The Society for Manitobans with Disabilities first came into being as an outgrowth of the Cerebral Palsy Parents Council that opened a treatment centre at Children's Hospital in 1946. Letters Patent were granted by the Government of Manitoba in 1950 to form the Society for Crippled Children to serve children with disabilities throughout Manitoba. In 1951, the Society became the Provincial Chapter of the Canadian Foundation for Poliomyelitis (March of Dimes) and became involved in the rehabilitation of people with a disability resulting from Polio. This marked the beginning of services to adults.

In 1955, the Province designated the Society as the central agency for physically disabled adults in Manitoba and the organization underwent a change of name to the Society for Crippled Children and Adults of Manitoba to reflect its expanded mandate. The Society went through a rapid growth and expansion of services during the 50s and 60s due to widespread concern resulting from the polio epidemic.

The Society opened its first regional office in Brandon in 1974 with additional offices being established in Dauphin (1986), Thompson (1988), Steinbach (1989) and Morden (?). The opening of the regional offices enabled the Society to better serve people in the communities in which they live.

In 1985, another name change took place and the agency became known as the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities. Unlike the previous change of name that reflected a change in mandate, this change was important because it moved away from the negative connotations with which the word "crippled" is associated.

Mission Statement

To promote the full participation and equality of people with disabilities by providing a full range of rehabilitation services, and by facilitating the development of a receptive and supportive environment.

Principles & Ojectives

Basic Operating Principles
  • SMD will encourage integrated programming and will utilize community-based facilities and services to the maximum extent possible.
  • Any changes in or revisions of the Society's mandate or programs will be effected in such a way that the needs of consumers will continue to be met.
  • The design, implementation and development of services and fundraising efforts by and for SMD will reflect at all times the image of people with disabilities as fully contributing, capable and desirous of equality and full participation with others.
  • SMD will strive to decentralize the provision of services throughout the province.
  • SMD will design and implement an affirmative action employment policy and program.
  • SMD will utilize a holistic and family centered approach to the habilitation and rehabilitation of the consumer.
  • SMD will ensure that the human dignity and privacy of consumers and staff are respected and preserved in all matters.
  • SMD will ensure the establishment of a fair and objective appeals mechanism to which consumers, staff and /or the community may forward, without prejudice, concerns and complaints.
  • SMD will, on request, provide consumers access to any and all information about the consumer or relevant to the consumer's welfare which it obtains in the process of providing programs and services. Such information will be interpreted for consumers by qualified personnel. Third parties providing information on consumers will be informed of the Society's policy in this respect.
  • SMD will conduct its operations in a cooperative manner with consumers, board members, management and staff working together with a participatory management framework, towards the achievement of common objectives.
  • SMD will be accountable to its consumers and the public at large to meet its objectives in an efficient manner. To this end, it will develop a capacity to permit an ongoing review of its policies and operations. It will also develop a capacity for planning and budgeting with a view to adapting flexibility to the changing needs of people with disabilities.
SMD Objectives
  • To use every available means possible to promote the rehabilitation and/or habilitation of people with disabilities and their maximum integration within the community.
  • To gather, study, and interpret information concerning the ramifications of disabilities, their diagnosis and prognosis and to support and provide services related to the prevention of disabling conditions.
  • To actively identify individuals with disabilities in need and to provide them with appropriate programs and services.
  • To be an advocate on behalf of people with disabilities in matters deemed appropriate, and to cooperate with people with disabilities and their families to promote their becoming advocates on their own behalf.
  • To foster and reinforce a positive public image of people with disabilities as participating, valuable and contributing members of society.
  • To work cooperatively with the community at large to ensure that services are designed, developed and delivered in a comprehensive, rational, efficient and effective manner.
  • To ensure equitable access to services and resources throughout the province.
  • To demonstrate leadership by ensuring the equitable and meaningful representation of people with disabilities in all levels of the organization.