From September 2019 to March 2021, Inclusion Canada and IRIS worked on a project to support people with intellectual, cognitive, psychosocial, and mental health disabilities to have greater choice, power, and control in their lives. The project worked with self-advocates, families, government officials, indigenous community members, and many others to identify barriers to legal capacity within our current system. Then together, we developed practical tools that can be used by individuals and communities to support personal choice and decision-making. Through a series of four blogs, we are introducing you to these practical tools and how you can get involved. This is our second blog in the series.

Our second tool is based on our research and experience helping communities plan and provide decision-making supports for people with disabilities. We recognized that the most successful communities have eight best practices in common. We call these best practices ‘core functions’. These ‘core functions’ aren’t specific steps or a strict process. Instead, they are activities that share a common purpose.

The Framework for Design and Implementation – Community-led initiatives for Supporting the Right to Decide tool explains the eight core functions in detail:

  1. Change community norms
  2. Explore a person’s current situation and interests
  3. Identify needed supports and accommodations
  4. Arrange needed supports for decision-making
  5. Support real life opportunities to make decisions
  6. Arrange accommodations as needed
  7. Legally challenge obstacles as needed
  8. Safeguard a person’s autonomy

The framework also explains how people and systems work together to achieve these core functions. People with disabilities, their supporters, community agencies, and services all have a role to play.

The tool offers examples of steps that can be taken at the individual, interpersonal, and community-levels for each of the eight core functions.

You can explore this tool yourself or use it to start a conversation in your community. To learn more about how to bring together community organizations and advocates to get the process started, reach out to IRIS at or to Inclusion Canada at .

In the coming months we will showcase our other new legal capacity tools.  In the meantime, you can access the other tools at Legal Capacity – Inclusion Canada .