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May 27, 2016
  1. [VIDEO] Half dozen housing pilot projects given green light
  2. Proud Sponsor of Community Living Ontario -- Find Out More About CSBT!
  3. Brockville resident pens book to help others
  4. Probe into people, families in crisis expected this summer
  5. CSBT, this year’s Title Sponsor, invites you to the 2016 Community Living Ontario Annual General Meeting and Conference – September 21-23, 2016
  6. Call for sessions for the Speaking Out Conference
  7. What You Need to Know About ODSP
  8. Community Living Month in the news!
  9. [VIDEO] Huntsville merchants pay tribute to Don Eagles
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[VIDEO] Half dozen housing pilot projects given green light

The Ministry of Community and Social Services will be funding six additional pilot projects across the province that were recommended by Ontario’s Developmental Services Housing Task Force.

Minister Helena Jaczek made the announcement yesterday afternoon at York Support Services Network in Aurora, one of the many organizations involved in the six initiatives that will share $2.13 million over two years to provide creative, inclusive and cost-effective housing solutions for adults who have an intellectual disability.

“Finding innovative housing solutions is critical to addressing the needs of Ontario adults with developmental disabilities and their families. The government’s funding commitment to the Housing Task Force’s efforts from this second round will generate new partnerships between individuals, families, communities and agencies,” said Jaczek, as part of her remarks.

“This will in turn help us to develop a broader set of residential options that can help more people in the long term.”

Click on the video below for a recap of yesterday’s announcement.

Helena Jaczek YouTube Image

The six recommended projects are as follows:

LiveWorkPlay will receive more than $230,000 for their project, Just Enough Support: Living in the Haven in Barrhaven and Deschatelets Old Ottawa East. Partnering with The Mills Community Support, Multifaith Housing Initiative and Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation, the initiative will assist 12 people in moving into their own one-bedroom apartments. The project also encompasses training for people, their families and support networks in creating and applying community-based support plans. Supportive neighbours and advocates will also play a part in building an inclusive community.

Smart Support-Technology Enabled Services is a project that will spearheaded by Community Living Essex County and is based on a successful pilot in Boulder, Colorado. The initiative will equip a person’s living space with innovative, technology-enabled services, based on his or her lifestyle, needs and available resources. The project, which will receive over $278,000, is also a collaboration with Onsite Services, Imagine! Smart Home and the University of Windsor.

Coalition des familles francophones d’Ottawa is receiving more than $450,000 for Passage vers mon propre toit (Moving To A Place of My Own). In partnership with Association pour l’intégration sociale d’Ottawa, the initiative will look to create a self-evaluation and lessons learned tool to help parents, guardians and stakeholders reduce administrative work and define individualized housing solutions and practical support requirements for five people.

Lambton County Developmental Services will receive more than $94,000 for A Devine Life. The project is in partnership Habitat for Humanity and Circles – County of Lambton Social Planning and Program Support/Lambton College. It focuses on person-directed planning and promotes independence by giving two people a home in the community of their choice. The project also aims to promote community inclusion and awareness by providing community supports through the combined partnerships between the participants, their families and partner organizations.

Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology will receive more than $95,000 for their initiative. Partnering with LiveWorkPlay and the United Families of Eastern Ontario, the college’s Developmental Services Worker Co-operative Development Project will look to address the need for support services for people who want to live independently, as well as increase the number of professionally-trained Developmental Service Workers in the community that families could hire directly.

York Region Lifetime Independent Facilitation will receive nearly half of the allotted funding – over $977,000 – for Why Wait? In partnership with Montage Support Services and York Support Services Network, the project will support eight individuals in four unique housing models. The initiative will include a learning and collaborative series that will be conducted by an independent facilitator and a number of support organizations to assist families with planning.

In speaking with representatives from the Developmental Services Housing Task Force, it was made known that there were 69 submissions as part of the second call for proposals. They also stressed there were a number of other proposed initiatives could have gone ahead had additional dollars been available.

The half dozen projects that were chosen are in addition to the 12 projects already underway. Those initiatives received $3.47 million in funding over two years.

Lessons learned from all the projects will be used to develop residential options that could be replicated in communities across Ontario to assist more people in the long term.

Ron Laroche, Community Living Ontario

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Proud Sponsor of Community Living Ontario -- Find Out More About CSBT!

CSBT is proud to feature their NEW Whiteboard Video! Check out the new Value Ads for Social Services.

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Brockville resident pens book to help others

A tireless disability advocate can now add author to a long list of accomplishments.

Gordon Ferguson has spent the past year and a half writing, Never Going Back, The Gordon Ferguson Story: Lessons from a Life of Courage, Strength and Love.

The book details the struggles he had to endure as a resident of Rideau Regional Centre in Smiths Falls. Ferguson lived at the former institution for 16 years, beginning in 1958 when he was 10-years-old.

“The reason why I wrote this book was because I wanted people to find out about what happened to me a long time ago.”

For him, it’s important that people read the book so that they can learn from his experiences.

It details how Ferguson ran away 13 times and how he finally left Rideau for good in 1974 - that’s really when he began to live a rich life in Brockville. He found employment, obtained a driver’s license, developed many friendship and would go on to marry his wife, Donna.

The importance of home has tremendous significance for Ferguson. He and Donna lived with his mother, Audrey. To him, having a home represents safety, having control, and having the choice to do what one chooses. A home also can’t be made into an institution.

Following his mother’s passing in 2011, there was a two-year struggle to have the ownership of the home transferred to Ferguson. There was also a push to have him admitted to a different type of institution – a nursing home. In the end, he was successful in obtaining ownership of the family home and that’s where he and Donna continue to live today.

Never Going Back also covers Ferguson’s passion for advocacy, which he attributes to his mentor Pat Worth. He also helped to establish the People First chapter in Brockville.

Over the span of three decades, Ferguson learned about the many issues affecting people who have a disability. He was also called for the closure of Ontario’s institutions and was critical of selective abortions, euthanasia, and the sterilization of women who have a disability against their will.

In writing his book, Ferguson partnered with Denise Wright, Interim Executive Director for the Brockville and District Association for Community Involvement. Together, they spent on average about five hours a week on the book.

When asked how it felt to be the writer of a 129-page book, Ferguson was quite frank.

“It feels pretty good being an author, and maybe I’ll write another book after this one.”

A book launch is planned for Saturday, June 4th at the Brockville Public Library at 12:30pm.

Never Going Back sells for $20 and is available by contacting the Brockville and District Association for Community Involvement.

Ron Laroche, Community Living Ontario

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Probe into people, families in crisis expected this summer

After nearly a four year wait, the Ontario Ombudsman is set to release a report and recommendations involving the provision of services for adults with intellectual disabilities who are in crisis.

Since the investigation was first launched in November of 2012, the Ombudsman’s office has received over 1,400 complaints, conducted more than 200 interviews, and resolved what it calls “scores of urgent individual cases.” Significant changes in government policy, funding and services have also been reviewed.

A draft of Ombudsman Paul Dubé’s findings and recommendations were delivered to the Ministry of Community and Social Services on Tuesday (May 24th).

The Ombudsman expects to release the report by the end of July, however, no date will be set until a response from the Ministry has been received.

The launch of the investigation was first triggered after a growing number of complaints from families. André Marin, the Ontario Ombudsman at the time, said desperate families feared their loved ones were at risk of ending up in homeless shelters or jail because there was nowhere to care for them, while others complained that services for people who have a disability essentially vanished when they turned 18.

Update Friday Staff

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CSBT, this year’s Title Sponsor, invites you to the 2016 Community Living Ontario Annual General Meeting and Conference – September 21-23, 2016

Registration for the 2016 Community Living Ontario Annual General Meeting and Conference will be available online beginning Tuesday, May 31st.

Taking place from September 21st to the 23rd at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel and Suites in Richmond Hill, the AGM and Conference will focus on our long-standing commitment to social inclusion, while addressing the remaining barriers that prevent many people from living full and meaningful lives.

Please note: The Annual General Meeting will take place on the evening of Wednesday, September 21st.

This year's theme, Inclusive Communities - Engaged Citizens, explores the potential and proven successes that are achieved when people lead enriched lives surrounded by caring and supportive networks of families, friends, neighbours and colleagues.

Be sure to register early, as last year’s conference was a sell-out. The descriptions for the majority of the sessions will be also be available.

Visit our website – - next Tuesday to register.


The Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel and Suites in Richmond Hill is accepting reservations for the AGM and Conference. Bookings must be done directly with the hotel by calling 1-800-668-0101 to book your reservation.
Conference subsidies are limited, based on availability and are as follows:

Best Western Standard - $108
Sheraton Standard - $142
Sheraton Corporate - $152

Mention Community Living Ontario when reserving your hotel rooms. Accessible rooms are available upon request.

63e Congrès annuel et assemblée générale annuelle - 21 septembre au 23, 2016
L’inscription au Congrès annuel et l’Assemblée générale annuelle d’Intégration communautaire Ontario 2016 sera en ligne le mardi 31 mai.

Prenant place à partir du 21 septembre au 23 à l’hôtel Sheraton Toronto North Parkway and Suites à Richmond Hill, l'AGA et la conférence mettront l'accent sur notre engagement de longue date à l'inclusion sociale, tout en abordant la question des derniers obstacles qui empêchent de nombreuses personnes de vivre une vie bien remplie et enrichissante.

S'il vous plaît noter: l'Assemblée générale annuelle aura lieu pendant la soirée du mercredi 21 septembre.

Le thème de cette année, Communautés inclusives - Citoyens engagés, explore les succès potentiels et démontrés qui sont obtenus quand les gens mènent des vies enrichissantes entourés par les soins et les réseaux de soutien des familles, des amis, des voisins et des collègues.

Assurez-vous de vous inscrire le plus tôt possible, parce que la conférence de l'an dernier était pleine. Les descriptions de la plupart de des séances en petits groups seront disponibles.

Visiter notre site Web - - mardi prochain pour vous inscrire.


L’hôtel Sheraton Toronto North Parkway and Suites à Richmond Hill accepte couramment les réservations pour le Congrès annuel et l’Assemblée générale annuelle. Les réservations pour vos chambres doivent être faites directement avec l'hôtel en composant le 1-800-668-0101.
Les réductions pour la conférence sont limitées en fonction des disponibilités et sont comme suit:

Best Western Standard - 108 $
Sheraton Standard - 142 $
Sheraton Corporatif - 152 $

Mentionnez Intégration communautaire Ontario lors de la réservation de vos chambres d'hôtel. Les chambres accessibles sont disponibles sur demande.

Update Friday Staff

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For more details and to register for the 'Challenges of Transition' Pre-Conference Day follow this link.

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Call for sessions for the Speaking Out Conference

An annual conference for people who have an intellectual disability and hosted by people who have a disability is seeking workshop presentations.

The Speaking Out Conference is meant to promote knowledge sharing around people’s rights, leadership and advocacy skills, as well as to promote active participation in the community.

The Planning Committee is comprised of representatives from self-advocacy groups in London (New Vision Advocates), St. Thomas (Our Choice Matters), Walkerton (Walkerton Action Committee), Essex County (New Day) and Dundas (Meeting of the Minds).

Brigitte Gagnon is a member of the Speaking Out Planning Committee, and she’s also a member of New Day.

She says this year’s theme is Keeping in Touch with the Times, which speaks to the need to stay connected with other self-advocacy groups, with what’s taking place in their communities, with the latest advances in technology, with policy changes within government, and with relationship building.

The Planning Committee has put out a call for presentations, and submissions will be accepted until Thursday, June 30th. Click here for the submission form.

Gagnon says this year’s keynote speaker will be David Hingsburger.

The 9th annual conference will take place from October 14th to the 16th in Port Elgin.

Last year’s conference drew roughly 150 attendees from across the province.

For more information on Speaking Out 2016, visit

Update Friday Staff

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What You Need to Know About ODSP

Sponsored content provided by Ron Malis, Financial Advisor with Independent Financial Concepts Group.

Understanding ODSP is a job in itself. People do not know where to start. It’s a daunting task, trying to figure out which aspects to focus on. There are well over a 100 policies providing hundreds of pages of reading. Sound like fun? You can access them on-line, if you like, by clicking here. They are  good resources to have, but they are not easy to read. They explain what you are allowed and what you are not allowed and how many of those rules change under different circumstances. User friendly they are not, though.

So here are some of the basics.

ODSP is a means-tested benefit. Simply put, if you are on ODSP, you may not have more than a certain amount of assets in addition to having a, ”…substantial physical or mental impairment that is continuous or recurrent and expected to last one year or more.” As well, there are limits to the amount of income you can earn while on ODSP. Exceeding these limits can reduce, suspend or terminate your benefits.

This post will focus on ODSP’s asset limits and some of the exceptions. I will save the treatment of income for another day.

There are two fundamental rules ODSP recipients and their families should know about.

Rule Number One: The $5,000 Rule

A single adult with no dependents on ODSP is not allowed to have more than $5,000 in assets at any given time. The limit increases if the recipient has a spouse and/or dependants. Let’s focus on single adults without dependents to keep it simple.

Rule Number Two: The $6,000 Rule

A single adult with no dependents on ODSP is allowed to receive no more than $6,000 in gifts and voluntary payments in a 12 month period for non-disability related items and services.

Confused? The first rule is fairly simple. You are not allowed to have more than $5,000 in assets at any point in time. If you exceed that limit, by even the smallest amount, your ODSP eligibility is jeopardized. There are exceptions to this rule, but the easiest way to understand it is you are not allowed to have more than $5,000 between all your bank accounts, investment accounts, cash under your mattress, etc., etc., etc.

Rule number two is the one many find confusing. How can you be allowed to receive $6,000 in gifts and voluntary payments if you are not allowed to have more than $5,000 at any given time? You have to think about rule number one, the $5,000 limit, as a snapshot in time. You simply may not have more than $5,000 at any point. Rule number two, the $6,000 rule, is about how much money you are allowed to receive from different sources over a period of 12 months. It is possible to receive $6,000 over 12 months without exceeding $5,000 in assets.

To read Ron's full article, click here.

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Community Living Month in the news!

As Community Living Month continues, people and associations around the province are celebrating the many successes in creating inclusive communities, where people of all abilities can participate fully. Throughout the month of May, we are featuring stories of events and activities in communities around the province on our blog. Keep checking in for frequent updates!

Middlesex Community Living's 15th Annual Mayor's Breakfast

The 15th Annual Mayor's Breakfast was held this week in celebration of Community Living month.


Over 100 people joined Middlesex Community Living and Mayor Joanne Vanderheyden at Caradoc Sands Golf Club for a hot breakfast donated by local businesses. Middlesex Community Living used the opportunity to kick off their Take A Chance. Make a Change campaign.

Sherri Kroll, Executive Director for Middlesex Community Living, spoke to the crowd about the need to review the services offered by Middlesex Community Living and to build stronger, person-centred programs and services.

Community Living Month celebrates the family

Families being the heart of communities was the theme for this year’s Community Living Month for Community Living Parry Sound.

In honour of the annual event, the ninth annual Breakfast with the Mayor was held at Wellington’s Pub and Grill on May 10.

Kimberley Gavan

“That certainly rings very true for this community,” said Parry Sound Mayor Jamie McGarvey of this year’s theme. “The staff and the board of directors that we have here and the volunteers that work with Community Living and people supported – they create a family in the community because it’s blended and inclusive. [Community Living Parry Sound is] a vital part of this community and something we all appreciate.”

Kimberly Gavan, Director of Community Development with Community Living Ontario, was the keynote speaker.

She discussed her travels to Nairobi, Africa and wanting to see what the experience was like for other families who have a member with a disability.

Read the full article here.

Flag raised for inclusion at Huntsville town hall

It’s time to celebrate.

FlagCommunity Living Huntsville raised a flag for inclusion at town hall on May 18 as part of a month-long celebration. The organization, which supports and advocates on behalf of people who have an intellectual disability, is just one group of many taking part across the province.

Cathy Stroud, Executive Director with Community Living Huntsville, said events like this are important because the message that all people need to be included still needs to get out there.

“We work with a population that has been excluded and segregated for over a hundred years before being welcomed back as part of a community. We still have to work at getting that message out,” said Stroud.

Read the full article here.

Community Living Fort Erie

Community living peace bridge

As part of the 'Shine a Light on Community Living' campaign, Community Living Fort Erie was successful in getting the Peace Bridge illuminated blue and green for Community Living Month.

As the bridge connects Fort Erie with Buffalo, New York, we'd like to thank Community Living Fort Erie for making the awareness campaign an international one!

Community Living Temiskaming

Community Living Temiskaming South held its 47th annual walkathon where participants walked from New Liskeard through to Haileybury then Cobalt to raise funds to support citizens with intellectual disabilities. The distance for this event was 17km. This year’s funds are being put towards the purchase of a wheelchair accessible van.  There was 77 participants, raising a total of  $22,500.


Read the full article here.

The Frog’s Breath Foundation donated $38,000 towards a wheelchair accessible van for the Evanturel Home which is  supported by Community Living Temiskaming South. Foundation spokesperson, Susi Johanson (holding the cheque on the left hand side of the photo) stated “We know this van will help the residents get around town easier and we are happy to assist the community in this way”.

Hometown pride flies with Community Living flag

Last week the Town of Parry Sound showed its support for Community Living Month. On May 2 Mayor Jamie McGarvey, along with Community Living Parry Sound members and supporters raised a flag outside the town’s municipal office.PS

“As always it’s always a great honour to be apart of Community Living Month,” said McGarvey. “We’re so very proud to have an organization such as Community Living that has integrated well and as your theme goes – inclusion – we’re all one and together in this. It’s certainly, extremely important so that no one feels that they are segregated."

Click here to read the full article.

Community Living advocates set to march for inclusion

CL_FE“I wanted to share with you some of the things that Community Living Fort Erie has helped me with,” said Kali Sheridan to a small crowd of people that gathered at Town Hall to raise the Community Living Fort Erie flag in honour of Community Living Month, which highlights the gifts and talents that individuals with intellectual challenges bring to their communities.

Click here to read the full article.

Bears drum up support for Community Living

With drums beating and cymbals crashing the St. Joesph Scollard Hall Bears Marching Band left the bus terminal to a flag raising ceremony at City Hall this morning to help celebrate Community Living month. CL-NB"Our parade this morning is to help us celebrate Community Living Month during May," Darlene Brooks, Director of Quality and Accountabiltiy at Community Living North Bay told BayToday as the band prepared to march.

Click here to read the full article.

May is Community Living Month

Flag-Raising-2016-024-768x474It was a beautiful spring day on May 2nd and the sound of bagpipes floated through the air as a pleasant crowd gathered to watch Mayor Jamie McGarvey raise the Community Living flag to honor the mission of this non-profit organization. Community Living Parry Sound is an innovative and dynamic organization that supports people with developmental disabilities and their families to ensure inclusion in all aspects of the community.

Click here to read the full article.

Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley

CLUOWCommunity Living Upper Ottawa Valley presents the Community Living Flag to City of Pembroke Mayor Mike Lemay. The Mayor of Pembroke has proclaimed MAY ~ Community Living Month. The Flag is flying high at City Hall in downtown Pembroke. Community Living in the Upper Ottawa Valley delivered almost 500 Deli Box Lunches to the Business Community to kick off Community Living Month for 2016.

Kincardine, Huron-Kinloss agree to fly flag for Community Living month

The Municipality of Kincardine and the Township of Huron-Kinloss have both agreed to fly the Community Living flag through the month of May which is recognized across the province as Community Living Month.CLKCD Monday night, at the township's committee-of-the-whole meeting, Community Living supported-individuals Cassandra Ritchie, Donald Weatherhead and Jeffery Vande Klippe, and staff members Barb McNee and Beth French, thanked the township for for its ongoing support and commitment to the organization. Click here to read the full article.

Community Living North Grenville

May is Community Living Month - let’s work together Each year during the month of May, Community Living North Grenville takes the opportunity to celebrate their successes. The community organization can be proud of the amazing opportunities their “Personal Empowerment Group (PEG)” has been able to offer people within their community. Click here to read the full article.

Community Living Fort Erie kicks off its annual call for inclusion

Nobody wants to feel excluded from their own community. Everyone should feel welcome in their community and every May, the spirit of inclusion rings out in Fort Erie as Community Living celebrates the diversity of the town’s many residents. Click here to read the full article.

Espanola raises flag for Community Living

On May 2, Espanola showed their support for Community Living Espanola (CLE), by raising a flag to be flown over the town throughout the month of May in support of Community Living Month. Click here to read the full article.

Raising a flag for Community Living Month

Simcoe Community Services Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, Simcoe Community Services (scs) CEO Bill Silk, and the people they support, raised their flag at City Hall to kick off Community Living Month, a month to celebrate the gifts and talents people with intellectual disabilities bring to our community. Click here to read the full article.

Did we miss you? Please send a short recap of your event or activity to Justin dePass at [email protected].

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[VIDEO] Huntsville merchants pay tribute to Don Eagles

For more than two decades, Don Eagles was a fixture of downtown Huntsville.

He took great pride in his job, clearing snow in front of many of the shops along Main Street. Later, his responsibilities would grow to include year-round storefront maintenance for more than a dozen businesses.

Over the years, the relationships Eagles developed with the shopkeepers grew too. They had become family.

Kathy Sheridan, Owner of Reflections of Muskoka, had developed a close relationship with him. At one time, he lived in an apartment above a business across the street from Sheridan’s store. 

She said he was sometimes teased by the town’s young people, so the merchants and Community Living Huntsville established safe places along the street in the event Eagles needed help. The incidents subsided soon after that.

The impact of the 65-year-old’s life on the people around him was profound. The shopkeepers would celebrate events with Eagles, including birthday parties and Christmas.

Unfortunately, he passed away at his home on June 8th of last year.

After his passing, the family he had built for himself and the rest of the community came together to honour his memory. They had one of his brooms bronzed and displayed as part of a memorial at the corner of Main and King Streets.

“It was the last broom he swept with. We got it from his apartment,” said Sheridan.

Area merchants, representatives from Community Living Huntsville, members of Huntsville town council, residents and friends attended the unveiling of the memorial on October 9th of last year.

“He had almost the entire Main Street there. It was really great to see that he had so many friends and he was certainly part of our community and in our lives, every day,” added Sheridan.

Last Wednesday (May 18th), Community Living Huntsville unveiled a video tribute to Eagles. Featured in the video are many of the merchants that worked with him closely.

To view the video tribute, click here.

Ron Laroche, Community Living Ontario

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Sponsorship Disclaimer

Community Living Ontario maintains independence over the editorial content of its communications. While sponsorships assist with our communication efforts, sponsors have no editorial input or influence on the information itself. Click here to read the Sponsorship Disclaimer in its entirety.

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