BC Man's Death a Cause for Concern Medical Assistance in Dying Law Must be Clarified

TORONTO, ON – The Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) is distressed to have learned of the death of Alan Nichols, a British Columbia man with a disability and mental illness who died with medical assistance despite, in his family’s view, being in a state of mental health crisis. Right now, doctors are able to interpret Canada’s medical assistance in dying law more broadly than ever intended; otherwise, Nichols, a vulnerable person in a moment of crisis, would never have been able to sign off on his death.

Alan Nichols was admitted to Chilliwack General Hospital in June, suffering from dehydration and malnourishment. Unbeknownst to family members, who were notified just four days before the procedure, Nichols was approved for doctor-assisted death. His family, who did not believe he met the eligibility criteria for medical assistance in dying, were unable to intervene in his case; on July 26 at 10:00am, Alan Nichols life was ended through lethal injection.

“So much more could have been done to improve Alan’s quality of life,” says Krista Carr, Executive Vice President of CACL, “Alan was living in poverty, lacked access to the disability supports needed to live without stress, and does not appear to have been connected to appropriate community-based mental health services. This is exactly why we need the end-of-life criterion to remain in the law – deaths like Alan’s cannot be normalized.”

Nichols’ death brings to light the immense discretion some medical professionals have taken upon themselves when assessing patients for medical assistance in dying. With such application of the law gaining popularity, in clear conflict with the intent of the legislation, Canada’s medical assistance in dying system appears to be quickly moving towards enabling access to based solely on a person’s, and others’ perception of intolerable suffering.

The Alan Nichols case, along with many others reported in the media, signal the critical need to review and clarify the medical assistance in dying law. A review mandated in the legislation is set to begin in 2020. However, in order for the law as written to still be in place at that time, the Attorney General must appeal the Quebec Superior Court’s recent decision in the Truchon and Gladu case, which struck down the end of life criterion as unconstitutional.

Advocates like Carr and Joy Bacon, President of CACL, urge the Attorney General to appeal contending that without the end of life criterion, deaths like Nichols’ will become more routine.

“This is my main concern with the Truchon and Gladu decision,” shares Joy Bacon, President of CACL, “that stigma and medical assistance in dying are entangled and inseparable. Without the firm line that is the end of life criterion, there is more space for stereotyping and discrimination to seep into the medical assistance in dying system. By steering people who are oppressed and suffering toward assisted death, Canada will be feeding back into stigmatizing narratives, telling Canadians that some lives are more worthwhile than others.”

Canada’s monitoring system has failed to identify when injustices like Alan Nichols’ death take place. This is in part because Canada only asks the three or four medical professionals who played an active role in a particular death to report on their participation. There is no space for direct reporting from the person seeking an assisted death or for families to share their experiences. Catherine Frazee is correct in raising that “we have no way of knowing how many might have been in situations similar to Alan” and this is deeply concerning.

There is an urgent need for Parliament to provide clear guidance on the reasonable foreseeability of natural death criteria. Therefore, the Attorney General must appeal the Truchon and Gladu decision to ensure that vulnerable Canadians are not at risk both within the medical system and society at large. What is at risk if Canada doesn’t appeal Truchon and Gladu? Ask Alan Nichols’ family.

– 30 –

Marc Muschler, Senior Communications Officer, Canadian Association for Community Living. Ph: 416-661-9611 ext. 232 or Email: mmuschler@cacl.ca

The Canadian Association for Community Living is a Canada-wide association of family members and others working to advance the human rights and inclusion of persons of all ages who have an intellectual disability. Founded in 1958 by parents of children with intellectual disabilities who wanted supports and services within the community instead of in institutions, CACL has become one of Canada’s ten largest charitable organizations, and has grown into a federation of 10 provincial and three territorial associations comprising of 400 local associations and over 40,000 members. Find out more at www.cacl.ca.

Volunteer Opportunity - Winnipeg Blue Bombers & Inclusion Winnipeg

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have chosen Inclusion Winnipeg to run one of their concession stands during the ten home games this season!
For our efforts, we will receive a percentage of the sales from our stand for each game. This is a great fundraising opportunity and we need your help.

Join a core team of dedicated volunteers to help at the games

Volunteers must:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Be able to work 5 or more of the games
  • Pass the online serving it safe course
  • Attend a two-hour orientation prior to the first game

Volunteer roles

Cooks: grilling, simple food assembly, basic food safety and sanitation. Two of the cooks will also need their food handler’s certificate. all cooks will need to attend the two-hour Cook Orientation on Saturday May 25th at either 11:00AM or 2:00PM

Cashiers: serve orders, money handling, beer service, inventory and clean up. Our 2 lead cashiers will need to attend the Cashier Orientation on Thursday May 23rd at 6:00PM

The fees for the Serving it Safe and Food Handlers certificate will be covered by Inclusion Winnipeg.

Game Dates

Friday, May 31st @ 7:30pm
Thursday, June 27th @ 7:30pm
Friday, July 12th @ 7:30pm
Friday, July 19th @7:30pm
Thursday, August 8th @ 7:30pm
Thursday, August 15th @ 7:30pm
Saturday, September 7th @ 3:00pm
Friday, September 27th @ 7:30pm
Saturday, October 12th @ 3:00pm
Friday, October 25th @ 7:30pm

When registering, please let us know which role you are interested in and the dates of the games you would be able to attend.

Federal Budget continues Ready, Willing, and Able Across Canada

OTTAWA, ON – Federal Budget 2019 commits a $12 million investment to Phase 2 of the Ready, Willing, and Able program (RWA). RWA is a national employment program for persons with intellectual disabilities or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The Government of Canada has made a 3-year investment in RWA to continue its work with employers and community agencies across the country to generate employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities and ASD.

In response to the budget news, Cynthia Carroll, Chairperson of CASDA said, “This signals the government’s commitment to an inclusive and accessible Canada. This investment allows RWA to continue working toward the vision of an inclusive and effective labour market with an employment rate for people with intellectual disabilities and ASD on par with the national average.”

Based on outcomes and evaluation, the award-winning RWA is one of the most successful national employment initiatives of its kind in the history of the country. It has drastically changed the quality of life for persons with an intellectual disability or autism and has supported a more competitive labour market in Canada.

Krista Carr, Executive Vice-President of CACL, declared, “We are grateful for this investment from the federal government, which will allow us to continue to demonstrate that with targeted support, community involvement and employer leadership, job seekers with an intellectual disability or ASD can obtain and retain employment within the labour market. Real work for real pay.”

RWA has brought real outcomes and has empowered thousands of job seekers with an intellectual disability or ASD who previously were unable to enter or remain in the competitive labour force while providing employers with a source of talent that was previously overlooked. Recognizing the government’s strong commitment to supporting persons with disabilities, the funding announced in Budget 2019 for RWA will ensure this critical initiative continues to contribute to an inclusive and accessible Canada. We look forward to continued conversations with the government to expand and grow RWA.

Please visit http://readywillingable.ca/ to learn more about the Ready, Willing, and Able initiative and keep up-to-date as Phase 2 is rolled out across the country.

– 30 –

Media Contact: Kurt Goddard, Director of Public Affairs, CACL, kgoddard@cacl.ca

About the Canadian Association for Community Living

CACL is composed of ten provincial and three territorial associations, with over 400 local associations across the country and more than 40,000 members. CACL leads the way in helping Canadians build an inclusive Canada by strengthening families, defending rights, and transforming communities into places where everyone can belong.

About the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance

The Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA) is a coalition of organizations and individuals developing a comprehensive National ASD Framework. CASDA is committed to ensuring the implementation of a comprehensive National ASD Strategy that addresses critical gaps in funding and policies, which are preventing individuals with ASDs and their families from exercising their equal rights as Canadians. CASDA includes over 55 national, provincial, and local autism organizations as well as individual members.

March 2019 Newsletter

The March 2019 edition of the Inclusion Winnipeg newsletter.

• The Sound of Silence
• Finding a Way Through Grief and Loss
• Teachable Moments in Family Advocacy
• Realtor Creating His Own Way to Give
• Bang a Drum at Community BBQ This Summer

March 2019 Inclusion Winnipeg Newsletter

Landmark Supreme Court Ruling Helps to Secure Financial Future for Persons with Disabilities

TORONTO, ON – In a 7-2 split decision, this past Friday in the case of S.A. v. Metro Vancouver Housing Corp, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned British Columbia’s Court of Appeal’s decision on discretionary (Henson) trusts. In doing so, the court has set a precedent that will serve to shield the rights of persons with disabilities and helps to reduce poverty.

Discretionary trusts are used by parents and family members of persons with intellectual disabilities to provide financial security for their loved ones. The court decided that discretionary trusts should not be considered assets when determining income levels because the beneficiary cannot unilaterally force the trustees to make payments.

The appellant in the case was an individual with a disability living in a Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation (MVHC) complex. They were required to provide income verification every year as part of their application for rental assistance. In 2015, MVHC declined to approve the appellant’s application after learning that they were the beneficiary of a Henson trust. The Supreme Court ruled a Henson trust could not disqualify the appellant from being considered by MVHC for rental assistance.

The central issue in the appeal was whether assets in a Henson trust could be considered assets to assess an individual’s eligibility to receive social assistance benefits. This issue is of importance to people with disabilities as Henson trusts are a common estate planning tool used by families to ensure that their loved ones have a measure of financial security and autonomy after their death.

People First of Canada (PFC) and the Canadian Association for Community (CACL) served as co-intervenors advocating on behalf of the many persons with disabilities, and their families who regularly rely on discretionary (Henson) trusts as a tool to combat the systemic disadvantage and poverty persons with an intellectual disability face when their parents die.

Shelly Fletcher, Executive Director of PFC, responded that “For many of the people with disabilities that make up People First, discretionary trusts provide a modest level of financial stability after family members have passed away. But it isn’t like these folks are sitting on excess funds that can be used at their discretion. It is always encouraging when people with disabilities are heard – and today it feels like People First was heard loud and clear at the Supreme Court.”

“People with disabilities continue to face barriers in their participation as equal members of Canadian society. There is still more work to be done, but today we will celebrate,” said Joy Bacon, President of CACL.

This ruling does help, but it does not eliminate the need for good public policy that addresses the longstanding poverty of people with an intellectual disability, the barriers they face, and issues they encounter before and after their parents die.

The full text of the case is available here.

– 30 –

Media Contact: Kurt Goddard, Director of Public Affairs, CACL, kgoddard@cacl.ca


CACL is composed of ten provincial and three territorial associations, with over 400 local associations spread across the country and more than 40,000 members. CACL leads the way in helping Canadians build an inclusive Canada by strengthening families, defending rights, and transforming communities into places where everyone can belong. PFC is a self-advocacy organization with a membership made up of people who have been labelled as having intellectual disabilities and has approximately 3,300 members nationwide. 

Recruiting an Advocacy Coordinator to join our team.

Are you interested in joining a dynamic organization working to advance the rights of all people to contribute to and enjoy the benefits of a welcoming community?

Inclusion Winnipeg Inc. is recruiting an Advocacy Coordinator to join our team.

The Advocacy Coordinator is an integral member of the Inclusion Winnipeg Inc. team in supporting and advancing the mission of our organization in a way that is consistent with the organizational vision, values, beliefs and strategic objectives. Inclusion Winnipeg is a member of the Canadian Association for Community Living federation.

Key responsibilities include: Providing direct individualized advocacy to adults who have intellectual disabilities, and to families of children who have intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Providing support to community organizations and partners through professional development training related to advocacy and self-advocacy; facilitation and mentoring in practices that advance human rights; person-centred thinking and planning; accessibility & accommodation and greater social inclusion.

Promoting the rights of people in accordance with the Manitoba Human Rights Code and the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities to enjoy the same access to society as all other citizens free of discrimination and with access to accommodations as required.


  • The successful candidate will have an understanding of intellectual disability, the importance of social inclusion and the barriers to building a good life in the community.
  • Knowledge of legislation, standards and regulations that impacts people with disabilities including the Vulnerable Persons Act, Accessibility for Manitobans Act, as well as legislation related to education, housing, health, employment and income assistance.
  • 3-5 years of experience working with people with intellectual disabilities and their families.
  • Post-secondary education in a related field such as Disability Studies, Education, Social Work or Human Rights, Community Health.
  • Three references, one must be from an employer. Ability to provide clear
  • Criminal Record Check certificate with vulnerable sector search, Children Abuse Registry and Adult Abuse Registry checks.
  • Valid driver’s license and access to a vehicle.

Send your cover letter and application to info@inclusionwinnipeg.org or mail to 1-120 Maryland St. Wpg. MB R3G 1L1 by December 17, 2018.

Canada's First Poverty Reduction Strategy Promising for People with an Intellectual Disability

TORONTO, ON – The Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) welcomes the release of Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy and its significant focus on social inclusion and the tremendous potential it appears to offer persons with an intellectual disability.

CACL looks forward to the implementation of the Strategy and to working with the Government of Canada over the coming months and years. It is critical for government infrastructure to maximize the effectiveness of its investment. As the Poverty Reduction Strategy and its various initiatives unfold, we encourage the Government of Canada to keep the lived experience of people who have an intellectual disability in mind and included.

“Persistent poverty remains, and it can only be addressed by both income and disability-related supports,” said Joy Bacon, President of CACL.

Some indicators of an approach inclusive of persons with an intellectual disability could include – but are not limited to – representatives from the intellectual disability community on the advisory council, up-to-date data on persons with a disability within the Strategy’s Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+), and the inclusion of current out-of-pocket expenses that persons with a disability spend to be added to Canada’s Official Poverty Line calculation known as the Market Basket Measure. CACL is pleased to see that the Canada Income Survey will be designed to be able to report on income and disability. We strongly recommend that sufficient data be collected to be able to track progress by type and range of disability.

In addition, CACL hopes that the Government of Canada takes leadership with its provincial and territorial partners to ensure that Canada’s first national Poverty Reduction Strategy is implemented to its fullest potential.

“It is critical to know we are making a difference. CACL remains committed to exploring and advancing conversations about the unmet needs for income support for persons with an intellectual disability,” said Krista Carr, Executive Vice-President of CACL.

CACL welcomes the focus of the strategy on inclusion and looks forward to working with the Government of Canada. We also echo Mile Corak’s, Economist in Residence at Employment and Social Development Canada, forward in the Strategy that, “Credit is due, not when budgets are spent, but when outcomes we care about are efficiently and effectively achieved.”

CACL is composed of ten provincial and three territorial associations, with over 400 local associations spread across the country and more than 40,000 members. CACL leads the way in helping Canadians build an inclusive Canada by strengthening families, defending rights, and transforming communities into places where everyone can belong.

– 30 –

Media Contact: Agata Zieba, Senior Communications Officer, CACL, azieba@cacl.ca.

Positive Approaches Institute with David Pitonyak


Supporting People with Difficult Behaviours in Ordinary, Everyday Places with David Pitonyak & Guest Presenter Lisa Foster, Executive Director
Community Living Thunder Bay

This intense learning experience will change your world view and how you approach working with “difficult” clients.

This training is designed to build capacity within an organization or community to deliver and sustain respectful and positive approaches to difficult behaviours. The training requires participation in all nine days and a variety of “homework” assignments to test newly acquired skills in real world places.

There are currently more than 7,000 people working in Manitoba as direct support workers in the disability field and there are not enough continuing education and training opportunities to support them. We believe that high quality supports result in a higher quality of life for people living with an intellectual disability and strive to fill that gap with high quality, relevant education and training, like the Positive Approaches Institute.

About David Pitonyak, Ph.D.

David Pitonyak is interested in positive approaches to difficult behaviours. He believes that difficult behaviours are “messages” which can tell us important things about a person and his/her surroundings. Understanding the “meaning” of an individual’s difficult behaviours is the first step in supporting the person (and the person’s supporters) to change.

David has provided consultation and training for individuals, families, professionals throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, England, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. He has worked with people in a variety of settings, including home and professionally-staffed residential settings, schools, supported competitive jobsites, sheltered workshops, and day activity programs. Visit www.dimagine.com for more information.

About Lisa Foster

Lisa is the Executive Director of Community Living Thunder Bay, and prior to that, she spent 10 years as the Director of Organizational Development, Innovation and Adult Services at Community Living Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie., Lisa is deeply passionate and committed to serving people with intellectual disabilities and creating fuller participation in community life for people we serve through valued social roles. She is a leader in contributing to quality of life issues for all members of our community in inclusive education, positive approaches, employment and social capital.

Registration Deadline: Monday, July 30, 2018

Registration Fees:

  • $1,650 per person
  • $2,900 per team of 2 from same agency
  • $1,400 per person for teams of 3 or more from same agency.

Lunch and materials will be provided.

To Register Please EMAIL completed registration forms to admin@inclusionwinnipeg.org and we will invoice you; or SUBMIT the completed registration forms with cheques payable to:
Inclusion Winnipeg, 1 – 120 Maryland Street, Winnipeg, MB, R3G 1L1.

Download Registration Form
Consulate of the United States

We’re thrilled to announce that thanks to funding support from the U.S. Consulate Winnipeg, we are able to bring U.S. speaker Dr. David Pitonyak back to Winnipeg this summer for the Positive Approaches Institute.

August 13-17 & 27-31, 2018
9:00 am – 4:30 pm

August 13-17 & 27-31, 2018: Inn at the Forks, 75 Forks Market Rd, Winnipeg, MB
(204) 942-6555

Download Registration Form

Winnipeg Next Chapter Book Club Looking for People Interested in Joining as Members or Facilitators

Once a week, a group of friends meets to read together at the Pembina Trails Public Library.

The Next Chapter Book Club provides an opportunity for people of all abilities, readers and non-readers, to read, learn and make friends in a relaxed community setting. In each meeting, we spend some time chatting about our week and enjoying snacks and drinks. We take turns reading and pause often to talk about ideas that interest us, feelings and connections that arise from the book, and to encourage one another. It’s not about learning to read; it’s about learning about life and each other. We are becoming a group of friends.

Next Chapter Book Clubs meet in public spaces and are facilitated by trained volunteers to allow everyone to participate. As in any club, choices about what to read, and how to organize the meetings are decided by the members.

What do the members like best about the book club? Everyone had a different answer.

“I really like talking about new words – we found some really interesting words in this book.”

“I just love to read.”

“I like the snacks. I like to eat!”

“I liked reading a fantasy book. It’s good that we have choices about what we want to read.”

“I like to see my new friends.”


It’s time to see if we can start another club! Both facilitators and participants are needed. Anyone can be a participant – we welcome people with or without disabilities, and you don’t need to be able to read – the only requirement is that you want to enjoy a good book with other people.

Volunteer facilitators receive online training, which includes a club demonstration, so they will be comfortable and effective guiding a book club for individuals with a variety of reading levels and abilities.

To join a club, volunteer to facilitate, or find out more, please email Deborah at ncbcwinnipeg@gmail.com.