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 submitted and the urgency of announcing meetings or recommending advocacy.

This bulletin is best read in Netscape.

Click for our archive of past PLN bulletins


1 December 2004

Look up link to list of earlier bulletins for announcements and news that may be still current.

If you are concerned with Autism Spectrum Disorders, please note the wealth of news, announcements and other links in the Autism News Bulletins that are archived on the OAARSN website. Click for the list of OAARSN bulletins that are also concerned with general issues of disability and inclusion.

Remembering Pat Worth
Patrick Worth of Toronto, Ontario, one of the early founders of the People First movement, died suddenly on November 11 at the age of 49. Worth, an eloquent spokesperson, advocated for the right of people with disabilities to live as full citizens, without labels. He himself had been labelled "mentally retarded" as a child and placed in a segregated school setting. Worth went on to become an author, consultant and world-renowned public speaker, and was actively involved with many organizations focused on inclusion. He will be greatly missed by the disability community.
Read many tributes to his contributions   Read Judith McGill's eulogy

December 3 is United Nations International Day of Disabled Persons
In celebration, the Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres (CAILC) invites you to celebrate the day at its third annual national kick-off event. This year's international theme is "Nothing About Us Without Us." The United Nations International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed by the United Nations' General Assembly in 1992 to build a better understanding of the needs, rights, talents and contributions of 600 million global citizens with disabilities throughout the world. "Nothing About Us Without Us" reflects the true power and potential of the disability rights movement. It embodies the philosophy that empowerment is the only equitable and credible means of overcoming marginalization. Involving persons with disabilities in active and meaningful ways in the design and implementation of policies, programs and supports is the most effective means of barrier removal. NOTHING ABOUT WITHOUT US IN ACTION!
A Celebration of the UN International Day of Disabled Persons (live web cast) December 3, 2004, Noon. If you can't be there in person, catch the live web cast, at at 12:30.

New Issue of Abilities Magazine

"Home Sweet Home" is the theme of the new Winter 2004 issue of Abilities, Canada's Lifestyle Magazine for People with Disabilities. The special accessible housing feature in this issue includes the latest developments in barrier-free design. Also in this issue: travel in Japan, tips for managing fatigue, and news about an upcoming arts festival. Read more about it

A Service Provider’s Dilemma with Insurance

"I would really appreciate some dialogue concerning a situation I find myself in as a therapist and director of a small day program for verbal adults on the autism spectrum in Toronto. I have a clinic type setting in a separated apartment in my home. There are three modest sensory rooms, concentrating on sensory dysfunction, developing activity/sensory type diets, using community resources to expand the interests of participants. I am having difficulty obtaining insurance because of the population I work with. I could have a day care in my home, for neurotypical children-- even with no separation between my living space and working space--without its affecting my home insurance policy.  But as soon as I say 'special needs' children or 'special needs adults', my broker tells me that my home insurance policy (general liability) will be canceled. ...Has anyone else experienced issues with insurance in servicing from a residence...and if so how was it solved?" Click on title to read the full account. OAARSN welcomes general responses. Or let us know if you are willing to speak directly to this service provider. This is a real challenge just as we hope for more flexible supports for our vulnerable adults.

Ontario Government Launches Review Into Deceased Resident’s Disappearance From Oaklands

Transforming Ontario's Developmental Services

A Preliminary Discussion Paper was released in late October by the "Joint Developmental
Services Sector Partnership Table." Read the Discussion Paper  
Link to associated information on the MCSS website
Questions are posed, to which we are all invited to respond:
  • What should be the roles and responsibilities of different parts of society in supporting individuals who have a developmental disability?
  • What strategies and resources would help individuals receive seamless supports throughout their lives, including points of transition?
  • What supports and services that are currently available work well should be built on for the future?
  • How should a reasonable level of government funding for an individual be determined?
  • Services are changing in Ontario for people who have a developmental disability. What would you like to see happen?
  • What do you think are the priorities the government should address?
Your ideas of responses to these questions are welcomed. Keep visiting the site of The Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario that has a collection of background papers on this subject.

British Columbia transformed its community living services from May 2001 
The BC experience is explained and assessed in Gathering Momentum: Mobilizing to Transform Community Living in BC.  Researched and Written by Cameron Crawford of the Roeher Institute, 2004. The circumstances of Ontario’s “transformation” are similar, being initiated by a new Liberal government in a period of budget and service cuts. The report identifies strengths and uncovered areas of tension, from which we in Ontario may learn.

Thanks to John Lord for drawing out some key lessons for our Ontario transformation process, from his close reading of this report. Click to read John's thoughts
Scientists trace aging-stress link, for example for caregivers
Some stressful events seem to turn a person's hair gray overnight.  Now a team of researchers has found that severe emotional distress -- such as that caused by divorce, the loss of a job, or caring for an ill child or parent -- may speed up the aging process within the body's cells. The findings, being reported today, are the first to link psychological stress so directly to biological age. The researchers found that blood cells from women who had spent many years caring for a disabled child were, genetically, about a decade older than those from peers who had much less caretaking experience. The study, which appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also suggests that the perception of being stressed can add years to a person's biological age.



Please send submissions for this news bulletin or for the OAARSN Calendar and Bulletin Board in plain text format by email to with "announcement" at the beginning of the subject line.
Please provide details of the following as BRIEFLY as possible: 
 Name of Event
 Main Speakers and Topics of Event 
 Date of Event 
 City and Location of Event
 Contact information to learn more about event
 URL Link for more information/registration 

 Please Do Not Send Files Or Brochure Attachments

November 30 saw the Ottawa premiere  of the National Film Board of Canada's film (with Force Four Productions): 
The Ties that Bind
about 28-year-old Chris Jordan, who lives
with multiple disabilities,
and his transition toward a more
independent life.
lick on title to reach the related website which has many features and continues to evolve.

Other opportunities to see this film:
1. Thursday evening, December 2, in Kitchener, 7-9 pm
hosted by Planned Lifetime Networks
(WWO) and Extend-A-Family.

The Ties That Bind
Kitchener Public Library Auditorium
85 Queen Street North, Kitchener
Doors open 6:30 p.m.
Discussion and refreshments to follow the film.
Seating is limited so please confirm your attendance by calling Extend-A-Family at (519) 741-0190 ext. 0.


2. For those who are unable to attend the film screening, the CBC will be airing a TV version on Thursday December 2nd on the News World Channel at 10:00 p.m.
Click for more details
Message from Kathleen Jordan, mother of Chris:
I hope you can join the Bill Jordan family in viewing "The Ties That Bind". The documentary film which was recorded over a period of 3 years from 2001 to 2004, depicts the challenges of the Jordan family with their adult son with disabilities, Christopher, as he prepares for an interdependent life in his community.
With the help of a personal support network created by the family and a local charity, Lifetime Networks Ottawa (LNO), the family prepares for a safe and secure future for their son. Bill and I were instrumental in starting this organization in Ottawa and it is modeled after an organization in B.C. called PLAN. A more detailed explanation of both organizations can
be found at the following and;
At the most recent web site created by NFB and hosted by Geoff Jordan, NFB hopes to inspire you through the stories on the site and provide information for you to learn more. This fully accessible site begins by telling the Jordan story (most if not all of these stories are not repeated in the documentary) but it is hoped that you will participate by visiting the site, sharing your opinions and/or stories, and eventually becoming part of someone's network in your community or neighbourhood.
This film makes a memorable contribution to social policy issues of growing relevance in Ontario and Canada. Although the screening of the film will be followed by a Q.& A. with the family, there might also be an opportunity to pose questions to the politicians - federal and provincial directly involved in these issues. It is absolutely essential that the most vulnerable members of our society can achieve a level of interdependence and dignity while becoming valuable contributors in their communities. We are optimistic that together we can figure out how this can work rather than focusing on why it can't. I invite you to participate!

Thursday, December 2, 2004
, 9am-4:30pm, in Toronto
An Exploration of Some Higher Order Issues of
Restraint as a Human Service Technique

Location:  Room SHE560, 5th Floor, Sally Horsfall Eaton Building,
Ryerson University
Recently, the press, some advocacy groups, and professional organizations have been raising questions concerning the use of restraints in human services.  This workshop provides a forum for concerned individuals, especially service workers, to explore some of these troubling moral questions raised by the use of restraints in human services, especially within the context of the vulnerability of people who receive services.  This is not a how-to-workshop, but rather an opportunity for reflection and learning. Click for information and to register

.....advance announcement....

Friday, April 29, 2005 in Guelph
Click for planning updates and conference program


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