• Essential Accessibility
  • Facebook
  • Rainbow
  • Text Resize

Author Archive

Community Living St. Marys & Area Challenging Businesses to Shine Purple and Blue Light on Disability Inclusion!

Posted on: September 7th, 2021 by Community Living St. Marys

St. Marys, ON, September 6, 2021 — Community Living St. Marys & Area is throwing down a friendly gauntlet and challenging the Town of St. Marys, the City of Stratford and all businesses in both these municipalities to light up their buildings purple and blue for one historic night in October during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).


“We want all our local businesses, and the Town of St. Marys and the City of Stratford, to be part of the first-ever national Light It Up! For NDEAMTM, says Kelly Boudreau, Employment Facilitator, Community Living St. Marys.


“By participating, they’ll be recognizing all the ways people with disabilities who live in our region contribute to our local businesses and industries, and to our community as a whole.”


Light It Up! For NDEAM is a one-night-only, coordinated special lighting event happening across Canada on Thursday, October 21.


The event was started last year by the Ontario Disability Employment  Network (ODEN), of which Community Living St. Marys is a member. The first Light It Up! For NDEAM was Ontario wide.


This year, it’s going national through collaboration between ODEN, The Canadian Association for Supported Employment, MentorAbility Canada and many community-based agencies across the country like Community Living St. Marys.


Light It Up! For NDEAM recognizes NDEAM, how people with disabilities help companies be successful, and the business and economic importance of the disability talent pool and disability-inclusive hiring.


City and town halls, office buildings, bridges, famous landmarks, federal government buildings and interactive municipal signs across the nation are being specially lit purple and blue. Structures scheduled to be lit include The Supreme Court of Canada, the CN Tower and the Calgary Tower; city halls in Halifax, Kingston, ON, and Red Deer and Lethbridge AB; and interactive municipal signs in Timmins, Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa.


Here in Southwestern Ontario, the City of Sarnia will be lighting City Hall; and the City of London is lighting City Hall, The Fountain at the Forks and the J.A. Taylor Building. The Canada Life building in London, and RBC London Place, are also participating in Light It Up! For NDEAM.


Boudreau is leading the local drive to get businesses in the Stratford and St. Marys areas participating in Light It Up! For NDEAM.


Light It Up! For NDEAM is a historic first that we’re excited to be involved by promoting it to our local employers and municipalities,” says Boudreau. “There’s never been anything like this, and on this scale, for National Disability Employment Awareness Month. It’s a great way for our local businesses to be part of a national event and show their local commitment to disability inclusion.”


Community Living St. Marys & Area will be lighting up their building.  Boudreau has contacted the local St. Marys BIA and the Rotary Club to “shed a bit more light” on inclusive hiring and will be presenting to both these groups and offering her assistance in any way she can with hiring local talent.  Kelly also would like to put out a challenge to residential homes to join in and shine a blue & purple light in your yard or window.


Says Marg McLean, Executive Director of Community Living St. Marys & Area, “Access to employment is still a barrier for people with disabilities, including people in both the St. Marys and Stratford areas. Light It Up! For NDEAM helps us at Community Living St. Marys & Area keep the conversation about disability and employment going with local businesses.”


This is important, McLean says, because there are many small businesses in St. Marys and Stratford. A 2017 study by the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work found that 73% of small businesses have never hired people with disabilities because they don’t know how to access this largely “hidden” talent pool.


Both Boudreau and McLean believe Light it Up! For NDEAM will do a lot to raise awareness about disability inclusion in local businesses.


“It’s literally going to shine light on disability-inclusive hiring and the benefits of it,” says Boudreau. “If half the businesses in St. Marys and Stratford participate in Light It Up! For NDEAM, that will be fantastic.


“But to me, as an Employment Facilitator, what will be even more significant is the ‘buzz’ generated that will keep conversation going. That can lead to more employment opportunities for people with disabilities here in our community.”


“This is the most important thing,” adds McLean, “because The United Nations has said that access to employment is a basic human right for everyone.”


Boudreau notes that ODEN has created “a great” Light It Up! For NDEAM web page where local businesses can find out more details about the event and where it’s happening, and submit their business or workplace as a participating location. There’s also a Light It Up! For NDEAM PR Kit local businesses can use to promote the event with their employees, and to other businesses.


For more information and interview requests, contact:


Kelly Boudreau, Employment Facilitator, Community Living St. Marys

kboudreau@clstmarys.ca    519-284-1400, ext. 246


Marg McLean, Executive Director, Community Living St. Marys

mmclean@clstmarys.ca     519-284-1400, ext. 225



Light It Up! For NDEAMTM is a trademark of The Ontario Disability Employment Network.

CLO – MCCSS Launches New Long-Term Vision for Developmental Services in Ontario

Posted on: May 21st, 2021 by Community Living St. Marys


Community Living Ontario
Sponsored by CSBT

Feature Story
MCCSS Launches New Long-term Vision for Developmental Services in Ontario

On May 18th, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services launched Journey to Belonging: Choice and Inclusion, in traditional and easy read formats. The document sets out a ten-year timeline for the reform of developmental services in the Ontario.

Journey to Belonging sets out a vision where “People with developmental disabilities are supported by their communities, support networks and government to belong and live inclusive lives,” and where “People are empowered to make choices and live as independently as possible through supports that are person-directed, equitable and sustainable.” The document notes that MCCSS has been influenced by other countries that are “making services more individualized and providing greater choice and flexibility for people and their families.”

Community Living Ontario welcomes the ministry’s person-centred approach, and its focus on supporting people to live good lives.

To assist with the creation of a detailed reform strategy, Community Living Ontario is releasing Building a Full Life + a Home of One’s Own in the Community. This new document offers in-depth research and recommendations on individualized funding, housing and community inclusion that complement the vision set out in the new MCCSS reform plan. You can read more about this comprehensive document in the next section.

Advocacy Updates

Community Living Ontario Releases New Report, Building a Full Life + a Home of One’s Own in the Community

Building a Full Life + a Home of One’s Own in the Community is a new report from Community Living Ontario that offers recommendations on individualized funding, housing, and community inclusion for people who have an intellectual disability. The report provides detailed guidance and insights, and will hopefully serve as a platform for meaningful discussion as the province moves forward with developmental service reform.

Building a Full Life takes lessons from across Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and Australia to identify leading practices that increase choice, control and quality of life for people who have an intellectual disability. It offers detailed guidance to policy makers and advocates working to move our sector to the next phase in its evolution. Its central purpose is to show that change is possible – that Ontario can seize the opportunity to position itself as a leader in person-centred and rights-based support in developmental services.

Building a Full Life is meant to be a living and evolving document – if you would like to make comments or suggestions, please contact shawn@communitylivingontario.ca.


CSBT offers a full range of affordable Group Benefits. Find out more by visiting our website today!

NEW SERIES: Innovations in Housing
In this new section of Update Friday, “Innovations in Housing”, we will be featuring the latest groundbreaking housing solutions for people who have developmental disabilities.

Bridges to Housing Brings the ‘Housing First’ Model to People Who Have Developmental Disabilities

Bridges to Housing was first proposed as one of 18 demonstration projects under the Developmental Services Housing Task Force. The initiative focused on hard-to-reach, street-involved people with significant complex, co-morbid health, substance use and mental health issues.

A recent report on the project shows promising results: over the course of 12 months, 24 people with developmental disabilities and complex needs were successfully housed. Quality of life improved significantly, and people’s unmet service needs were greatly reduced.

While little information exists on this issue, it is generally believed that people who have developmental disabilities make up a significant portion of the street-involved population in Ontario. Bridges to Housing demonstrates the applicability of the Housing First model (where housing is provided immediately and without preconditions, along with wraparound supports), and offers a promising template on which to build.

Supporting Aging-in-Place

Sal Amenta has been an active member of the Community Living movement for many decades at all three levels of the confederation. Sal laments the rise in admission to long-term care facilities of people who have a developmental disability, and calls on associations and allies to remember our roots and the need to be vigilant regarding the safety and security of people who have disabilities. Sal asks the simple yet profound question, “why are people who have developmental disabilities being placed in nursing homes?”

You can find all previous stories from our “Supporting Aging-in-Place” series archived here.

Why are Persons with Disabilities Being Placed in Long-term Facilities?

As an active member in the Community Living movement for decades, I have served on local, provincial and national boards. In these roles, I championed families in an association that sometimes forgot that families gave birth to the movement while almost exclusively focusing on the needs of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Over the years, however, as my parents aged and passed away after long illnesses, my commitment extended to the family caregivers themselves – those who give so much of themselves to caring for loved ones of all ages, with or without intellectual disabilities.

Was this email forwarded to you? Click here to subscribe/
CL Toronto ad

The Canadian Association for Supported Employment (CASE) HR Inclusive Policy Toolkit

While the business case for hiring Canadians who experience a disability has been repeatedly demonstrated, some employers remain unsure how to best integrate this highly skilled group of individuals into their labour force.

The CASE toolkit has been designed in collaboration with the supported employment service provider community to assist small- and medium-sized Employers (SMEs) on becoming familiar with the framework of inclusion policies and procedures.


Policy Forum Session 3: From Substitute to Supported Decision-Making: Amplifying Voice and Choice among People who have Intellectual Disabilities

Join us on Tuesday, May 25 at 1:00 p.m. EDT for Session 3 of our Policy Forum!

In this session, panelists will discuss the drawbacks and dangers of guardianship, and of Ontario’s substitute decision-making legislation. Attendees will learn about concrete examples that have negative effects on people’s ability to access needed supports. This panel will spotlight two guests who will talk about recent progress toward supported decision-making in the United States.

CoP Session 7: “Minding the Message”

Community Living Ontario, in collaboration with the Provincial Executive Director’s Coordinating Committee, and People Minded Business, invites you to participate in our next Community of Practice session.

Join us on Friday, May 28 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

‘Minding the Message’ is the focus of May’s C.o.P and you don’t want to miss it! We will share some of the common messages that are surfacing about ‘what matters most to people supported and families about day supports.’ You will take part in engaging breakout discussions with colleagues and other stakeholders from across the province, on ways in which service providers can honour the wants and needs of people and families through the evolution of day supports. We look forward to seeing you on May 28th!

Economical Insurance is a proud Strategic Partner of Community Living Ontario.

People Minded Business is a proud strategic partner of Community Living Ontario.

For Members

Understanding Perceptions and Experience of the COVID-19 Vaccines

Direct support professionals are being invited to complete a brief survey to help researchers better understand your perspectives and experience with COVID-19 vaccines. You may have completed a survey in January similar to this one. The researchers are looking to understand what has or has not changed over time, so they are asking all members to complete this brief survey once again.

This survey should take no more than 10 minutes of your time. All those who complete the survey have the option to enter a draw for one of 5 gift cards for $150.

Click below to access the consent information and the brief survey

Group of youth

This guide is designed as a manual for people who are considering engaging private Support Workers, or who have already done so, to help them to meet their obligations, avoid conflict and resolve issues as they arise. Support Workers can provide vital supports that enhance opportunities for inclusion, provide relief to caregivers and improve well-being for people with disabilities and their families.This guide begins by providing a brief background on the law that governs the relationship between families/people supported and their Support Workers. It then explore some of the key questions that people with disabilities and their families ask about working with a private Support Worker.

Sponsorship Disclaimer

Community Living Ontario maintains independence over the editorial content of its communications. While sponsorships assist with our communication efforts, sponsors have no editorial input or influence on the information itself. Click here to read the Sponsorship Disclaimer in its entirety.

17th Create A Smile 5km Walk/Run – Virtual for 2020

Posted on: October 13th, 2020 by Community Living St. Marys

Welcome everyone!

Create A Smile Foundation in partnership with Community Living St. Marys & Area has been creating smiles since 2004!

This fundraiser is fueled by the amazing generosity of volunteers.  All of the money raised at this event goes to Community Living to support their mission of improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities in St. Marys and Area.

Not only has this event generated significant financial resources, it has also reminded us of the power of healthy communities.

In 2020, families have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. This year funds raised will be used to support families with school age children not able to attend school on a full time basis and needing additional support for activities and respite.

We are excited about our 17th Annual Create A Smile 5km Walk/Run – Virtual for 2020

Between now and November 1 – make the decision to participate – grab a mask – walk your 5km and make a difference!

Take a picture and email it to lcannon@clstmarys.ca and be part of our Facebook Memory Create a Smile page. The more smiles we can capture the better!

For those who wish to donate online or create a team through Canada Helps Peer to Peer, please visit our website and click on the ‘Create A Smile’ logo or click on the following link 17th Annual Create A Smile Walkathon

For those who would still like to use a pledge sheet, you can pick one up at the JPC or print the pledge sheet attachment (see below).

2020 has been an exceptional year! We hope you will join our ‘virtual’ walk/run in the month of October and help us support families in our area!

Inspiring video   https://vimeo.com/377585189/4769d0d905 –  Click on this link to understand the heart of the Create A Smile Walkathon!

If you would like to use a pledge sheet, please click on the link  Create A Smile 2020 Pledge Sheet 

Tradition Mutual Insurance Company kicked off our annual fundraiser with a very generous donation of $1000.00.

COVID-19: Keeping up to date

Posted on: March 20th, 2020 by Community Living St. Marys

DS Sector Thanks

As we continue to navigate through the daily updates and changes around COVID-19, we will do our best to communicate with current employees, people we support, and families via email and our facebook page. Please continue to check there for most up to date information.
Thank you.

Sexuality, Safety & You!

Posted on: February 21st, 2020 by Community Living St. Marys

A One Day workshop on Apr 28, 2020 for adults with a developmental disability and a support person (if desired).
Supportive person can be family, friend, or paid worker.