Hosted by Inclusion Canada & People First of Canada

in collaboration with Office for Disability Issues, Employment and Social Development Canada

November 30 & December 1, 2021 – via Zoom Webinar

The COVID-19 pandemic shed light on the dangers of congregate care and institutional living in Canada. People with an intellectual disability have been put at risk. They have been isolated and cut-off from social supports. For years, people with disabilities have been telling us that life in community is safer, more inclusive, and what they want for themselves. Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities affirms their right to live independently and be included in the community.

The purpose of this policy forum is to explore the realities of institutionalization and congregate care in Canada, the pathways to community living, and how innovative federal policies and programs can support this shift.

Format: The forum will include a series of panels and interactive Question & Answer periods. Panels include perspectives of lived experience from people with an intellectual disability and families, as well as research and policy expertise from both government and community.

Register Here

Accessibility Summary

Agenda (All times in Eastern Time):

November 30, 2021

11:50am Zoom Webinar Line Opens 

12:00pm Housekeeping – Technology & Virtual Accommodations 

12:10pm Land Acknowledgement & Opening Remarks 

  • Robin Acton, President, Inclusion Canada
  • Dewlyn Lobo, President, People First of Canada

12:20pm Minister’s Remarks

  • Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion 

12:35pm Keynote Invisible Institutions: Counting the COVID-19 crisis

  • Megan Linton, Researcher

1:00pm Session 1:  Bringing COVID Learnings Home 

  • Shane Haddad, Self-Advocate 
  • Janet Forbes, Joint Task Force on Deinstitutionalization Member
  • Doug Cartan, Co-Founder, Seniors for Social Action Ontario

1:45pm Break

2:15pm Session 2: Congregate Care & the Courts: Potential impact of the Nova Scotia court decision 

  • Leta Jarvis, Self-Advocate 
  • Barb Horner, Parent-Advocate, Founding member of the Disability Rights Coalition
  • Claire McNeil, Staff Lawyer, Dalhousie Legal Aid Service  
  • Joëlle Pastora Sala, Attorney, Public Interest Law Centre

3:45pm Day 1 Wrap-Up  

December 1, 2021

11:50am Zoom Webinar Line Opens 

12:00pm Housekeeping – Technology & Virtual Accommodations

12:10pm Land Acknowledgement & Opening Remarks 

  • Donna Brown, 1st Vice-President, People First of Canada 
  • Moira Wilson, Vice-President, Inclusion Canada 

12:20pm Keynote: Invisible Institutions: Trends and troubles in today’s institutions

  • Megan Linton, Researcher 

12:45pm Session 3:  My Home, My Community – The Right Way

  • Emily Branje, Former Project Manager & Curriculum Developer, Truths of Institutionalization
    Nicole Canzonei, Youth Advisor, Truths of Institutionalization, Community Living Ontario
  • Norm McLeod & Gordon Fletcher, Chairs of the Joint Task Force on Deinstitutionalization
  • Jeff Ferguson, Director of Policy & Program Operations, Inclusion Canada 
  • Susan Borkowsky, Parent-Advocate

2:15pm Break 

2:45pm Session 4:  From Dreams to Reality: Policy Solutions for the Future

  • Jo-Anne Gauthier, Self-Advocate 
  • Thomas McManus, Principal Associate, Blueprint
  • Sylviane Fortin, Director, Programs, Office of Disability Issues
  • Bruce Uditsky,  Chief Executive Officer Emeritus, Inclusion Alberta, Parent-Advocate

4:15pm Summary and Closing

  • Krista Wilcox, Director General, Office for Disability Issues, Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Shelley Fletcher, Executive Director, People First of Canada
  • Krista Carr, Executive Vice-President, Inclusion Canada 

Additional Information: All times are in Eastern Time. Participants are welcome to join for all panels or some panels and can use the registration link they receive to come and go from the forum at their convenience.

The forum will be held in English. French simultaneous interpretation will be provided. English and French virtual CART services, ASL and LSQ will be available.

If you require accessibility accommodations, please fill out this form by Friday, November 26th to help us ensure an accessible event for you:

For question about this event, please contact: