People First of Ontario  is the provincial organization representing people with intellectual disabilities.  We are the provincial voice for people who have been labeled with an intellectual disability. We are about rights – human rights, citizenship rights, accommodations rights and language rights. The right to freedom, choice and equality for all.

Our Driving Force …

We want people in the community to see us as people first. The problem is, we are still being labeled with damaging words like retarded or slow. We have been taken away from our families and communities, and have been kept in institutional settings. We have been kept in segregated workshops and schools apart from other people in our community. People have forgotten that we have the same dreams and the same needs as everybody else.

Our Goals …

  1. To promote EQUALITY for all persons.
  2. To assist other people trying to speak up for themselves and making their own decisions.
  3. To teach the members about the RIGHTS, ABILITIES, and STRENGTHS of People First of Ontario.

For more information, contact:

Special Services at Home Passport Coalition

The Special Services at Home and Passport Provincial Coalition (SSAHPC) is a coalition of families, individuals and agencies dedicated to ensuring that children with physical and/or developmental disabilities and adults with developmental disabilities receive the support they require to participate in community through individualized funding programs. The Coalition gathers and provides information about the SSAH and Passport programs to Ontarians and acts a voice to government about the effectiveness of the programs in meeting the needs of the citizens of Ontario.

The Ontario Independent Facilitation Network (OIFN)  has a membership comprised of: people with the lived experience of having a disability or self-advocates, family members, independent facilitators and other community allies who support citizenship for all.

Check out OIFN’s  Facebook Page, Instagram, Ideas and Story Blogs.


The network envisions a society where:

citizenship, choice and control over one’s life are afforded to all people.  OIFN imagine shifts within systems and society so that all people have equal economic power, political, and social rights and opportunities.

We believe in a Citizen Focused Framework which includes:

– individualized, portable, direct funding

-affordance and accessible housing resources

-staffing and administrative  resources

-inclusive, quality education

– support in making sense for it all and planning for a good life in community through independent facilitation

Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario

IFCO has not been active in the traditional ways that were apparent in our first 20 years. feedback-2849590_1920During this time period, IFCO was active with community engagement events, frequent coalition meetings, research, forums, projects, the creation of important resources and writing of briefs.  Over the last couple of years we have worked in partnership with other entities and/or supported important work behind the scenes.  We have been pleased to see that the IFCO foundational work from the first 20 years has been built upon and utilized by individuals, families, partners and forward thinking projects.

IFCO planned a gathering of people and families in August 2018 called Straight Talk.This day was designed to hear from the grassroots as to where things are at with regard to individualized funding in Ontario. Others in the province have done some analysis and writing, but we have heard feedback from families that it has not been fully representative of what is needed. IFCO hosted Straight Talkevent to hear directly from people and families.

We will also gauge whether it is important that IFCO become more active with engagement opportunities, forums for people, families and allies, coalition gatherings and/or more information sharing. We will evaluate what capacity exists to carry on the work. We look forward to people and families coming together to share information, and determine what the future will look like for IFCO.

Windsor Essex Brokerage for Personal Supports (Brokerage)

Windsor Essex Brokerage for Personal Supports (Brokerage) offers Independent Facilitation to people living with developmental disabilities. Independent Facilitation can be described as a planning process. An independent facilitator will meet with you over time and share in conversations with you, your loved ones, and trusted others about your interests, dreams, ideas for the future, customized and tailored services and supports, and much more. Your facilitator can assist you to think about your roles as a contributing member in your neighbourhood and community—as a citizen, student, employee, renter/homeowner, and more. Your facilitator can also act as a broker, mediator, and also negotiate with the developmental service system to meet your needs and vision for your life.

For more information explore the WEBPS website. 

Inclusion Press 

Inclusion Press creates and delivers ‘person centred’ resources and training in support of full citizenship for all, locally and globally.  We have developed communication and planning approaches including Circles of Friends, MAPS and PATH.  We support real inclusion in life and community; all means all.  Our approaches are targeted for individuals, families, and organizations in human services, education and indigenous communities.  We also host the Toronto Summer Institute.

Check out our Facebook page.

Follow us on Twitter.     Explore upcoming workshops.

John Lord

For decades, John Lord’s mission has been to use research and education to create positive change in human services and communities, so that vulnerable citizens can achieve full citizenship, participation, and equality. Inclusion and belonging are central to this mission.

As a community researcher, author, and facilitator, John Lord has extensive experience with social inclusion. John has coined the phase “New Story” to describe the values, principles, and strategies that are guiding new approaches to supporting vulnerable citizens in community.

In 2018, John Lord was awarded the Order of Canada for his significant contributions to Canada through community based research, policy change, and New Story approaches.

The New Story reflects the research and awareness of a new paradigm of support that include key elements, including individualized funding, independent facilitation, community engagement, strong family networks, and person-centred approaches.

Use this website to find articles and ideas that can empower individuals, families, and communities to understand and to build the New Story.

Durham Association For Family Resources and Supports (DAFRS)

DAFRS works in partnership with families with a member who has an intellectual disability or a child with a physical disability, providing Family Support (services, resources, and other types of assistance) that enhance the capacity of the whole family to care for one another and to sustain and/or enhance their valued social roles as family members and as members of the community.

DAFRS believes:

  • in the essential importance of good family life.
  • that communities have a fundamental responsibility to welcome and support people with disabilities.
  • that, when provided with adequate support, families provide the safest, most consistent and loving environment for family members.
  • in the importance of promoting valued social roles for people with disabilities.

The Association began in 1978, a collaborative initiative of families, service providers and the Ministry of Community and Social Services. From its inception, the Association has retained a strong commitment to supporting families with a focus on

  • Individualized approaches that focus on meaningful, community based experiences for people supported,
  • Family leadership through learning, networking and working in partnership to support family members with a disability
  • Promotion and protection of the rights and interests of people who have a disability and their families

View copies of DAFRS newsletter filled with information, tips and important events. 

For more information on DAFRS facilitation and family leadership programs click here. 

Belinda Deenik offers coaching, training and facilitation to people, families and organizations, designed to assist them in discovering their strengths and key contributions while unearthing a path forward.

She is grounded in the principles of:

independent facilitation, full citizenship for all and community being the fertile ground for meaningful exchange.

Find about more about what she offers 

Connect with Belinda 

Follow her Blog

Families for a Secure Future

Families for a Secure Future is dedicated to serving adults with developmental disabilities and supporting them to become more engaged in directing their lives, making choices and taking up full citizenship in the community.

We are a regional, Independent Facilitation organization that is charitable and not for profit. We have over fifteen years of experience supporting indiviudals and their families.

Our vision focuses on supporting individuals within the context of their family/friends to develop a unique plan for moving forward and creating a meaningful life for themselves. This plan evolves over time, out of intentional conversations that help them to clarify their vision as well as explore what it will take to really make it happen.

Through providing support to families in local Family Groups, families benefit directly by increasing their opportunities for learning, growing and broadening their network of support. Families also increase the possibilities in their lives for collaboration and sharing resources.

Click here to find out more FSF’s offering of independent facilitation, along with their support to family groups and inspiring stories! 

Facilitation Leadership Group (FLG)  provides training, coaching, and consultation for groups and communities, based upon “New Story” thinking in which everyone has the opportunity to participate and contribute to an everyday life as part of their community. Offerings range from multiple-day facilitation training workshops to conversations and sessions with groups, families and people who believe that everyone’s contribution is vital to communities that thrive.

Click here to connect with FLG.

ARCH Disability Law Centre is a specialty legal clinic that practices exclusively in disability rights law. ARCH is dedicated to defending and advancing the equality rights, entitlements, fundamental freedoms and inclusion of persons with disabilities in Ontario. In order to carry out its mandate, ARCH provides a range of legal services directly to persons with disabilities in Ontario, including the Summary Advice and Referral Service. Through this service, ARCH provides basic legal information and summary legal advice on certain disability-related areas of law to persons with disabilities from across Ontario.

ARCH also represents persons with disabilities and disability rights organizations in precedent setting cases at various provincial and federal courts and tribunals, including the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, the Canadian Transportation Agency as well as appellate courts, including the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada.

ARCH has an extensive law reform practice, working on a variety of initiatives related to advancing the rights of persons with disabilities. ARCH provides public legal education to disability communities, and conducts community development projects to support our law reform work. ARCH is primarily funded by Legal Aid Ontario, as well as other funding sources

Click here t0 visit the ARCH Disability Law Centre website!

Stay up to date by checking out the ARCH Alert our quarterly newsletter with news and information on disability law issues and updates on ARCH work.