Inclusion Canada is a national federation of 13 provincial-territorial member organizations and over 300 local associations. Our national organizations include the Inclusion Canada Foundation, the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society (IRIS), and Inclusive Education Canada (IEC). As part of an international federation, Inclusion Canada is a member of Inclusion International.

Everyone should have the same access to opportunities to lead a regular, fulfilled life: grow up at home with your family; be included in school with friends and peers; immerse in a hobby or sport; have a career; travel; make friends; find a soulmate; have a home of your own; and contribute to your community. These are the common building blocks for life for most people in Canada, and the dreams and aspirations of people with an intellectual disability are no different.

Inclusion only happens when the lives of children and adults with an intellectual disability unfold no differently – immersed together with their peers without a disability in the same pathways and experience of life common to us all.

We know a serious challenge people with an intellectual disability often face is the stereotypes and negative perceptions in response to unique and different ways of learning and communicating.

We are changing this mindset.

We are at the forefront of a national movement of people who believe in an inclusive Canada, one in which people with an intellectual disability and their families are equally valued and fully included in every aspect of community life. We are a grassroots family-based association with representation from across Canada, working in collaboration with our federation members and other national partners and disability organizations who share our vision of a Canada where everyone belongs.

We are strengthening families by helping them create a vision for an inclusive life for their family member with an intellectual disability and then supporting them to make that dream a reality. We are transforming communities by inspiring and motivating community leadership and encouraging them to adopt inclusive practices. We are defending rights by promoting public policies and legislation that furthers legislation.

By enabling inclusive lives for people with an intellectual disability we are building a Canada where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and prosper. This benefits us all. We invite you to join us.

What Inclusion Means to Us

Think about the lives of most people who live in Canada. Life starts with family, growing up at home, being loved and wanted, going to playschool, childcare and/or kindergarten and school, having and making friends throughout the journey, having friends and family who support you and your dreams, developing a career identity, participating in community activities, being a teenager, developing a positive sense of self over time, having dreams, playing sports, possibly involved in music/dance/art, going to college/university, traveling, falling in love, getting a job, pursuing a career, perhaps owning a business, finding a soulmate, owning/renting a home of your own, having friends over for dinner, looking after your parents, growing older and continuing to contribute at every step of the way. It is assumed and expected that you will grow, relate, adapt, contribute and be included in the fullness of community life amidst your family, friends, and colleagues.

Inclusion happens when the lives of children and adults with an intellectual disability unfold no differently; immersed together with their peers without a disability in the same pathways and experience of life common to us all.

Inclusion Canada leads the way in building an inclusive Canada for people with an intellectual disability and their families by strengthening families, defending rights, and transforming communities into places where everyone belongs.

Vision and Mission

Our Vision: An inclusive Canada in which people with an intellectual disability and their families are valued equally and participate fully in all aspects of society.
Our Mission: Inclusion Canada is a national federation of people with an intellectual disability, their families, allies, and organizations working to advance the full inclusion and human rights of people with an intellectual disability. Inclusion Canada leads the way in building an inclusive Canada by strengthening families, defending rights, and transforming communities into places where everyone belongs.

Values and Beliefs

Our core values and beliefs inspire and guide our work.

 Inclusion 

 Equality

 Diversity

 Moral Courage

We believe:

  • The lives of people with an intellectual disability should unfold no differently than those without disabilities; immersed together with their peers without a disability in the same pathways and experience of life common to us all.
  • All people are entitled to equal access and opportunity. Equality demands protection from all forms of discrimination or harm, and access to the supports necessary to enable equal participation.
  • In the fundamental value and dignity of all people, and honour and respect diverse identities and experiences. Our humanity and uniqueness cannot be reduced to words, labels, categories, definitions, or genetic patterns.
  • In speaking up and taking action on our values and beliefs, even when it is difficult.
What is an intellectual disability?
The terms intellectual disability and developmental disability are sometimes used interchangeably in Canada. At Inclusion Canada we use the term intellectual disability, in alignment with our international federation. This is meant to be inclusive of both terms, and includes people who face challenges in learning and communication, and people with Autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or other neurodevelopmental conditions. An intellectual disability is something someone can be born with or it can be acquired later in life .
  • About 755,000 Canadians have an intellectual disability, and millions more are family members.
  • 70% of people with an intellectual disability live below the poverty line.
  • 75% of working aged adults with an intellectual disability are unemployed.
  • 60% of children with an intellectual disability do not receive quality education in their neighborhood schools.
  • Young adults with an intellectual disability are five times more likely than those without disabilities to have no formal education certificate.
  • People with an intellectual disability are four times more likely to be victims or violence or abuse.
  • Inclusion Canada is the only national organization that works solely on behalf of people with an intellectual disability and their families.

Over 755,000 Canadians live with an intellectual disability, and millions more are family members, friends, and advocates. With the potential for inclusion more visible on the horizon than ever before, individuals, families and community leaders are trail blazing. We are beginning to see new pathways to quality inclusive education, employment, participation and belonging in communities across Canada.

Yet even now, isolation, exclusion, poverty and victimization remain the norm for far too many, indeed for the majority of people with an intellectual disability. Human rights violations and systemic discrimination against people with an intellectual disability persist in Canada and around the world – despite Canada and over 150 other State Parties having ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

In fact, in a number of areas there is concern that advances in education, deinstitutionalization, and community supports are now threatened and slippage is evident. With a growing sense among families and our member associations across Canada that possibilities for an inclusive life in community are increasingly at risk, Inclusion Canada is leading the way in confronting the threat to build a fully inclusive and accessible Canada.