PLN LIST is an email bulletin begun in 2001 for exchanging news and views about strategies of building and maintaining personal support networks for people with disabilities, and associated issues. PLN LIST came into being at the time Planned Lifetime Networks was incorporated in the Waterloo-Wellington region of southern Ontario. Members of the List are now distributed in communities across Canada, with some in other countries too.

PLN LIST is a free service maintained by Elizabeth & Gerald Bloomfield and hosted by the University of Guelph with technical support by Peter McCaskell. We welcome items of news and comment which should be sent to They will be grouped in batches for posting from time to time. Frequency depends on the volume of material submited and the urgency of announcing meetings or recommending advocacy.

Click for our archive of past PLN bulletins

a. If you wish to join or leave PLN LIST, please send a request including your first name and last name and your email address, to with "PLN" in the subject area.

b. When you have ideas and announcements to share with others, please send a message to  with "PLN" in the subject area.

4 November 2003

Look up earlier bulletins for announcements and news that may be still current.

October 12, 2003
October 7, 2003
September 25, 2003



Rebecca's painting, Passion, displayed in Toronto art gallery

New Pan-Canadian Families United Network
Linda Viscardis of Peterborough writes: 
I am very excited about being part of this network. I believe it has great potential for bringing families together, for networking and support, and for advocacy. No doubt our efforts will enhance the lives of people who live with disabilities and their families. 

Already, this small group of representatives from each province and territory have been successful in advocating on behalf of families on Prince Edward Island whose sons and daughters were being discriminated against by the province's Disability Support Program.

Here is some background.....
In 1994, the Canadian Association for Community Living convened a General Assembly of families in Toronto, Ontario. They tried to form a national network at that time, but it did not happen. 

In 1995, representatives from the four Atlantic provinces met on Prince Edward Island and discussed the potential of family networking on the east coast. An alliance was formed among the family members from the Atlantic provinces who also participated in the General Assembly. 

Then in June 2003, a pan-Canadian Family Share Weekend brought families together on PEI to further develop this foundation for a National Family Network. As a result, a cross-disability Families United Network was born.

In October 2003, the Families United Network met in Vancouver, British Columbia to revive and revise the National Accord produced by the General Assembly in 1994.

What's happening now?
I am trying to build an e-mail network of like-minded family members in the province of Ontario, especially families who might not otherwise be connected to a family support network. This network will become connected to other similar networks across the country through the Families United Network. 

Please pass this information along to families. Attached are two documents: 1. The Network's beliefs, vision, purpose and goals; and 2. a chronology of successful advocacy on the PEI DSP issue (a tangible example of the potential of this Network).

Please contact me via e-mail with any questions, concerns or feedback.
Linda Viscardis, Peterborough ON,



Municipal elections
We urge everyone concerned for the well-being of children and adults with special needs to think about and speak up on relevant issues in these weeks before voting for members of municipal councils and school boards. This is an opportunity to raise awareness and express concerns!

Vote for Better Options!
Family Alliance Ontario is asking the new Ontario government to freeze a project set up by the previous government. This project was designed to fund group homes only, and to fund people to live in group homes only. It discriminated against all people who want better options. Action must be taken before the end of October. The Ministry refused to meet with families to hear their concerns. 
So FAO is asking for the project to be frozen to allow a review with input from families. If you support this action and have a Liberal MPP in your riding, please fax, mail or deliver it to your MPP.  Please download, print, and send this letter to your Liberal MPP
If you don't know your riding name, or don't know who is your MPP, see

From SSAH Provincial Coalition to all interested families and friends:
Please note our SSAH PC website
We encourage all member organizations as well as individual members to meet with your newly elected officials in your ridings to speak about the importance of, and of our beliefs for SSAH.  Please make the following points:

  • Increasing the SSAH Budget by $25 million dollars provincially, would help to meet the current needs of families in Ontario. 
  • It is essential for families that SSAH be a program of First Choice.
  • SSAH is a vital support. It helps people and families to live meaningful lives in the community. 
  • SSAH can change and evolve to respond to all family needs. 
  • Families have much to contribute about how SSAH could evolve. 
  • Children with physical disabilities ineligible for direct funding who received SSAH should continue to qualify after 18 years old.

Energetic families in the Barrie (Simcoe County) area hope to form the UNITED FAMILY CONGRESS to work together to improve services and treatment of disabled children. Many of the families that started this group have children with ASD.  See more information

Encouraging effective inclusive education
Initiatives of the Canadian Association for Community Living 
See 4-page information summary

The Human Rights Report is now out. 
Achieving Barrier-free Education for Students  with Disabilities 
Access the report
From the Executive Summary
".... it is apparent that many students with disabilities do not have equal access to educational opportunities in Ontario, either at the primary and secondary, or at the post-secondary level. The key barriers are inadequate funding, physical inaccessibility, cumbersome and time-consuming accommodation processes, negative attitudes and stereotypes, and a lack of understanding of the rights and responsibilities of all parties under the Code and Commission policy."
"In order to assist parties to understand their roles and responsibilities, the Commission will release Guidelines on Accessible Education as a companion piece to this Report. The Guidelines will rely on key principles outlined in the Code and the Commission's Policy and Guidelines on Disability and the Duty to Accommodate and apply them to the education context. The Guidelines will discuss disability, discuss prima facie discrimination because of disability, identify the parameters of the duty to accommodate, assess undue hardship, and provide suggestions for accommodation planning in the education context."



Safe and Secure Futures Networks, 2003 - 2004
Monthly forums for mutual support and information sharing among family members of individuals who have a developmental disability--in three Toronto locations. Sponsored by Extend-A-Family and funded by a City of Toronto Community Services Grant.   Click for full details

Planned Lifetime Networks: Autumn Workshop series
Saturdays mornings, in Kitchener
Planning a Good Life Now
Nov. 8: Planning for after we’re gone
Nov.15: Planning with our disabled children (capacity assessment, powers of attorney, and supported decision-making.
Click on heading for more details or phone 519-746-1188 or email

November 15, in Vancouver
PLAN workshop, A Good Death
See full infomation

November 22, in Markham, Ontario
Families Dare to Dream
Community Living Ontario Family Day (15th annual) 
Click for the program and to register
Click for registration details

**Saturday, November 22, 2003: 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in Toronto at the Columbus Centre
Kerry's Place Autism Services workshop on "Striking the Balance – The Challenge to Balancing Rights, Risks and Responsibilities" facilitated by Bill Allerton, CEO of Accreditation Ontario and introduced presented by Orville Endicott, Barrister & Solicitor. Information and registration form

Planned Lifetime Networks (Waterloo-Wellington...) 
also holds evening meetings on the 2nd Monday each month, alternating discussion of chapters in A GOOD LIFE with business meetings. The next business meeting is on November 10. All are welcome to each meeting. Anyone needing a ride please call Verlyn 519-624-5195. For more details, phone 519-746-1188 or email

December 10-13th: 2003 TASH Conference - Possibilities..... Hilton Chicago
If you have not yet registered for the TASH Conference, we invite you to do
so today. Click for full conference details
This is a sampling of the many sessions focusing on issues in self-determination and adult supports:
*T-6 Civil Rights, Self-Determination and Decision Making vs. Guardianship
This session will discuss how to support choice and self-determination rather than
substitute or "second party" best interest decision-making and is designed for family members, attorneys, care management, agency staff, and long term advocates.

*T-7 Learning To Listen Differently: A guide to supporting people in having a life of their own choosing in the community.
Living a full life in the community - owning your own home, having a career, controlling your own resources, having relationships and a full social life - is a dream for most of us and has started to become a reality for many people with disabilities. For those who challenge their friends, families, supporters and allies to think (and take action) differently in order to support them, this is not always the case. How do we learn to listen differently? How do we act on what we learn to provide creative supports?

*T-8 Self Determination With and For Individuals with Significant Cognitive Disabilities and Their Families
This session will explore ways that family and individual culture can be honored in the process of developing and sustaining a self-determined vision for quality of life over a person's full lifespan.

T-9 Achieving True Self-Determination through Rethinking the Meaning of Quality, Systems Change, and New Funding and Policy Models

On Thursday and Friday during the conference, there are over 400 1 and 2
hour breakout sessions! Here are just some of the many 
-Recapturing Person Center Plans
-Out-Maneuvering the System: How to Succeed in Providing Progressive Supports
Against the Odds
-Finding Allies and Building Alliances: Making it Happen
-Ya Can't Give What Ya Don't Get: Personnel Management Styles for Community
Supports That Work
-The Challenges (and joys) of Providing Life-Changing Supports
-When People's Choices Make Us Uncomfortable
-The Management Challenges of Individual Supports
-Using Self-Determination Tools to Achieve Flexible Supports
-Paying Customers Are Not Enough
-Community Supports Roundtable
-Mentorship: An Alternative to Guardianship
-Amenities Trusts as an Alternative to Guardianship: What Will Happen to My Child When I'm Gone
-Rethinking Guardianship Alternatives
-Home Ownership: It's Possible & Empowering
-Putting Self-Determination Into Action
-Promoting Greater Independence by Teaching Self-Management Skills
-Steps to Self-Determination Through Microboards
-Using Technology to Facilitate Self-Determination Transition Planning
-Exercising Your Right to VOTE!
-My Life, My Choices: Improving Self Determination through active choice making
-Self-Determination: The Data You Need to Convince Your "Power That Be"
-Goal Setting for Students with Disabilities: Teaching this Core Component Skill
-Hunting Your Ideal Personal Care Attendant
-New Principles for Working WITH People with Disabilities: A Critical Pedagogy Perspective
-Self-Directed Employment Approaches, Illustrations, and Outcomes for People with Developmental Disabilities



Ontario Government Ministries 
Family Net has posted an article on the new provincial cabinet and particularly the new ministry for children's services. "Premier, new ministers sworn in: New ministry for children’s services"
Click on this link


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