PRESS RELEASE: Community Living Ontario Celebrates Award Winners Who Are Dedicated to Inclusion


TORONTO, ON, October 17, 2023 — Community Living Ontario (CLO) has announced the recipients of its 2023 Inspiring Possibilities Awards.  

After several years hiatus, CLO revived these unique awards in 2023. Celebrating people, teams, and organizations making a positive difference in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, the Inspiring Possibilities Awards are revered by self-advocates, families, support workers, and allies across the province. 

This year’s suite of Inspiring Possibilities Awards:  

  1. Jason Rae Award: Named in memory of self-advocate Jason Rae, this award is given to a person with an intellectual disability who has demonstrated leadership and given back to their community. 
  1. Changemaker Award: Celebrating an individual or group that has made a significant impact on?the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. 
  1. Inclusive Media Award: Honouring an individual or organization that has utilized social media, television, radio, film, or print media to raise awareness, promote inclusion, and positively impact the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. 
  1. Innovation in Accessibility Award: Celebrating an individual or organization that has developed innovative solutions to make the world more accessible and/or inclusive for people with intellectual disabilities. 

“The Inspiring Possibilities Awards were devised to raise awareness about inclusion and accessibility in the realm of intellectual disability,” explains Chris Beesley, CEO, Community Living Ontario. “We are thrilled to be able to honour and celebrate these trailblazers.”

Award recipients were honoured at a gala dinner as part of CLO’s recent Inspiring Possibilities AGM and Conference which was hosted by CBC personality Ali Hassan. 

The 2023 award winners are: 

  • Joseph Lambert – Recipient of the Jason Rae Award
    “Joe’s leadership in the Community Living movement is evident through his impactful actions and engagement. Having survived institutional abuse, he’s turned his own experiences into a catalyst for change. He helps future support workers understand the challenges he’s faced, the trauma of the institutional past, and the importance of respecting the rights and choices of people with disabilities,” explains his nominator. 
  • Everyday Friends – Recipient of the Changemaker Award
    “Toronto-area social group, Everyday Friends and its volunteers have significantly contributed to advancing human rights and opportunities for its participants. Each month, for over 10 years, our facilitators have invited participants to be full, robust, active members in authentic social interaction. Our participants may never have had an opportunity to access these opportunities otherwise,” explains the group’s nominator. 
  • Barri Cohen – Inclusive Media Award
    Barri is an award-winning filmmaker who focuses on topics related to social justice, community activism, and championing those most vulnerable in our society. Her critically acclaimed documentary, Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children, was screened in numerous towns and cities across the province as part of CLO’s “Community Living Month” this past May.
  • Lisa McNee-Baker – Innovation in Accessibility Award
    Under Lisa’s leadership, her team has worked collaboratively with the people they support, families, and health care providers. Lisa and her board of directors have also presented to outside partners about the imperative for people being supported to age in their homes and communities.      

Employing various programs and initiatives across the province, Community Living Ontario highlights and celebrates inclusion as well as advocates on the topic of intellectual disability. 


Community Living Ontario is a nonprofit organization with 117 local associations dedicated to helping people who have an intellectual disability and their families advocate for meaningful inclusion in their lives and communities. Learn more at  

For more information, please contact Nicholas Wong, Communications Lead, at 416-447-4348 ext. 234 or