CILT Statement of Support and Solidarity with Muslim Communities

We at CILT are deeply saddened and shocked at the heinous murder of four members of a Muslim family and the serious injury caused to a child, on June 6th in London, Ontario. We extend our deepest condolences to the victim’s loved ones and to Muslim communities all over Canada who are grieving this traumatic event. Such violent acts of hate have no place in our pluralistic society, and we join many of the speakers at the June 7th vigil in denouncing it.

CILT also stands in solidarity with Muslim leaders calling on our political parties and government institutions to take meaningful action now to combat Islamophobia in its many forms. This includes meaningful legislation, policy making and dialogue with Muslim communities.

We also believe that at this time of increasing racial and religious intolerance in Canada, our workplaces must provide safe inclusive spaces where Muslim workers can contribute their talents free from Islamophobia. We encourage our many partners to make available practical supports to their staff, volunteers and service communities who identify as Muslim, during this difficult time.

The Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT)


City of Toronto Pool Open for People with Disabilities and Health Conditions

The City of Toronto has opened the Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre swimming pool to meet the needs of persons with disabilities, health and medical conditions, who might benefit from aquatic activity. Details are as follows:

Where: Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre at 5100 Yonge Street (entrance via the back on Beecroft, beside the North York Central Library)

When: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00am – 12:00pm

Register: Individuals or groups can call 416-395-7585. You can also contact the Community Recreation Programmer, Dara Minty, whose email is dara.minty@toronto.ca

The pool is fully accessible, with accessible changerooms and bathrooms and ramped entry into the shallow end of the pool.

Participants must bring a note from a “qualified regulated health professional” noting that this activity would be beneficial. The province defines qualified regulated health professional as “physicians, nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, chiropodists/podiatrists, chiropractors and kinesiologists.” The note must be shown, but it is not kept by the facility or the City, respecting privacy concerns.


Remembering Ian Parker

Close up photo of Ian

 

Posted on behalf of Leisa DeBono, Manager of Direct Funding Program

Ian Parker was a mainstay and staff member at CILT for over 25 years, so we are still coming to terms with the tremendous loss after he passed away on April 15, 2021.

But amid that sadness, we were so gratified to learn that Ian recently received the David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility.  (More on that below.)

As one of the longest serving members of staff, Ian was a staple at CILT.  You get to know a few people when you spend more than a quarter of a century working at one place!  Aside from being a well-spoken, kind and intelligent person known in a wide variety of circles, Ian was truly a pleasure to work with.  He was gentle and generous – you could always count on Ian to help out any staff member who needed an ear or some assistance in problem-solving.  He was incredibly smart and analytical, yet down-to-earth, an academic but very practical, and his actions were always grounded in compassion and regard for those around him.  At his core, Ian believed in and embodied the Independent Living philosophy.  It is that foundation that led him to be one of the key creators of the Self-Managed Attendant Services; Direct Funding Program that has been run through CILT since 1994.

The Direct Funding Pilot Project was a revolutionary change from the way traditional attendant services  were received.  It switched responsibility from an agency to the individual with the disability who would receive funding, become an employer, then recruit, train and pay their own attendant staff. Talk about turning the system on its head!

Getting a project like Direct Funding off the ground was not fast or easy.  Starting in 1989, Ian worked with other individuals with disabilities who used attendant services, along with government representatives, to develop policy and legislation that would pave the way for the program, including an important exemption under the Regulated Health Professions Act.  A staunch advocate of the concept of self-management and author of the original policy guidelines, once funding was secured in 1994, Ian took on managing the pilot project while also being one of the first participants on the program.  He led Direct Funding through the all-important formative years including the original program evaluation in 1997 which was so overwhelmingly positive that the “Pilot Project” received ongoing “Program” status, and the ability to take on hundreds more “Self-Managers,” as program participants are called.

Ian saw the DF Program through many changes, and some challenges, but you could not find a better person to oversee the legal, social, economic or ethical issues that arose over the years.  He laid the framework for a program that has now served more than 1,800 Ontarians with disabilities and that continues to expand.  The last program expansion happened in 2020, so Ian’s legacy continues to grow and take on new participants from the sizeable list of people waiting for this opportunity.

Ian Parker and Direct Funding will forever be integrally linked, but Direct Funding is far from Ian’s only accomplishment.

Following his spinal cord injury Ian enrolled as a part-time student at the University of Toronto in a music program and quickly learned how difficult it was to get around campus as a disabled student.  Not one to accept the status quo, Ian co-founded Access U of T and had a ramp built outside the music building.  The group continued to push for accessibility changes that benefit U of T students today.  In fact, Ian recently used the same ramp he advocated for in the 1970s to see his daughter perform at the same school.  To remember his efforts at U of T, an article was recently published about Ian and can be read here: Article on Empathy and Strength by Ian Parker

Ian was also among the first people to come out of Lyndhurst, a Toronto rehabilitation centre for people with spinal cord injuries, and live in supportive housing around 1975 – but it wasn’t really supportive housing back then, it was a pilot that would later become supportive housing.  In 1983, his experiences led him to develop an evaluation instrument and protocol for Ministry review of supportive housing units. Always active in some way with government, while still earning his BA in music, Ian also worked with the Ontario government as the assistant provincial coordinator on the International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981 and conceived the “Label us Able” awareness theme.

Within the disability community it is hard to meet a person who either does not know Ian, or has not heard of him because he worked towards inclusion and accessibility for almost five decades.  It therefore feels fitting that Ian’s family recently learned that he was awarded the David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility for his work in the community:

The award recipients include leaders who champion accessibility, raise awareness about the benefits of inclusion, and foster positive change in their communities with their work helping to improve the lives and experiences of people with disabilities in Ontario…

Role Model – Ian Parker from Toronto posthumously received the award for his visionary work in establishing the Direct Funding program as an option for the delivery of personal care for Ontarians with disabilities.”

You can read more about the David C. Onley Award and Ian here:  Ontario Recognizes Champions of Accessibility

It would be difficult to find another person who so perfectly emulates leadership, inclusion and positive change in their community.  And to further honour Ian’s memory, his family have decided to donate the financial award to CILT, which will use the money to provide much-needed and costly equipment to individuals with disabilities who could not otherwise acquire it.

That Ian is no longer with us is incredibly sad for those who knew and loved him.  He has left an enormous hole that is impossible to fill, as just his presence and the knowledge we could seek out his opinion or memory on day-to-day issues seemed to make things better and easier. It is comforting to know that Ian’s contribution to so much, but especially to the Direct Funding Program, have earned him a place in the history books, as well as all our hearts.

 


CILT and Vibrant Peer Support MOVIE MATINEE

Join us virtually on Zoom to watch, “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution”

When: Wednesday, June 16th, 2021 | 2:30pm – 4:00pm

Where: Zoom (you must register to receive the link)

This movie is free to watch and is rated R. To register, please contact Lucy at lucyn@vibranthealthcare.ca or call 416-486-8666 ext. 226.

The movie will be presented with closed captioning and audio description. Please let us know about accommodations or access needs (including support with setting up Zoom) when you register.

Movie description:

In the early 1970s, teenagers with disabilities faced a future shaped by isolation, discrimination and institutionalization. Camp Jened, a ramshackle camp “for the handicapped” in the Catskills, exploded those confines. Jened was their freewheeling Utopia, a place with summertime sports, smoking and makeout sessions awaiting everyone, and campers who felt fulfilled as human beings. Their bonds endured as they migrated West to Berkeley, California – a promised land for a growing and diverse disability community – where friends from Camp Jened realized that disruption and unity might secure life-changing accessibility for millions. Co-directed by Emmy®-winning filmmaker Nicole Newnham and film mixer and former camper Jim LeBrecht, this joyous and exuberant documentary arrives the same year as the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, at a time when the country’s largest minority group still battles daily for the freedom to exist.

Please note: The film may contain material of a sensitive and controversial nature.

There will not be a discussion afterwards with Zoom auto-captioning turned on.  If you would like to see a trailer of the movie, please see through the following YouTube link: Crip Camp Trailer

This Movie Night is presented by Vibrant Healthcare Alliance and the Centre for Independent Living Toronto with generous funding support from United Way of Greater Toronto, the City of Toronto, Independent Living Canada and Ontario Community Health Centres. 


Advocacy strategies for persons with disabilities during COVID-19 | ARCH Disability

At this event, ARCH lawyers will discuss advocacy strategies for persons with disabilities during the pandemic and how they continued to include persons with disabilities in discussions that affect them. ARCH lawyers will also examine changes to their practice of law and offer reflections on how those changes will influence the future practice of law.

When: Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 from 4:00pm – 6:00pm EST

Where: Virtually

To register, please click here.

Please note that ASL interpreting and closed captioning will be made available.

Panelists
– Gabriel Reznick, Staff Lawyer, ARCH Disability Law Centre
– Rachel Weiner, Staff Lawyer, ARCH Disability Law Centre
– Jessica De Marinis, Staff Lawyer, ARCH Disability Law Centre
– Mariam Shanouda, Staff Lawyer, ARCH Disability Law Centre

Moderator:
-Dianne Wintermute, Staff Lawyer, ARCH Disability Law Centre


ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto Opening Night on May 26, 2021

ReelAbilities Film Festival Opening Night features the captivating screening of indie success, Give Me Liberty (Dir. Kirill Mikhanovsky) on May 26 at 7:00 pm. Following the screening, join us for a live virtual panel at 9 PM on Care Across Communities, which will explore the work and meaning of activism, allyship and interdependence across disability communities and beyond.

When: Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

  • 7:00pm – 9:00pm (screening)
  • 9:00pm (post-panel discussion)

Where: Virtual screening platform

To register, please click here

For more information and the film catalogue, please click here.

 


PDN Vibrant Songs Circle and Discussion for Parents with Disabilities

Join us virtually on Zoom for songs, rhymes and stories (for children newborn to 5 years old) and a chance for discussion to connect with other parents with disabilities.

When:

  • Friday June 11, 2021 at 11am
  • Friday, July 9, 2021 at 11am
  • Friday, August 13, 2021 at 11am

All times shown are EST.

Where: Virtually over Zoom

To register: Email rebecca.wood@cilt.ca or Call 416-599-2458 ext 291

If you would like to join for just the discussion/peer support portion of this program only, please feel free to join in at 11:30am.

Please let us know about any accommodation or Zoom support needs when you register for the event.  Automatic closed captions will be turned on.

Presented by: Vibrant Healthcare Alliance and the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto’s Parenting with a Disability Network with generous funding from the United Way Greater Toronto and the City of Toronto, Ontario’s Community Health Centres and Independent Living Canada.


We Exist: Queer and Trans Parenting, Disability and Mental Health

Join Birthmark’s Seed & Sprout and CILT’s Parenting with a Disability Network for a panel of queer and trans parents with disabilities sharing stories of parenting, birth, fertility and accessing services in Toronto. There will be a question and answer period after the panel presents. Let’s hear each other’s stories and build connections among parents and prospective parents with disabilities in our community.

When: Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 | 7:00pm – 8:30pm EST

Where: Zoom (you must register to receive the link)

To register, please click here or contact Rebecca at 416-599-2458 extension 291.

ASL interpretation and auto-captioning will be provided.  Please let us know about access and accommodation needs when you register. Participants can join by phone if needed.

This event is presented by Birthmark’s Seed & Sprout 2SLGBTQIA Family Program and The Centre for Independent Living in Toronto’s Parenting with a Disability Network with generous funding from United Way of Greater Toronto, The City of Toronto and Independent Living Canada. For more details, check out the flyer.


CILT and Vibrant Peer Support MOVIE NIGHT

Join us virtually on Zoom to watch, “Enola Holmes!”

When: Friday, May 29th, 2021 | 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Where: Zoom (you must register to receive the link)

This movie is free to watch and is rated PG-13. To register, please contact Lucy at lucyn@vibranthealthcare.ca or call 416-486-8666 ext. 226.

The movie will be presented with closed captioning and audio description. Please let us know about accommodations or access needs (including support with setting up Zoom) when you register.

Movie description: When Enola Holmes-Sherlock’s teen sister-discovers her mother missing, she sets off to find her, becoming a super-sleuth in her own right as she outwits her famous brother and unravels a dangerous conspiracy around a mysterious young Lord.

Please note: There will not be a discussion after the film but chat function will be available throughout the movie. Movie Nights operate under the Independent Living Philosophy. The films may contain material of a sensitive and controversial nature.

This Movie Night is presented by Vibrant Healthcare Alliance and the Centre for Independent Living Toronto with generous funding support from United Way of Greater Toronto, the City of Toronto, Independent Living Canada and Ontario Community Health Centres. 


Staying Safe in the Community when you have a Disability

Staying Safe in the Community when you have a Disability” offers strategies and tips for people with disabilities on safety planning. This resource was created due to a lack of tools available for folks in the disability community to keep themselves safe despite the rising incidences of violence in our communities against marginalized and vulnerable populations.