Think about the last time you visited the bank. Did the banker let you withdraw the money you wanted? 

What about your last visit to the doctor’s office? Did the doctor listen to what you had to say? Did they talk to you directly?  Did they give you choices and respect your decisions?  

Would it be hurtful and upsetting if people ignored you, or assumed you couldn’t make decisions about your life?  If you’re a person with a disability, or have a family member with a disability, these feelings are probably very familiar.  

Last year we told you about a project that we’ve been working on with communities in Manitoba, Ontario, and Newfoundland. The goal was to help financial institutions, healthcare providers, and community service organizations understand how making small changes will give people with disabilities more power and control over their lives.  

From September 2019 to March 2021, we worked with communities to understand why people with disabilities have their right to make decisions denied, and what we can do to help change this.  

Through this process we designed and tested tools focused on how to build capacity to enable people with disabilities to have their right to decide recognized, including having support to make decisions. Now those tools are almost ready to share!  

Over the next few months, we’ll be telling you the tools and how they can be used by self-advocates, families, organizations, and communities. We need all these people involved if we want to make a real impact.     

We want to share this information with you because: 

  • We want you to know that you are not alone. People with disabilities and their families across the country deal with these issues everyday. Projects like this one help bring these people together to have their voices heard.  
  • Knowledge is power. The issue of legal capacity can be overwhelming and sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. By sharing these tools, we hope to give you a place to start. Some of the tools will help with your own learnings. Other tools can be shared with professionals or used to help your community work together on these issues.  
  • Small changes can make a big difference. Changing laws and policies takes a lot of work and time. It’s worth it, but what do we do in the meantime? Many families know that it’s the little things – like building relationships and finding creative ways of doing things – that help people with disabilities control their own lives, even when restrictive laws and policies get in the way.     

Although the funding for this project is ending, we know there’s still lots of work to do. We want to see a Canada where people with an intellectual disability are legally recognized as full and equal citizens. Please watch for our updated web page coming soon, where you can learn more about the work we’re doing and find out how you can get involved.