Who We Are
Community Living Ontario (CLO) is a family-based provincial association assisting people who have an intellectual disability and their families to lead the way in advancing inclusion in their own lives and in their communities. Founded in 1953, our work is rooted in a strong network of individuals, families, friends, member organizations and community partners.
Together, we envision a society where people who have an intellectual disability belong, have equal rights, respect and acceptance, a sense of self-worth and opportunities for growth. We believe that the gifts, uniqueness and innate value of each person should be celebrated, supported and acknowledged as essential to the completeness of the whole community.
Our Work at a Glance
We’ve provided commentary and created resources for a diverse array of issues related to the developmental services sector, disability rights, and everything else affecting Ontarians who have an intellectual disability. Our recent efforts have included campaigning against medical assistance in dying, fighting for long-term care reform, and making disability supports a federal election issue. As provincial leaders in our sector, we believe that Community Living Ontario’s voice is important to include in these conversations.
For a more in-depth look at some of our past work, as well as current projects and future plans, we invite you to take a look at these resources:
- 2020-2021 Annual Report
- Building a Full Life + a Home of One’s Own in the Community
- Council Advocacy Priorities
- Frequently Asked Questions
Community Living Ontario is also an active member of Inclusion Canada, and regularly communicates with equivalent provincial and territorial associations. We also have an influence at the global level thanks to our affiliation with Inclusion International.
Meet our Leaders
Board President—Michael Jacques:
Michael Jacques is a passionate advocate, educator, public speaker and author who has used his platform to promote belonging and inclusion. He began his journey with CLO through the organization’s Re:Action4Inclusion initiative over 10 years ago and recently became the organization’s youngest-ever Board President, as well as the first to have an intellectual disability and autism.
His first book, Can't Read, Can't Write, Here's My Book, details his life and experiences growing up, providing his unique perspective on topics such as learning, inclusion, advocacy, independence and the power of perseverance.
Chief Executive Officer—Chris Beesley:
Chris Beesley began his role as Chief Executive Officer and Board Secretary of Community Living Ontario in June of 2013. His commitment to the Community Living movement began in 1994 with the birth of his son, Mitchell, who was born with an intellectual disability.
Chris served on various committees with Community Living Toronto, his local association, and served on their Board for nine years. Before coming to Community Living Ontario, he was the Executive Director of an adult literacy network organization serving Toronto and York Regions, and he is currently on the board of Community Literacy of Ontario.
He lives in Toronto with his wife, Lori, his son, Mitchell, and daughter, Erin.
Council President—Niko Pupella:
Niko Pupella is a technology enthusiast and President of the Council of Community Living Ontario. The Council consists of 12 self-advocates from across the province that come together to make a difference in the lives of people who have an intellectual disability by making sure their voices are heard. As president, Niko hopes to continue working with the Council to ensure the voices of people who have a disability are heard regarding issues with ODSP, fair rent, work wages, and the many issues related to poverty. He is a resident of Uxbridge, Ontario.