Today, we celebrate the accomplishments and impact Siblings Canada has had on the lives of Canadians with disabilities, and their siblings, over the last five years.

Siblings Canada was founded by Helen Ries and Becky Rossi in Ottawa, Ontario to connect peers who care for a sibling with a disability, a growing population as people with living disabilities are living longer lives thanks to social and medical advances.

“It has been a privilege to meet so many siblings of people with disabilities over the last five years. Your stories, strength, resolve and determination move us to keep doing this work. Thank you for being part of building this movement.” – Helen Ries, co-founder, Siblings Canada

“In just a few short years, Siblings Canada has evolved from a small grassroots network into a respected national voice for siblings of people with disabilities. I am heartened by all that we have accomplished together and look forward to making an even greater impact on siblings and their families in the years to come.” – Becky Rossi, co-founder, Siblings Canada

Advocacy through research and policy

When Siblings Canada originally formed in 2018, there was little known about the challenges and needs of sibling caregivers in Canada and as a result, very few resources to help them navigate their role and the impacts of providing care or preparing for the future.

Through their leadership, Helen and Becky have helped fill important knowledge gaps by partnering with organizations like Partners for Planning, PLAN and AIDE Canada, and academic institutions such as the University of Waterloo, the University of British Columbia, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to create resources and carry out research. Their work in this area has helped start national conversations on the important role siblings play in the long-term well-being of their brothers and sisters with disabilities.

Siblings Canada by the numbers

The group was met with overwhelming response, as did the scope of their impact, which evolved to include in-person and virtual meetups, mentoring programs, much-needed resources and contributions to academic research projects.

Since 2018, Siblings Canada has:

  • Hosted over 30 meetups.
  • Matched 56 mentor/mentee relationships.
  • Written four guidebooks for sibling caregivers.
  • Participated in seven research projects with academic institutions.
  • Led 40 siblings through acceptance and commitment training with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

“The success that Siblings Canada has achieved over five years highlights the immense need to raise awareness of their realities, the role they play as caregivers and support their needs. Helen and Becky have done a tremendous job at advocating for more support for siblings and we are proud to work with them to expand the scope of their work to reach even more siblings in the country.” – Liv Mendelsohn, executive director, CCCE

Praise for Siblings Canada

On meetups

“I was tentative heading into this meetup because I’ve never really discussed being a sibling with other siblings before. This was cathartic beyond belief – my expectations were blown out of the water.”

On acceptance and commitment training

“I would definitely recommend this to others. It centered me and could bring my mood up after a bad day. It gave me tools to help calm me down in times of distress.  It was incredibly validating.”

On mentoring

“It was a wonderful experience that I would highly recommend, especially for younger siblings entering the caregiving role.”


Visit the Siblings Canada web page to learn more about their work and access their resources.