Independent Living Philosophy

What is the Independent Living Philosophy?

Founded in 1986, Independent Living Canada (IL Canada) is the national umbrella organization, representing and coordinating a network of Independent Living Centres.

IL Canada’s aim has been about empowering the individual to self-identify positive changes. IL Centres are designed to facilitate greater independence through the active and meaningful involvement of persons living with any form of disability in all aspects of their lives.

Independent Living Canada (IL Canada) commits to promoting and building awareness of its mission by undertaking the following activities:

  • Policy articulation and development
  • Guidance and support to IL Centres in operations, programs and services delivery
  • Resources, training development and providing networking opportunities
  • Liaison and education with the government, general public, community agencies, media, nonprofit and private sector

The Board of Directors for IL Canada is comprised of a majority of people who themselves live with a disability and include Members at Large as well as a representative from each Province where an Independent Living Centre is located.

Independent Living Canada supports the development of Independent Living Centres, and provides education and leadership for its member organizations, partners and communities.

1. Be Consumer-controlled
More than 51% of people directly involved in the organization’s management and decision-making are people with disabilities.

2. Serve cross disability
Offer programs and services to all persons, regardless of the type and number of their disabilities.

3. Be community-based and not-for-profit
More People with disabilities can identify issues in their own communities which affect their lives.

4. Promote full participation & integration
Supporting people with disabilities and encouraging individuals to participate in all aspects of economic, cultural and social life in Canada.

Core Programs

BDB promotes  “A New Perspective on Disability” and the Independent Living Philosophy by supporting four core program areas:

Communicating, negotiating, problem solving and personal management are all important aspects of daily life. The independent living skills development assists individuals to advocate on their own behalf, supports their choices, respects their decisions, and affords individuals opportunities to take risks. The program also provides learning opportunities for dealing with barriers and discrimination so that persons with disabilities can know their rights and responsibilities, and can access services and training opportunities to live and participate in society.​

​Peer support is designed to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to share their knowledge and lived experiences. Peer Support also affords individuals the opportunity to reduce isolation, to develop leadership skills, and gives assistance to individuals in exercising their rights and responsibilities. Peer support can be offered individually or in a group, and can be provided on an ongoing and/or in a crisis-situation in an environment of mutual respect and trust.

The Participatory Action Research model most used in IL Centres recognizes that people with disabilities have expertise in determining what works and what does not. By working together with individuals, community organizations, governments, schools, universities and businesses, gaps in service can be determined and new options and solutions can be created. Research and Community Development activities can include, but are not limited to: conducting research and demonstration projects; disability awareness training and facility/web accessibility audits; and crime prevention and abuse initiatives.​

Information is the key to having choices, making decisions, and learning to take risks. The Information and Networking core theme promotes the Independent Living philosophy to consumers, their families, friends and support networks, community and governments by providing clear, accurate and up to date information that meets individual needs.



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