CDSS in the Press

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Media Kit

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society is proud to represent Canadians with Down syndrome and their families. For all media inquiries, please contact Kaitlyn Pecson, Communications Manager at CDSS.

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Press Releases

Canadian Down Syndrome Society wins 10 awards at the 2017 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

‘Down Syndrome Answers’ is most awarded Canadian campaign

Calgary, June 26, 2017. The Canadian Down Syndrome Society’s ‘Down Syndrome Answers’ marketing campaign has won 10 Cannes Lions awards at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Announced this past week (June 17-24, 2017) in Cannes, France, the awards were across a range of categories for excellence in Health, Direct, Cyber, Creative Data, PR and Media and saw CDSS become the most awarded Canadian organization at Cannes.

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For the 2016 Canadian Down Syndrome Week, the Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) released  ‘Down Syndrome Answers’, a series of short videos that feature people with Down syndrome answering parents’ most-asked questions. These videos are available to view on the CDSS website (www.cdss.ca) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/cdndownsyndrome).

Created with the help of creative agency FCB Toronto, the campaign aimed to give expectant parents both sides of the Down syndrome story. When expectant parents learn their unborn child has Down syndrome, they often have little time to make fully informed decisions about their pregnancy. With lots of questions and little time they inevitably turn to the internet for answers. Rather than leaving them to the wilds of Wikipedia and WebMD, this campaign answers the top 40 Googled questions by the people living with Down syndrome themselves.

“This is a tremendous honour, not only for CDSS, but also for Canada’s Down syndrome community,” said Kirk Crowther, National Executive Director, Canadian Down Syndrome Society. “FCB Toronto captured our diverse, vibrant, and inspiring community, made up of people who are able to speak out for themselves. We’re proud that the Cannes jurors recognized the importance of this campaign.”
‘Down Syndrome Answers’ has received several other awards so far this year, including a People’s Choice Winner of the Best Use of Data Driven Media from The Webby Awards, Graphite Pencil for Tactical Digital Marketing from D&AD, Silver Social Marketing award in Public Service from The ANDY Award, and a Silver and Bronze Pencil at The One Show.

About Canadian Down Syndrome Society:
The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is a vital resource linking individuals, parents and professionals through advocacy, education, and providing information. CDSS is proud to be the voice of Canadians with Down syndrome and their families. CDSS wants all Canadians to ‘See the Ability’. Visit www.cdss.ca for more information.

About FCB Canada:
FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding) Toronto is a part of a global, fully integrated marketing communications company with a heritage of creativity and success dating from 1873. Based on a deeply developed understanding of diversified local markets and global cultures, FCB focuses on significantly changing consumer behaviour to the benefit of its clients, its people and society. The company is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). Learn more at www.fcbtoronto.com or www.fcb.com, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@FCB_Toronto).

About Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity:
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, also known as Cannes Lions, is the world’s leading celebration of creativity in communications. Founded in 1954, the Festival takes place every June in Cannes, France. As the most prestigious international annual advertising and communications awards, over 40,0000 entries from all over the world are showcased and judged at the Festival.

Canadian Down Syndrome Society to present at the United Nations on World Down Syndrome Day

CALGARY – March 13, 2017. The Canadian Down Syndrome Society is proud to announce that Kirk Crowther, National Executive Director, and Matthew MacNeil, Chair of CDSS’s self-advocate steering committee VATTA (Voices at the Table for Advocacy), will be presenting about Canada’s advocacy successes at the United Nations on World Down Syndrome Day.

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“There are 45,000 Canadians with Down syndrome, all of whom are contributing to their communities in their own way,” Kirk said. “I’m excited to join Matthew at the United Nations, to share their stories on the world stage.”

Kirk and Matthew will be presenting with delegates from the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Brazil, Japan, and other countries. They will also be meeting with the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations.

This year’s WDSD Conference theme, #MyVoiceMyCommunity, is about enabling people with Down syndrome to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action, to be fully included in the community. As National Executive Director of CDSS for seven years and part of the CDSS staff for thirteen, Kirk has seen the direct positive impact that self-advocacy has not only on people with Down syndrome, but on society as a whole.

“I helped begin VATTA in 2005, with the belief that having adults with Down syndrome play a major role in the Canadian Down Syndrome Society would be beneficial to all Canadians with Down syndrome. But now, twelve years later, presenting with VATTA at the United Nations is just further proof that something like VATTA is beneficial for the entire world.”

The World Down Syndrome Day Conference is sponsored by the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of Canada, Australia, Brazil, India, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Poland and United Kingdom.

World Down Syndrome Day will allow people around the globe to create a single voice for advocating for the rights, inclusion, and well-being of people with Down syndrome. It occurs annually on March 21 and is officially ratified by the United Nations. More information about World Down Syndrome Day is available at www.cdss.ca.

Tillsonburg’s Matthew MacNeil to speak at the United Nations on World Down Syndrome Day

LONDON – March 13, 2017. Southern Ontario’s Matthew MacNeil is usually not a nervous public speaker. Having done speeches and presentations for most of his life, raising awareness for people with Down syndrome comes easily to Matthew. But soon he is about to face his biggest audience.

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On March 21st, World Down Syndrome Day, Matthew will be in New York City with the Canadian Down Syndrome Society’s National Executive Director Kirk Crowther, presenting at the United Nations’s World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) Conference.

“I’m excited to speak at the United Nations. It’s a big opportunity for me. But I am a bit nervous, but it’s a good thing because being nervous means that I’m ready for this,” Matthew said.

This year’s WDSD Conference theme, #MyVoiceMyCommunity, is about enabling people with Down syndrome to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action, to be fully included in the community. As a member of CDSS’s self-advocate committee VATTA for the last five years, and Chair of the committee for three, Matthew is an expert at speaking up for the rights of people with Down syndrome. VATTA stands for Voices At The Table for Advocacy, and Matthew is excited to bring Canada’s voice to the attendees from around the globe.

“It’s important for self-advocates to speak out,” Matthew said. “Everyone should be proud of who they are. I’d like to show more people that they should treat us just the same as everyone else.”

“There are 45,000 Canadians with Down syndrome, all of whom are positively contributing to their communities in their own way. I’m excited to join Matthew at the United Nations, to share their stories on the world stage,” Kirk Crowther said.

The World Down Syndrome Day Conference is sponsored by the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of Canada, Australia, Brazil, India, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Poland and United Kingdom. Matthew and Kirk will also be meeting with the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations.

World Down Syndrome Day will allow people around the globe to create a single voice for advocating for the rights, inclusion, and well-being of people with Down syndrome. It occurs annually on March 21 and is officially ratified by the United Nations. More information about World Down Syndrome Day is available at www.cdss.ca.

Wayne Gretzky and Joey Moss want Canadians to #SeeTheAbility!

Calgary, AB. October 11, 2016. With a friendship that has lasted over 30 years, Canadians have looked to hockey icons Wayne Gretzky and Joey Moss as inspirations of inclusion and respect. This year, the Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is celebrating Joey and Wayne’s great friendship in the 2016-2017 ‘See the Ability’ campaign.

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“Wayne is my friend on and off the ice,” Joey says on this year’s billboard. “He sees the ability.”

Wayne’s natural instinct for inclusion and Joey’s upbeat nature has helped this decades-spanning friendship last. Wayne first recognized Joey’s potential in 1985, when he got Joey his job as Dressing Room Attendant with the Edmonton Oilers. Today, Joey works for the Oilers and Edmonton Eskimos, is a recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and an inductee of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

CDSS wants to provide a platform for self-advocates like Joey to share their stories with Canadians. Visit the new CDSS website at CDSS.ca for profiles and blogs by people with Down syndrome, along with the debut of the short PSA series ‘Second Opinion’ to debut during Canadian Down Syndrome Week (November 1 to 7).

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society encourages Canadians to #SeeTheAbility, as Wayne did in Joey, and recognize and celebrate the great contributions that people like Joey Moss can make in their communities. Use the hashtag #WeSeeTheAbility to share your own stories of inclusion – we’ll share them with our members during the week.

The “See The Ability” billboard will be across Canada starting October 11, 2016.

An Open Letter to The Honourable John McCallum

Written by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society – Tuesday, 15 March 2016

An open letter to The Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship:

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is providing this letter in support of Felipe Montoya and his family, along with the numerous people from around the world who are denied immigration to Canada because of outdated and discriminatory policies and language regarding disabilities.

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The record of successful immigration to Canada for an individual with Down syndrome is poor. As a voice for families supporting individuals with Down syndrome, CDSS feels that the Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC) policy view of people with Down syndrome is obsolete, prejudicial, and in direct contradiction of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Canada’s current Immigration and Citizenship Act, states, “a foreign national is inadmissible on health grounds if their health condition might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services.” A fair and equitable review of any immigration application would focus on the individual contributions of the applicants, not generalities. Today, many Canadian with Down syndrome are going to post-secondary schools, working in competitive jobs, and when given the opportunity, are fully-contributing members of society.

A recent copy of a permanent resident visa assessment letter from the Government of Canada, stated: “The applicant has a diagnosis of mental retardation, in which case is one of the features of Down syndrome.” Down syndrome, in itself, is not a health condition, disease, or medical condition and should never be referred to as “mental retardation.” No one should be denied access to Canada based on the fact that they are a person with Down syndrome.

In March 2011, Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Included in this convention (Article 18), it is clearly indicated, in part, that state parties, “shall recognize the rights of persons with disabilities to liberty of movement, to freedom to choose their residence and to a nationality, on an equal basis with others.” Further, it states that persons with disabilities, “have the right to acquire and change a nationality and are not deprived of their nationality arbitrarily or on the basis of disability.”

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society requests a review of the Immigration and Citizenship Act policy regarding people with disabilities, such as Down syndrome. We encourage the Government of Canada to amend it, to make it free of prejudice based upon stereotypes or inaccurate information related to the determination of Down syndrome. Discrimination of any person on the basis of disability is a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person.

Sincerely,
Kirk Crowther – Executive Director
Canadian Down Syndrome Society

About Canadian Down Syndrome Society:

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is a vital resource linking individuals, parents and professionals through advocacy, education and providing information. The Canadian Down Syndrome Society is proud to be the voice of Canadians with Down syndrome and their families. Visit www.cdss.ca for more information. #SeeTheAbility

Take a walk in their shoes and discover a world of possibilities - not disabilities - that will motivate and encourage you to learn more and get involved.