Regina Leader-Post: Made-in-Saskatchewan sex-ed curriculum has global reach

Made-in-Saskatchewan sex-ed curriculum has global reach

Tell It Like It Is is a comprehensive sex ed courses designed for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

She had been in an abusive relationship that was “very, very hard to leave,” and wanted to build her confidence and feel empowered to speak up for what she did and didn’t want with a partner, she says.

But there weren’t a lot of comprehensive sexual education courses designed for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities — courses that would cover the whole range of subjects Hynd was interested in, from safety and healthy relationships to navigating dating, breakups and identity.

So when Hynd found out about the Tell It Like It Is program five years ago, she was thrilled.

“I would tell everyone that you should take this class,” she says. “We learn about relationships and consent. We also talk about safe pregnancy — how to be safe — and the unwanted pregnancy, if you don’t want to have it.

“I could learn a lot about relationships. How to say yes. How to say no. How to consent.”

Over a 10-week course, Tell It Like It Is covers communication skills, body parts and body image, online dating, birth control and safer sex practices, understanding different kinds of relationships, sex and pleasure, consent and boundaries.


The programme booklet for the the 'Tell It Like It Is' program.
A booklet for the the ‘Tell It Like It Is’ program. KAYLE NEIS / Regina Leader-Post PHOTO BY KAYLE NEIS /Regina Leader-Post


Natalya Mason, a sexual health consultant in Saskatoon, says research continues to show that sex-ed programs such as Tell It Like It Is are important safety tools.

“Providing a high-quality, comprehensive, evidence-based educational program to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities is the best way to help protect them from future abuse,” she says.

“That’s true for learners with disabilities, and that’s also true for learners without disabilities. And if they do find themselves in a situation where they’re uncertain or something bad has happened, it helps in being able to feel confident and capable to talk about these things.”

The Tell It Like It Is curriculum was designed and developed in Saskatchewan, and has become a shared project of Creative Options Regina, Saskatoon Sexual Heath and Inclusion Saskatchewan.

The curriculum is now being used all across Canada and far beyond.

“When you Google this topic, there are not a lot of resources out there — and ours is one of the first that pops up,” says Kristyn White, literacy facilitator for Creative Options Regina.

“At this point, I think we’ve connected with people in every province. We’ve also had several people in Australia download (the curriculum). People in Japan are downloading it. We’ve had people in India. We’ve had lots of people in Europe, and all throughout Canada and the States. It truly has a worldwide reach.”

White says this particular curriculum is helping fill a big gap in sexual health education: Disabled people, particularly intellectually or developmentally disabled people, often don’t get access to the information they want and need about sex, relationships and their own bodies.

“The general attitudes towards people with disabilities in relation to sexuality are pretty negative,” White says.

“Within society, there are so many assumptions — that disabled people are asexual, that they’re not interested in relationships. People have the idea that people with disabilities cannot consent, that they shouldn’t be allowed to consent, that they shouldn’t even be allowed to have relationships. So the opportunities for people to learn are few and far between.”


Kristyn White, Tell It Like It Is program facilitator, sits for a portrait at the Creative Options Regina offices on Wednesday, June 5, 2024 in Regina.
Kristyn White, Tell It Like It Is program facilitator, at the Creative Options Regina offices on Wednesday, June 5, 2024 in Regina. KAYLE NEIS / Regina Leader-Post PHOTO BY KAYLE NEIS /Regina Leader-Post


Mason says Tell It Like It Is is all about creating those opportunities — a space for open conversations, rather than assumptions, silence or censorship.

“There is an intentional focus on creating opportunities for people with disabilities to have fulfilling relationships — and, on their own terms, without any kind of judgment about what those relationships need to look like,” she says.

For Hynd herself, the Tell It Like It Is program at Creative Options Regina has become a comfortable, safe place to ask questions and practise her strategies for navigating important talks with friends and partners.

“Tell It Like It Is, I’m a pro at it now,” she said. “It’s been really helpful in my relationship that I’m in now, that is a lot better than my old one. I’m happier.

“And there’s one thing I’ve been working really hard on: I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to different things and different people. If I say ‘no,’ people might get mad at me or swear at me or never talk to me again. But now, I’m working on my boundaries.”

Read the story in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Regina Leader-Post, published on June 25, 2024.

COR Receives HSLC Level 4 Certification – A National Standard For Health and Safety

We are incredibly proud to have received our HSLC Level 4 Certification, a national standard for health and safety leadership! A HUGE thank you to Service Hospitality for their guidance throughout this journey. We are incredibly grateful for your support in strengthening our safety management system!

Read the below article published by Service Hospitality:

Crossing the Finish Line by Achieving HSLC Levels 3 & 4!

It is with great pleasure that we announce Creative Options Regina’s remarkable achievement inHSLC Levels 3 and 4! It is no small feat to achieve one HSLC level, and this organization completed two levels simultaneously—talk about something to celebrate!

Through determination, dedication, and wholehearted commitment, Creative Options Regina successfully completed a Health and Safety Scored Audit and established a comprehensive Health and Safety Management System. This system protects workers from physical and psychological hazards. Safety is not just a part of their organization; it is ingrained in their business operations.

Creative Options Regina leads by example in championing psychological health and safety, seamlessly embedding these values into its organizational culture. Understanding the direct link between employee well-being and the quality of care it provides, CEO Michael Lavis has placed a strong emphasis on promoting the health and wellness of its employees.

Service Hospitality is proud to have contributed to enhancing Creative Options Regina’s Safety Management System. We look forward to supporting their continued growth and retaining all levels of HSLC going forward.

🎉Congratulations to our Level 4 HSLC Recipient!

Link to Article on Service Hospitality Website.

2nd Annual Prairie Sexuality and Disability Conference

COR is proud to host the 2nd Annual Prairie Sexuality and Disability Conference, in partnership with Saskatoon Sexual Health and Inclusion Saskatchewan. Join us in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on October 18-19, 2023.

For more information, visit:



An Empathetic Approach to Workplace Wellbeing: Our Interview with Creative Options Regina

An Empathetic Approach to Workplace Wellbeing: Our Interview with Creative Options Regina

Updated: May 1

CMHA Mental Health Week is all about sharing stories. At Headway, we love sharing stories of how others are making strides to improve mental health in the workplace. Throughout the week, we will be sharing best practises from interviews with experts and leaders working to champion mental health in their organizations. We hope it inspires your team to take action!

In our latest blog, we sat down with Casey Sakires from Creative Options Regina (COR) to learn more about their mental health initiatives and how they are creating a culture of balance and wellness by leading with empathy.


Founded in 2009, Creative Options Regina (COR) is a for-impact, charitable organization that develops personalized support services for people experiencing disabilities. They recognize the unique and often emotionally draining circumstances their employees can work under when caring for vulnerable populations day-to-day, leading them to a “care for the caregiver” approach to employee well-being.

We became familiar with COR as a fellow recipient of a Canadian Workplace Wellness Award for excellence in mental health and wellness initiatives. Through our own Headway initiative, we look to shine a spotlight on businesses championing mental health and share best practices to inspire other leaders to take action. We sat down with Casey Sakires, Employee Experience Advisor with COR, to learn more about his company’s balanced approach to wellness and why open, honest dialogue is key to creating a mentally safe environment.

According to Casey, these are some of the initiatives they’ve seen success with:

Judgment-free debriefs.

If someone has had a challenging day, a judgment-free conversation will help them make peace with the emotions inside. Casey mentioned that team members can debrief with anyone they desire from the CEO to directors to coordinators, all judgment-free. This enables a strong support system so employees will not have to suffer in silence and bottle up their emotions which we know can put a strain on our physical and mental health.

Collaboration with community professionals.

COR understands that stress can come from anywhere and prioritizes caring for the caregiver so that they can provide the best care possible for those they serve. This inspired COR to consult with experts in various areas to focus on the holistic health of their supports. For example, finance experts from CPA Saskatchewan, RBC, CIBC, and Leipert Financial conducted sessions to help ease the financial stress that employees were burdened with. It better equipped the teams with financial know-how, and people made real community connections that lived on beyond the sessions, enabling more trust and rapport.

Enabling personal initiatives.

COR takes it upon itself to facilitate well-being in the workplace and enable employees to fulfill their well-being journeys outside of work. To round out the body element of their holistic approach, COR offers employee discounts on gym memberships, yoga classes, and spin classes in collaboration with local businesses. These are done as a fitness bursary everyone can take advantage of to improve their physical health which we know can help ease mental health struggles as well.

When it comes to new learnings, Casey says the shift from in-person to virtual was a learning experience for their team:

When the pandemic hit and the world became unfamiliar, COR learned to rely on its central purpose to guide them. Their central purpose is to ensure people experience connectedness, companionship, and community. They acted through intentional listening and learning directly from employees to better understand their needs and the needs of their loved ones. Knowing what was uniquely important to each member allowed them to respond meaningfully to best support COR employees as they continued to endure the pandemic. During the pandemic and still today, success to COR is knowing that their workforce feels safe and valued, making psychological safety paramount. And while COR managed to stay connected during the pandemic, their employees are glad to be back to interacting more in-person today, as this improves the impact of their wellbeing initiatives that much more.

We want to thank Casey and Creative Options Regina for sharing the ups and downs of their well-being journey. We hope these learnings will inspire your company to consider new ways of working and create a mentally healthier workplace.

Read the full article here.

Designed to inspire action, our Headway Program helps business leaders take the next step toward creating mentally healthy workplaces. Navigating this complex topic can be tough. Our team can help with resources, tools, and a tailored plan based on your unique needs. Email us at

Prairie Sexuality and Disability Conference featured in SARC Update (Winter 2023)

We are excited to share an article featured in the SARC Winter Update on the 2022 Prairie Sexuality & Disability Conference. We are still beaming with pride when thinking back to the event made possible because of all our incredible partners, sponsors, presenters, caterers, and resource distributors! We look forward to seeing everyone at our 2023 conference in Saskatoon. Stay tuned!

COR Recognized by Excellence Canada as one of Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month Great Employers

We are pleased to be recognized by Excellence Canada as one of Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month Great Employers!

Meet the 2022 Recipients 

Here are the 2022 winners of the Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month Great Employer Award.

Organization Name City Prov Website Year
AGS Rehab Solutions Inc. Mississauga ON 2022
Artis REIT Winnipeg MB 2022
Your Neighbourhood Credit Union Kitchener ON 2022
AudienceView Toronto ON 2022
CanmetENERGY-Ottawa, Natural Resources Canada Nepean ON 2022
Cardata Oakville ON 2022
CHEO (Pediatric health care and research centre) Ottawa ON 2022
Connecting Care & Points West Living Edmonton AB 2022
Creative Options Regina Regina SK 2022
Grand River Hospital Kitchener ON 2022
Lethbridge College Lethbridge AB 2022
Region of Peel Brampton ON 2022

Canadian Workplace Well-being Award Recipient (2022)

On November 23rd, 2022, COR became a proud recipient of the Canadian Workplace Well-being Award, presented by the Canadian Positive Psychology Association, sponsored by Canada Life, Workplace Strategies for Mental Health.

Watch the Awards celebration on Youtube!

Click here for more information.

Sexuality and Disability Conference featured on CTV News Regina

‘Healthy, loving relationships just like the rest of us’: Talking sexuality for those with intellectual disability

The Doctor’s Role in Improving Healthcare for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Safety Centered Leadership Award Recipient — Thank you Service Hospitality!

Earlier this month, we were honored by our provincial safety association as the recipient of their annual Safety Centered Leadership Award. We are beyond grateful for Service Hospitality’s continued support and guidance in assisting us in keeping our COR family safe! Read their article below:

Our 2019 Safety Centered Leadership Award Goes To…

Michael Lavis from Creative Options Regina!

“Thank you Service Hospitality! I am humbled by this recognition. People are at the heart of our organization — our approach to safety is holistic ensuring everyone feels safe and valued:  employees, people supported, families, partners, volunteers and stakeholders — everyone! Our success has and continues to be, the result of a highly committed, compassionate, creative group of people that make up the COR family. Even during these challenging times, we are growing stronger together, rallying as one and discovering innovative ways to build community while adhering to strict health and safety protocols. We are determined to challenge the status quo and demonstrate that care can be done differently. We are so grateful for the support and guidance you — Service Hospitality — provide us and look forward to continued partnership into the future. Thank you.”

This year we presented the Executive Director of Creative Options Regina, Mr. Michael Lavis, with Service Hospitality’s most prestigious award, the Safety Centered Leadership Award. Michael’s commitment to health and safety doesn’t arise out of needing to meet legislated requirements – he truly believes a healthy and safe workplace is a productive and sustainable one. While the health and safety of his staff at Creative Options is a priority, he also demonstrates a passion for the safety of all workers in Saskatchewan.

Creative Options Regina, and Michael himself, are known for starting trends – not following them. He thinks outside the box and offers various resources to his staff to support their physical and mental health. An example of this is when Michael realized, although nutrition planning was provided through their employee benefits package, it was not being utilized by staff. So instead of waiting for staff to seek out nutritionist services, he brought the nutritionist to the office so the support was easily accessible to all employees.

Michael has also shown a passion for health and safety by…

  • Being a valued member of Service Hospitality’s Mental Health Best Practice Group, where he has led in the area of psychological health and safety in Saskatchewan community organizations.

  • Not being afraid to challenge big ideas and make insightful recommendations in front of the Health & Safety community. This shows he is not a complacent bystander, but an active participator.

  • Has sat on the Service Hospitality board of directors for 3 years and advocates for what he believes in and what is right in the community and industry.

  • Being heavily involved with Youth Safety Education Day by sponsoring and attending YSED events, and joining forces with Service Hospitality for Smile Cookie Day at Leboldus High School in 2019.

Michael is passionately committed to strengthening the disability services sector in Saskatchewan and to forge out new beginnings for the province’s most vulnerable citizens. He understands that the business of caring for people starts with the wellness of its own employees.

Thank you to Michael for being a leader, setting an example, and always breaking through the glass ceiling of health and safety in our province and beyond its borders!

View the article on Service Hospitality’s website.