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Declaration for Support

This is institutionwatch.ca the official web site of the People First of Canada and Canadian Association for Community Living joint Task Force on Deinstitutionalization.

People First of Canada (PFC) is the national voice for people who have been labeled with an intellectual disability.

The Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) is a Canada-wide association of family members and others working for the benefit of persons of all ages who have an intellectual disability.

An institution is any place in which people who have been labeled as having an intellectual disability are isolated, segregated and/or congregated. An institution is any place in which people do not have, or are not allowed to exercise, control over their lives and their day to day decisions. An institution is not defined merely by its size.

This Task Force, acting on behalf of our national organizations, exists because despite the rhetoric of full citizenship and inclusion within this country, many thousands of our fellow citizens with intellectual disabilities remain trapped in institutional environments. Environments that were designed decades ago in response to a lack of appropriate community based supports and services. Environments that today are no longer relevant or needed. Environments that today only serve to isolate and segregate persons with intellectual disabilities denying them the opportunity to and right of full citizenship and community participation.

Efforts toward deinstitutionalization are world wide. Many countries have adopted or are moving rapidly toward a system of supports and services in which institutions play no role with respect to persons with intellectual disabilities. Unfortunately Canada is not one of these countries. Large institutions continue to be funded in seven (7) of our provinces. Many more thousands of individuals, in all provinces and territories, are living in health related institutions such as Senior's facilities, Nursing Homes, acute care hospitals, Long Term Care facilities and Personal Care Homes, as opposed to ordinary homes in the community.

We welcome you to browse the various pages and links on this site to learn more about deinstitutionalization and the efforts of the national Task Force.

WE, INDIVIDUALLY AND COLLECTIVELY, commit to working together to assist persons to return to their communities and call on all levels of government in this country to:

Acknowledge that institutions for persons with intellectual disabilities have no place in today's society;

Stop financing or otherwise supporting the establishment of new institutions for persons with intellectual disabilities;

Stop all new admissions to existing institutions;

Support the right of all people with disabilities to live in the community as equal citizens;

Commit the necessary resources to support the development of quality, comprehensive community-based alternatives to institutional care;

Acknowledge the wrongs that have been committed against those individuals who have been held for far too long in institutions across this country.