VATTA - Frequently Asked Questions

Ecrit par Canadian Down Syndrome Society

What is the VATTA Committee?

The Voices at the Table Advocacy Committee (also called “the VATTA Committee”, or “VATTA”) is a group of adults with Down syndrome who believe that through their collective voice, equal opportunities will be available for all Canadians!


What does VATTA do?

The VATTA Committee works together to advocate on behalf of Canadians with Down syndrome, meeting twice yearly to discuss advocacy and issues important to adults with Down syndrome. Responsibilities include:

  • Advising the CDSS about issues important to adults with Down syndrome
  • Presenting at both national and international conferences
  • Responding to media inquiries
  • Speaking in their communities on a variety of issues facing Canadians with Down syndrome
  • Working alongside national and international like-minded organizations
  • And much more!

In other words, the VATTA Committee works together to raise awareness and create change!


How did VATTA begin?

The VATTA Committee was founded in 2005 as part of a CDSS initiative to recognize the voices and abilities of Canadian adults with Down syndrome. The committee has become an instrumental part of the CDSS in structure and organization.

This year VATTA celebrates its sixth year anniversary. Soon after its inception, the committee quickly proved itself to be the highest authority on issues relating to living with Down syndrome. This unique committee’s motto, “Nothing about us, without us” proved itself through the group’s activities. The value of this group’s contributions over the past six years and in the future cannot be understated.


Do all VATTA members have Down syndrome?

Yes, all VATTA members have Down syndrome.


How old do you have to be to become a VATTA memeber?

To become a VATTA member you must be over the age of eighteen (18). There is no maximum age – currently, our eldest VATTA member is 48 years old!


Does anyone else work with the Committee?

Yes, a facilitator works with the VATTA Committee. This facilitator is a staff member at the CDSS office in Calgary, Alberta, and organizes all of the travel arrangements, speaking engagements, and coordination of conference calls and other miscellaneous assignments.


How much does it cost to become a VATTA member?

It is FREE! All costs associated with traveling and speaking are covered by the CDSS and our funders.


Does VATTA travel? If so, where do they travel to?

VATTA members travel a minimum of twice yearly

  • The Canadian Down Syndrome Conference is held in a different Canadian city in May of each year – each VATTA member flies to the city in which the conference is held
  • The Committee also meets in November of each year for their semi-annual meeting
  • VATTA members also speak in their communities regularly and are often asked to present at events and conferences across Canada (and sometimes internationally!)

  • How often does VATTA work together?

    The VATTA Committee are in touch approximately once monthly via a conference call (organized by the VATTA Facilitator)

    The VATTA Committee meets in a different Canadian city in May of each year for the CDSS National Down Syndrome Conference. In 2012, the conference is in Toronto, Ontario.

    VATTA also meets in November of each year for their semi-annual meeting where they discuss current events, advocacy ideas, and issues important to adults with Down syndrome.

    VATTA members also speak in their communities regularly and are often asked to present at events across Canada (and sometimes internationally!)


    Does it cost VATTA members money to travel?

    No, all costs associated with traveling and speaking are covered by the CDSS and our funders.


    What if I have never travelled by myself before? Can I still apply to become a VATTA member?

    Yes, of course you can still apply to become a VATTA member! In fact, when the Committee was formed in 2005, none of the VATTA members had flown by themselves before. Over the past 6 years, the VATTA members have developed the skills to travel independently, including flying and attending the Annual Conference on their own! The VATTA Committee is looking for new open-minded members who are willing to learn and try new things.


    What if I have experience speaking in public about Down syndrome, but I have never spoken at a national conference before?

    Don’t worry, when VATTA was formed in 2005, none of the members had spoken at a national conference before. To become a VATTA member, it is important that you are comfortable speaking in public about Down syndrome and some of your life experiences. However, experience speaking at a national conference is not a requirement.


    Do I get paid to be a VATTA member?

    No, VATTA members do not get paid. They are volunteer-based and generously donate their time and expertise each year to advocate on behalf of Canadians with Down syndrome.


    How long do VATTA members stay on the Committee?

    New members of the VATTA Committee are asked to make a minimum commitment of 2 years, but are welcome to stay on the Committee for as long as a 10 year term.


    How is VATTA funded?

    KPMGTo ensure that the group is able to continue advocating on behalf of Canadians, the committee has secured a funding commitment from KPMG. The com­mittee would like to thank KPMG for believ­ing in the work of VATTA and their impact on the citizens of Canada.

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