Who We Are

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

The Board of Directors for IL Canada are 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 (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 aim of Independent Living 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.

Our Vision

Independent Living Canada envisions an inclusive and accessible society where people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully.

Our Mission

Independent Living Canada is a national non-profit association of Independent Living Centres run by and for people with disabilities who promote the Independent Living Philosophy.

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

Our four guiding principles :

  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
    People with disabilities can identify issues in their own communities which affect their lives.
  4. Promote full participation and integration
    Supporting people with disabilities and encouraging individuals to participate in all aspects of economic, cultural and social life in Canada.

Our history

30th anniversary of the Independent Living Canada movement

Successfully secured and implemented government contracts to educate persons with disabilities and their family members on the Registered Disability Savings Plan Program across Canada

Publishing of Impact – Changing the Way We View Disability by John Lord, a book about the evolution and impact of the Canadian Independent Living Movement

2008 to 2010
Conducted ground-breaking participatory action research on healthy eating and persons with disabilities

Official name change to Independent Living Canada

2007 to 2010
Implemented Making a ConnectionA National Literacy, Disability & Quality of Life: Participatory Action Research Initiative

Implemented new three year financial literacy initiative to educate persons with disabilities and family members on the Government of Canada’s Registered Educational Savings Program across Canada

2005 to 2008
Conducted pioneering participatory action research in the area of Substance Use/Misuse and Persons with Disabilities – the Access to Recovery Project

Conference organized by the National Crime Prevention and Independent Living Canada on crime prevention and people with disabilities

Published Crime Prevention Curriculum Guide: Working Effectively with Persons with Disabilities

Production and airing of Double Jeopardy, a powerful documentary on personal stories of women with disabilities who are survivors of family violence.

1993 to 1996
Major pioneering project to study the issues of family violence and abuse as it pertains to people with disabilities.

Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres (CAILC) is formally created.

Opening of the first Independent Living Centre in Canada, based in Waterloo, following the release of the Obstacles Report which included recommendations for a special funding initiative to support the development of Independent Living Centres.