups” offered to students in the Health and Society Department at UTSC.

Andrea and Chloë collaborated with three scholars at the University of Manchester: Professor Alys Young, Dr. Katherine Rogers, and Dr. Emma Ferguson Coleman. Emma and Katie are deaf, and used British Sign Language interpreters during the lectures. Andrea was the instructor of record for this course and created the syllabus, reading list, course description, curriculum, and Quercus site for the course. Andrea also made course materials accessible for screen readers, and negotiated the use of the Catalyst Centre at UTSC for the delivery of this course.

This course was an amazing experience for the instructional team and students alike. We received a great deal of positive feedback from students who took this course, and are very excited to have forged a strong relationship with our colleagues at the University of Manchester.


The research team was able to secure funding to support students this year thanks to the Career Ready/Technation Student Employment Grant that allowed us to hire Isabelle, as well as a Teaching Enhancement Grant from UTSC that Andrea wrote to hire Tania, our teaching assistant for the course we taught this semester.

Thank-you to all our funders and supporters!

PROUD Project Blog – March 2022

Update March 18, 2022 

The PROUD Project researchers have shifted our focus to interviewing research participants in France and the UK, now that our Canadian interviews are almost complete.  We are still open to recruiting employers and managers in Canada who employ people with disabilities in their workplace to talk to us about their experiences. Since the start of 2022, we have produced 3 more recordings for our Broadcastability podcast.  Check them out at https://www.broadcastability.ca.  Andrea and Chloë are also teaching a course at the University of Toronto Scarborough, in partnership with the University of Manchester, on “Research Methodology and the Ethics of Working with Disabled, d/Deaf People and Other Vulnerable Groups.”  This innovative course is a “Global Classrooms Initiative” that is collaborating with Dr. Emma Ferguson-Coleman, Dr. Katherine Rogers, and Dr. Alys Young to teach students about how to ethically carry out research with members of the d/Deaf and disabled community.  Check out our Impact page for new publications and engagements https://www.theproudproject.ca/impact/ 

If you or someone you know is interested in participating in our research, or would like to know more about our project, contact the research team at: https://www.theproudproject.ca/contact-us/ 

PROUD Project Blog – November 2021

So many exciting and positive developments have happened since our last blog for the PROUD Project.  This update is to let our participants, followers and other interested visitors know about our progress. 

We are mostly finished conducting interviews with employees for our Canadian phase of the research project.  We are still hoping to recruit a couple of people with disabilities that are veterans or have worked in Canada’s military.  We are full swing into recruiting people working in management positions in organizations and businesses in Canada, that currently employ people with physical disabilities, about their experiences and insights. 

As we move into recruiting employees and employers in other countries, we have launched a LinkedIn ad to help us reach people in the U.S., France, Belgium and the U.K. Thanks for the Communications Team at the University of Toronto Scarborough for their assistance in creating a video and ad to help us in this regard. 

Our podcast series, “Broadcastability,” has now posted two podcasts – one in English and one in French, with participants we met through the PROUD Project study. Taylor and Joel have very interesting personal stories as well as insights into how we can create more inclusive workplaces.  We have had excellent feedback from listeners about these podcasts and feel very proud of the work our production team has done.  We now have a team of six people working on creating, editing, and promoting our podcasts.  Kudos to:  Isabelle Avacumovic-Pointon, Ahad Alingary at the University of Toronto, and Jessica Geboers and Casey Sabawi from Easter Seals Canada.  We are dropping new podcasts monthly and will have two more interviews available on www.broadcastability.ca before the end of the year. 

Andrea and Chloë will be teaching a course in the Winter 2022 Semester on “Research Methodology and the Intersectional Ethics of Working with disabled and d/Deaf people and other vulnerable groups.” This course has received funding from the Global Classrooms Initiative at UTSC as well as a Teaching Enhancement Grant from the Teaching and Learning Centre at UTSC.  We are also working with scholars from the University of Manchester (UoM) — Alys Young, Katherine Young, and Emma Ferguson-Rogers — to deliver a collaborative and completely accessible course for students from the deaf community and as well as students with other kinds of learning, sensory, or physical disabilities.  Part of the learning curve for us is   ensuring that all course materials are accessible and creating video lectures that are also simultaneously translated to British Sign Language.  This course will be a very inclusive, interesting and innovative experience for our students! 

Chloë has published an article about disability ethics’ contribution to making critical care triage decision-making more equitable, [Atkins, Chloë GK, and Sunit Das. “A Critique of the Use of the Clinical Frailty Scale in Triage.” The American journal of bioethics: AJOB 21, no. 11 (2021): 67-68. 10.1080/15265161.2021.1980135]. And, she has published another article which outlines how easily medical research can misunderstand people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. [Atkins, Chloë, and Carolina Barnett. “People With Myasthenia Are Getting Better, but Are They Doing Well?.” (2021): 663-664. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000012617].

The research team is completing two articles outlining our findings during a bibliometric literature review in the area of disability and employment.  For this research we surveyed 1200 publications to understand the kinds of research being done, where the research is taking place, and who the top contributors are to the field.  Our research results are very interesting as we not only conducted a comprehensive literature review in an area that has not been investigated in this way before, but also provided a critique of the Web of Science research database as a tool for disability studies scholars. 

Chloë and Andrea will be presenting at the Disability and Work Canada Conference on December 2, from 2:30 – 3:25 pm EST.  Our panel discussion is about: Tools and Strategies to Support Employers’ Efforts to Include Persons Living with Disabilities in the Workforce.  We look forward to presenting along with Helen Grantis, federal government expert in Accessible and Inclusive Staffing and Assessment, and Christine Morin at the Centre de recherche pour l’inclusion des personnes en situation de handicapOur presentation is titled:The ‘secret sauce’ to improving employment outcomes for persons with disabilities