Since its founding in 1986, the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), has had the mandate to support full access to education and employment for post-secondary students and graduates with disabilities across Canada.
NEADS is a consumer-controlled, cross-disability charitable organization (corporation # 1007761975RR0001). We represent our constituents through specific projects, resources, research, publications and partnerships. NEADS is governed by a national Board of Directors representative of all of the provinces and territories.
Our work as an organization focuses on three core Strategic Program areas:
- Student debt reduction
- Student experience in class and on campus
- Student and graduate employment
The organization functions collaboratively with post-secondary stakeholders, other non-governmental organizations, employers, disability service providers (on college and university campuses) and communities that can improve opportunities in higher education and the labour market for persons with disabilities in Canada. NEADS also provides ongoing expert advice to Employment and Social Development Canada and provincial/territorial governments. We have been a stakeholder group of the Government of Canada's National Advisory Group on Student Financial Assistance -- Chaired by the Director General of the Canada Student Loans Program -- since 1987. Our work includes promoting government programs and services that support higher education for Canadians with disabilities. The Association is a member organization of the Council of Canadians With Disabilities (CCD).
National Office Support and Services: The Association effectively delivers a number of core programs. Our primary activities include: maintaining a comprehensive, unique Web site www.neads.ca and financial aid portal www.disabilityawards.ca; developing skill training resources relevant to students with disabilities in post-secondary education and employment; conducting relevant research on access to post-secondary education and employment opportunities; and, holding regular regional events across Canada to provide resources and skill development to students with disabilities. Our main website has over 130,000 unique visitors each year and an average of over 3,500,000 page downloads. The website houses numerous online resources and publications that are unique to NEADS and were developed by the organization. Our financial aid portal, Disabilityawards.ca www.disabilityawards.ca includes comprehensive information on national, provincial and territorial government funding programs, along with around 350 disability specific, bursaries, scholarships and awards offered through colleges and universities, private sector funders and non-governmental organizations.