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Position: The Right to Live in the Community

People First of Canada (PFC) believes that no person, regardless of disability, should live in any kind of situation that promotes or practices congregation, segregation, or isolation. It is our belief that all people, regardless of disability, can live within their community, with appropriate supports. We also believe that people should exercise their right to voice and choice in determining where they live and with whom they live.

Issue and Context:

The essential core of the People First movement is the issue of deinstitutionalization. People First believes in the right of every individual to live in their community and will work to close institutions, of all sizes and manner, that inappropriately house people with intellectual disabilities. People First believes that people with intellectual disabilities are inappropriately placed in nursing homes, senior’s homes, group homes, long-‐term care facilities, personal care homes and other similar settings. Every person should have control over where and with whom they live. Funding should be linked to the disability supports required by an individual, not an agency or geographical area. People’s homes should be determined by individual decision, person-‐by-‐person, and not based on the availability of beds within agencies. Furthermore, People First recognizes the difference between housing needs and disability supports.

To ensure that all people with intellectual disabilities are living in the community, all large institutions must be closed. Institutional settings as a residential living option should no longer be offered to people. Policies around individuals must reflect the ideals and principles of inclusive community living for all Canadians and be based on each person’s individual needs.

Action Needed

People First of Canada recommends that governments:

  • Ensure the human rights of people with intellectual disabilities, including the right to live in the community,
  • Ensure that every Canadian province and territory has closed all of its large institutions for persons with intellectual disabilities,
  • Ensure zero admissions to institutions for persons with intellectual disabilities,
  • Ensure adequate, accessible, and affordable housing options are available,
  • Ensure that Government investments in housing are inclusive and in keeping with community living principles,
  • Ensure supports are provided to facilitate community living,
  • Ensure that institutions are no longer part of the continuum of services available for people with intellectual disabilities.