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Uncovering the People’s History Project

Sharing our stories, building our knowledge, changing the future


The Uncovering the People’s History Project sees Family Alliance Ontario partnering with Family Networks from across the province, in order to gather stories from survivors who have experienced life in an institution, along with their family members, friends and local communities. Family networks will co-host community gatherings to support people in sharing their experience(s) to help shape the general public’s awareness around this poignant part of Ontario’s contemporary history. The collective learning and artifacts arising from this project will culminate in the creation of an exhibit that can continue to educate Ontario’s citizens and families about the inherent dangers resulting from an institutional model of care.

This project is made possible by remaining funds from the class action suit brought forward by former residents of the Huronia, Rideau and Southwest Regional Centres. It is intended to benefit individuals with a developmental disability and their families.

Vision & Core Values

To deepen the understanding of the impact of the institutional model of care on people and their families, along with the broader community. Three core values guide the project. These include:
  • Community-based capacity building
  • Accessibility
  • Inclusion
In recognition of these core values, everyone involved in the project will strive to value:
  • All people and their experiences
  • The gifts that people share and the learning that arises from those gifts
  • Everyone’s right to be an equal citizen of their chosen community
  • The right of all people to own their story

Guiding Principles

A number of principles guide the project. The vision, values, and principles were developed by the steering and advisory committees who provide ongoing support and direction. These include:
  • Survivors are at the core of our work
  • We honor and make every effort to include those individuals with varying communication skills.
  • All means are used to ensure that everyone will be able to participate.
  • We are conscious of the impact of this work.Therefore, all processes associated with the project will be designed in such a way as to mitigate, as much as possible, any harmful effects on anyone involved.
  • We work in partnership withFamily Networks, to support them in holding the lead role in building capacity in their communities.
  • We remain committed to fostering reciprocal relationships.
  • We welcome everyone, without exception.
  • We are sensitive to all survivors at all stages of the project.
  • We are flexible in our work, responsive to various learning abilities.

Behind The Scenes

Family Alliance Ontario Board Members

In January 2017, Family Alliance Ontario, applied for remaining class action funds as they saw the 'Uncovering the People’s History Project' as an opportunity to share the lived experience of survivors of institutionalized care, along with their families. Their application was successful and The Board of Directors of Family Alliance Ontario engaged in the overall role of governance for the project by creating a Steering Committee who oversee the implementation of the various phases of the project.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee holds the primary responsibility for overseeing key phases of the project and ensuring that its objectives are achieved. Members include Bill Hiltz, Joyce Balaz and Betty Daley.

Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee plays a pivotal role in offering guidance, feedback and insight into the various stages of the project and the thinking behind the work. Members include Kory Earle, Nadine La France, Melanie Panitch, Eric Gall and Victoria Freeman.

Family Networks

Throughout the course of the project, family networks across the province will lend their support by hosting gatherings, sharing the message with the broader community, identifying community resources and artisans, asking people and family members if they wish to share their experience and finding unique ways to share the key learning with their local community and the province on whole. The first gathering was hosted by Family Network Thames Valley, who graciously volunteered to be pioneers in this experience.

Project Coordinator

Vici Clarke

Our Project Coordinator comes with strong experience in project management on national, provincial and local levels. This project is near and dear to her heart, given her personal relationship with her brother, Rob, and her passion for the work in general.

Vici is involved in the overall coordination of the project between all involved committees. She also ensures the ongoing successful implementation of the project at all phases. She can be reached at:

Interested in participating in the Uncovering the People's History Project?

Calling all affiliated family networks who have an interest in hosting a gathering, artists from across the province and people who wish to share their experience(s) .
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