Safer Accessibility for the Liu family!

It’s two thumbs up from Mrs. and Mr. Liu!

Mr and Mrs Liu

Let’s start from the beginning…

Mrs. and Mr. Liu have been living in the same home for almost 30 years! This is incredible. It also means there was a high chance that accessibility accommodations were not front of mind when the house was built. For those who don’t know, the push for accessibility standards came out in 2005 in the form of The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. This focused on public sectors and didn’t outline accessibility requirements for new homes, but it is good to note this increase of general awareness for accessibility standards in Ontario.

Recently, Mr. Liu’s mobility limitations changed and he became an individual who uses a wheelchair. Living in a home without an accessible entrance became a new barrier, and each time Mr. Liu would need to leave for important outings (such as a doctor’s appointment), he would need the assistance of multiple people. The situation would repeat when he would return home and need assistance to enter his house.

An example of a home entrance, which is not accessible.

Could you imagine not being able to leave your home independently? There is a lot of work and pre-planning involved, and don’t even think about spontaneous outings! Transferring an individual is also not a safe situation for everyone involved. This posed a risk for Mr. Liu if he ever needed to exit the home in an emergency situation.

With help from the Home and Vehicle Modification Program (HVMP), the Liu family was able to apply for funding to obtain a vertical porch lift. Through some guidance and advice from March of Dimes Canada staff, a contractor and an Occupational Therapist, the garage was deemed the best place for the lift to be installed for accessible entry and exit to their home.

“Having this lift is a huge relief for my parents.”

After installation, life improved dramatically for the Liu family. Mr. Liu is now able to enter and exit his home safely via the porch lift and no longer needs to rely on timely help from other family members, friends, and neighbors. He now has a higher level of independence, which also allows him to live life more sporadically, should he choose to!

Example_PorchLift Outside
Example of an outside Porch Lift for accessible side entrance to a home

Below, is a thoughtful letter from Mr. Liu’s daughter, which provides an update on her parent’s situation.

My family cannot thank you and March of Dimes enough for providing the funding for the porch lift for my father.

The contractor has been amazing to work with and my mother and father cannot be happier with his work. Today was the first day in a long time that my father has left the house and the smile on his face was priceless. He has been requesting for months to go out to McDonald’s and we’re looking forward to finally taking him there.

Having this lift is a huge relief for my parents. My mother will no longer have to trouble our neighbours, family and friends to elicit enough help to lift him in and out of the house. Taking him to his appointments will be less stressful for our family. It’s provided them a new independence and most of all, it has lifted my father’s spirits.

Thank you so much for all your help with supporting us through this process. I’ve learned so much.”

To receive a letter as the one HVMP received above is an honour. We are also grateful to have the family’s consent to publicly share Mr. Liu’s story, which we hope gives readers a little more insight on how HVMP can provide support to eligible applicants. The goal for the program is to help increase community access and independence for people living with disabilities and mobility limitations.

For more information on the program and to see if you’re eligible, please visit or call 1-877-369-4867. Please feel free to share this story with someone you think may benefit from #MODCHVMP!

Eva M. received much needed support from MODC's Assistive Devices Program!

Let’s Talk About: Eva M.!

Eva M. received much needed support from MODC's Assistive Devices Program!

Eva is a 61 year old female living in a retrofitted apartment in Barrie, Ontario. She has multiple sclerosis, which limits her mobility to using a power wheelchair to get around and make herself comfortable. Her previous chair was 4 years old and broken beyond repair.

Eva’s occupational therapist (OT) helped her apply to the Ministry of Health’s Assistive Devices Program, which approved 75% funding for a new power wheelchair that cost $5,427.60. This left Eva with 25% to cover. Her finances were very limited, so she knew she wouldn’t be able to afford this necessary piece of equipment. Her occupational therapist helped her apply to the Independent Living Services of Simcoe County & Area, the MS Society, and March of Dimes Canada’s Assistive Devices Program.

The Assistive Devices Program (ADP) helps people with disabilities across the province to pay for the cost and maintenance of basic mobility devices, as well as home and bath safety equipment. ADP is one of March of Dimes Canada’s charitable programs that is supported entirely by donor dollars (including via the Door to Door campaign). Many of the people who benefit from ADP live on an income of less than $15,000.00 per year, meaning that assistive devices are often financially out of reach. At ADP, every dollar is stretched to its fullest potential so staff can provide necessary, life-changing devices to Ontarians who desperately need – but can’t afford – them.


Eva’s November 2015 application was denied, so she continued her fundraising efforts. In January 2016 –with some funding through the MS Society behind her – March of Dimes Canada’s Assistive Devices Program was able to help out. The result: a fully funded new power wheelchair.

The power wheelchair has been ordered and Eva is very excited because her current wheelchair is unsafe – pieces are falling off and the foot component is dragging. She says that, if she has to take it out, she has difficulty negotiating ramps and is very nervous. Eva knows the new wheelchair will make her feel more secure and confident.

“This wheelchair will keep me independent and out of long-term care and just having it lifts my spirits.”

Eva is very grateful to March of Dimes Canada’s Assistive Devices Program for the support, and March of Dimes Canada is equally grateful to the donors who make it possible for us to help people in the Barrie area. Eva now has peace of mind and a safe way to get around in her apartment and her community.

ADP as mentioned, is also partly funded by our Door-to-Door Program, which runs from November to late March. If you’re interested in volunteering as a canvasser for this year or the following, please email us at with “Door-2-Door Volunteer” in the subject header! You can also become an online canvasser at

LIFE Toronto reviews Apple Store’s iPad Workshop

Written by Amy Kostash

Last Friday, the LIFE Toronto group did a social outing to the Apple Store at the Eaton Centre for an iPad workshop. The experience was fantastic! The employees of the Apple Store were wonderful, they clapped us into the store, ensured there were no obstacles in our way, and really made an effort to get to know each and every person attending.


Amy and Tyler snapping a pic on the iPad

Prior to the workshop, the Apple Store staff checked in with us to find out what it was we were interested in learning. They catered the workshop entirely to our needs and interests! First, we learned about some accessibility features the iPad has, and everyone got to try it on their own. There were enough staff to assist if anyone needed it. Next, we learned about the different ways to take photos and videos like square, panoramas, and time-lapse videos. Sraddha’s personal favourite was when we learned about airdrop! It was so easy to send photos to the other iPads in the workshop, and it was especially fun to see the expressions on their faces when they received our silly photos. Tyler was particularly interested in learning how to print photos from his iPad at home. The staff were eager to explain and demonstrate airprint for him.


Jess was very impressed with the Apple Store employees and appreciated how they spoke directly to her, rather than only speaking with the LIFE Toronto staff. She says, “they were very accommodating of our needs.” After the workshop, Jess wanted to make a purchase and more than one of the Apple employees was eager to help her out, even bringing the items right to her so she didn’t need to fight the crowds!


Danielle and Jess taking a selfie with the iPad!

All in all, out LIFE Toronto group left the Apple Store with a collection of funny photos, new information regarding accessibility features of the iPad, and Apple USB bracelets!

The LIFE Toronto group encourages everyone to check out workshops at the Apple Store! They have a variety of topics, and they are very helpful and accommodating. The LIFE Toronto group is looking forward to going back for an iMovie workshop when they reach the editing stage of a project they’ve been working on.