Breaking through barriers for workers
who have children with special needs

Welcome to Special Needs and Moving On Projects!

Special Needs & Moving On projectsThe Special Needs and Moving On Projects provide resources and support for workers at the post office whose children have disabilities. The projects are available to members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the Union of Postal Communications Employees (Public Service Alliance of Canada). The Special Needs Project is geared to families with young children; the Moving On Project is for adult sons and daughters with special needs. Life is more demanding when you work and have a child with special needs. Learn more about our Special Needs and Moving On projects.


Enabling parent access to information: developing a database of disability supports for CUPW/UPCE-PSAC members.



Project summary

CUPW proposes to improve parent access to disability information by developing a database of disability specific resources, programs and services1. In order to determine the viability of a database project, CUPW conducted an Investigative Phase to examine the current state of lists and databases of disability supports across Canada and to learn about the disability support information needs of members in the Special Needs and Moving On Projects.




In Our Own Words: CUPW Special Needs Project Celebrates 20 Years!

Unions can do so much more than negotiate wages and benefits for workers. Thanks to unions, workers enjoy weekends, vacation leave and minimum wage; and of course, one of the historical breakthroughs that CUPW fought for was maternity leave. Unions have defended and implemented initiatives that support families, and improve our quality of life while setting a benchmark for social justice. The Special Needs and Moving On projects are among the most outstanding examples of the way unions improve quality of life for their broader communities.

CUPW has created a special anniversary video to celebrate what the Special Needs Project (SNP) has accomplished. In this moving 4-minute video, “In Our Own Words”, (; ASL version: postal workers share what this project has meant to them and their families. 

The Special Needs Project (SNP) is an initiative of the CUPW Child Care Fund, and is a one-of-a-kind program. It was launched in 1996 after a union-sponsored study found that parents of children with disabilities face more barriers to workforce participation than others. The project provides information, resources and financial support to families with children who have special needs, to help reduce the emotional, physical and financial stresses and improve their quality of life.

Over these past twenty years, thousands of postal workers and their families have benefited from the financial support and resources they receive through this program. Just as importantly, they benefit from the moral support they get from their Special Needs Advisor and SNP staff. In the words of one postal worker, “She opens a lot of doors in terms of my son’s special need…and the information she provides makes a huge difference”.

Unions do so much more than negotiate wages. CUPW works hard to improve the daily lives of our members and the communities in which we live and work. Today, we celebrate 20 years of doing just that for families with children who have special needs.

In Solidarity,

Dave Bleakney

2nd National Vice-President

2015-2019 / Bulletin # 151 

Parents of Kids With Disabilities Don’t Get Sick, Right?

This morning, there is a medical appointment in my diary. It’s not a specialist clinic for our son Nicholas; it’s for me. I’m going to review my spinal xrays with our GP. I’ve abused my spine by lifting Nicholas throughout his life and Natalie when she was small. Now, I have degenerative disc disease and my neck and back are causing pain that interferes with my happiness and my mobility. I might be a danger on the road because I can’t turn my head to see the car behind me!

All of this got me thinking about how we parents of children with disabilities manage to cope when we’re ill or injured. We can’t book off our children’s care for a day or two if we get the flu. So how can we plan for the times when even the most determined and attentive parent will be so sick that help is a necessity just to keep everyone fed, bathed and safe?

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