Breaking through barriers for workers
who have children with special needs

About the Special Needs Project

brother sister

The Special Needs project provides support to members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the Union of Postal Communications Employees (Public Service Alliance of Canada) who have children with special needs. Its aim is to help reduce the emotional, financial and physical stresses on working parents of children with disabilities.

Parents who are part of the project receive:

  • Support from Special Needs Advisors familiar with provincial and community resources and services for children with special needs.
  • Financial support for expenses directly related to their child's disability. The funding can be used for such things as respite, child care, transportation and uninsured health expenses.
  • Information and resources, including a newsletter, Member-to-Member Connection. The newsletter contains resource listings, articles, parent letters and offers and requests for specific help.
  • Opportunities to connect with other parents through Member-to-MemberConnection and the web site.
  • Support from the project office through a toll-free number.

The project also advocates for funding and policies to support high quality child care that is inclusive of children with disabilities.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers created the Special Needs Project in 1996, acting on recommendations in a union-sponsored study on the workplace barriers for families who have children with disabilities. The project is funded through the union's Child Care Fund, which was negotiated with Canada Post. The project became available to UPCE-PSAC members after their union negotiated a Child Care Fund in 2000.

Special Needs FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Special Needs Project?

The Special Needs Project is a one-of-a-kind program that provides information, resources and financial support to help reduce the emotional, physical and financial stresses on families with children who have special needs. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers launched the project in 1996 after a union-sponsored study found that parents who have children with disabilities face more barriers to workforce participation than others.

 

2. What does the project provide?

The project provides eligible Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Union of Postal Employees-Public Service Alliance of Canada members with:

  • Information and resources, including web resources and links, and a newsletter, Member-to-Member Connection. The newsletter includes listings of support and disability groups, articles, advocacy tips, parent letters and requests or offers of specific help.
  • An Special Needs Advisor familiar with resources and services for children with special needs in each province. Advisors contact parents up to three times a year by telephone. They provide support, and information and links to available resources.
  • Financial support to help with:
  • Child care or respite fees.
  • Recreation programs or camps related to a child’s special needs.
  • Specialized support workers and training for child care workers to enable children to attend programs.
  • Transportation costs directly related to the child’s diagnosis.
  • Uninsured medical expenses, equipment and supplies.
 

3. Who is eligible?

  • CUPW members who have a child with special needs and are covered by the Urban Operations Collective Agreement or the Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers Collective Agreement.
  • Any UPCE-PSAC member covered by the PSAC-CPC collective agreement who has a child with a disability.
 

4. What is a special need?

A "Special need" refers to a disability, delay or health disorder that requires on-going assistance and support, and/or extra or different help from that given to other children of the same age. The child's special need results in a significant increase to the financial, emotional and physical stress on the family.

 

5. How do I find out if I qualify for the project?

Contact the Special Needs Project staff at 1-800-840-5465 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . You will need to provide a time when you will be available for an assessment interview with the project coordinator. The interview can run from 15 minutes to an hour. During the interview, you will be asked a series of questions to determine if you qualify for the project.

 

6. What will I need to provide?

Members who qualify for the project will receive a New Member Package. The package includes documents that must be filled out and returned to the project office. A "Verification of Diagnosis" from a medical practitioner must be submitted as part of the required documentation. You might already have this document on file, or your medical practitioner can use the form provided in the New Member Package.

You will also be assigned and contacted by a Special Needs Advisor, who will conduct a more in-depth interview.

 

7. How is the Special Needs Project funded and administered?

The project is funded out of the Child Care Fund negotiated by CUPW and by UPCE-PSAC in their respective collective agreements with Canada Post Corporation. The corporation provides the funding according to the amounts specified in the collective agreements. CUPW co-ordinates the funds for both unions.

A description of the Child Care Fund can be found in Appendix L (CUPW Urban Operations Collective Agreement) and Appendix H (UPCE-PSAC Collective Agreement).