L'Arche Haiti : A Reporter-Photographer's Chronicle
 Images of L'Arche
L'Arche viewed through the eyes of artists and photographers
 A Human Future
Social Innovation; Social Entrepreneurship: An Interview with Al Etmanski



Physician-Assisted Dying

In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Physician-Assisted Dying, and as the Federal Government works on drafting legislation on this issue, L’Arche in Canada has re-committed itself to providing the best possible supports for the people with intellectual disabilities in our communities, both in life and as they approach death.

Having operated now within Canada’s disability sector for 47 years, we have gained considerable experience working with health and pastoral care professionals in providing quality palliative care to people with intellectual disabilities in the process of preparing for death. Through this experience, we have learned that governments across the country are simply not doing enough to provide the necessary financial and other supports to ensure effective and universally accessible palliative care.

In our view, palliative care should be a guaranteed option for anyone facing death in this country.  Without the support of a loving family or circle of friends, and with no guaranteed access to palliative care, any person facing death will be more at risk of experiencing abuse and error within the health care system.

Now that physician-assisted dying is legal in Canada, we believe it is more important than ever for Canadians to reflect upon the question: “What really is our commitment to one another as citizens of this great country, not only in life, but in those times when we need to help one another face death?” If we truly are committed to one another as citizens who believe in the values of compassion, generosity, and social justice, then it is not enough for Parliament simply to put safeguards in place to protect vulnerable people from potential abuses and errors within the health care system.  We need to commit as well to finding the resources that will help us, at a minimum,

  • to expand home care services and supports for community/independent living, and
  • to ensure that access to palliative care becomes a universally available health care service.

L’Arche’s Recommendations to Parliament

  1. That Parliament put in place effective safeguards to protect vulnerable persons from potential abuse and neglect under a new system for physician-assisted dying.  These safeguards—identified not only by L’Arche but by the Canadian Association of Community Living (CACL) and other disability-related organizations—include (1) mandatory vulnerability assessments and psychiatric evaluations, (2) requiring the involvement of a panel of people, rather than just two physicians in the decision-making process, and (3) a mandatory waiting period at the outset for persons who are not terminally ill.
  2. That Parliament establish a new National Body or Secretariat for Palliative Care with a mandate to provide the leadership required to ensure that palliative care becomes a universally available and accessible home and health care service in Canada, involving the coordinated and collaborative involvement of organizations both within the governmental and non-governmental sectors.
  3. That Parliament provide funding that will enable the provinces and territories to ensure reasonable and humane supports for organizations and families responsible for the care of people with disabilities and aging members of society.

For more information, contact











Jean Vanier’s comfort and joy:
‘What we have to do is find
the places of hope’


Ian Brown, Globe and Mail, 19 December 2015


Jean Vanier created L’Arche to nurture a different kind of life:
one focused on connection rather than commerce.
More than 50 years later, Ian Brown goes on a journey
to understand how simply admitting our weaknesses can make us strong. 

Click here, or on the image below, to read about it.


International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2015

New book from Jean Vanier

Making an Impact on our Society
In his newest book, Jean Vanier answers the questions everyone asks themselves at one point in their life: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose in life? His responses are thought provoking and inspiring, leading readers to examine themselves and their belief in God. Life’s Great Questions is an ideal book for discussion, with everyone sharing their stories, or to read deeply on one’s own. Can be ordered through ($19.95).




“Para Normal” is an award-winning short film by Rostyk Makushak that creatively captures some of the everyday life experiences of three people with intellectual disabilities at L’Arche Ottawa.   

Check out the reviews in the Ottawa Citizen, OttawaLife Magazine, then watch it online at or on YouTube.

You can also tune in to watch it on TVO at the following prime time screening times:

o Friday, May 29 at 9:52 pm
o Saturday, May at 30 7:54 pm
o Sunday, May 31 at 10:49 pm
o Monday, June 1 at 7:52 pm
o Wednesday, June 3 at 7:53 pm
o Friday, June 5 at 7:49 pm

Spring 2015 Impact Bulletin

Making an Impact on our Society
Stéphane Bastarache travels to Ottawa - As Stéphane excitedly joined up with fellow travellers at the Halifax airport, his carefully packed suitcase held a suit, tie, bow tie, new shoes – and pictures that Stéphane was carrying to share with the Princess Royal (Princess Anne) in Ottawa, to help her understand an emerging passion of the L’Arche Saint John community, our “Some Kind of Creative Club”. This place of connection with local artists, volunteers, and friends regularly takes us by surprise as we discover new and dramatic ways of sharing hidden gifts and perspectives. Of meeting the Princess, Stéphane recalls, “She was asking questions… I was happy.” [...]


In the News:
Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary

Awarded the 2014 World Mayor Prize by the City Mayors Foundation

Over the years, we’ve interviewed many interesting Canadians for our e-quarterly publication, “A Human Future.” In the Spring of 2013, we caught up with Mayor Naheed Nenshi of Calgary to discuss his ideas about community-building. Click here to read the interview..








"Singing a Song of Hope": Archbishop Fred Hiltz,
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada,
honours Jean Vanier and L'Arche in his New Year’s message.

To read the full message, click here.

As people of good will everywhere
prepare to welcome the New Year,
yearning for God’s peace on earth,
let us remember that
“It is always the most fragile among us
who are the closest to their humanity,
to their suffering,
and to their need to be loved.
It is they who show the rest of us
the way to live in truth and in love.”

(Jean Vanier)

Tune in to CBC Radio One online (English radio only) to hear the December 1st Episode of The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers.  

During the episode, Shelagh discusses Jean's books, Tears of Silence and Becoming Human. She also replays an interview that she did with Jean a couple of years ago.

The Next Chapter airs each week on Mondays at 1 p.m. and on Saturdays at 4 p.m., and can be heard anytime at

The new Norflicks film "Love and Belonging" will be premiered on Vision TV tonight, November 24, at 10 pm EST, for those who can access Vision.


Members of L’ARCHE from across Canada
to Gather in Ottawa-Gatineau
to Mark the 50th Anniversary of L’ARCHE

“Pareil pas pareil”

("Alike, but not alike")

Seven spokespeople, who live with different forms of intellectual disabilities, respond openly to the questions that everyone asks themselves about “differences” and “normality”, about the challenges of living with a  handicap and the desire to live like everyone else, on the need to feel useful and the willingness to learn as well as the importance of loving.

[Note: For English subtitles on the video at,
click on the "cc" at the bottom, right-hand side of the video.]


Jean Vanier and L’Arche
to Receive 2014 Notre Dame Award
for International Human Development
and Solidarity

For details, click on the Notre Dame logo above.

L'Arche profiled on the
award-winning radio program,
"Ideas", on CBC Radio One

The two-part series, entitled "How to do ordinary things", aired on Tuesday, Sept. 2nd, and Tuesday, Sept. 9th, at 9:00 p.m. (9:30 p.m. in Newfoundland) on CBC Radio One.
Listen to the podcasts:
Part 1
Part 2

L'Arche Canada "Portal Page"
Now Online at











March 21st is International Down Syndrome Day.

Here’s a toast to all those people with Down Syndrome who enrich our lives.


What is L'Arche ?
A Journey of Personal Growth
A Life Together that's Unique
What Makes a Community ?



Jean Vanier August Letter

Since the beginnings of L’Arche (August 1964), Jean Vanier has always wanted to communicate what he was living, wishing to create a network of friendship and fraternity, focused on those who are most marginalized in our societies – people living with an intellectual disability. Through circular letters, he also wanted to thank those who generously supported him in the adventure of L’Arche.



L’Arche on the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

We are proud to announce that Professor Jonas Ruškus, from L’Arche in Lithuania, is the first L’Arche member to be elected at the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). His mandate at the UN will run from 2015 to 2018.The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is composed of 18 independent experts – persons of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights. Find out more about the committee here.

L’Arche Canada’s WITH campaign

Readers of Canadian Family magazine, Toronto Life, and Ottawa magazine may notice full-page L’Arche Canada ads in some issues this fall and winter. We are grateful to St. Joseph Communications for making these ads possible. Click on ad to enlarge.


L'Arche Canada Grief Support Kit

L'Arche Canada's new bilingual kit for conducting Grief Support Groups for People with Intellectual Disabilities is available free of charge on L’Arche Canada’s Aging and Disability website.


L'Arche Homefires Community Leader Receives Diamond Jubilee Medal

Ingrid Blais receives Award
Senator Ogilvie and Ingrid Blais

We are pleased to announce that Ingrid Blais, Community Leader of L'Arche Homefires, was honoured recently as a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. In all, 60,000 Canadians across the country are being honoured this year with the Jubilee Medal for their contributions and achievements. The medal was presented to Ingrid this past Sunday, July 8th, in Wolfville, NS, by The Honourable Kelvin K. Ogilvie, Senator.


Updated Editions of Jean Vanier's Books




The Heart of L’Arche and An Ark for the Poor were both originally published in 1995.  These updated editions were revised by Jean Vaner himself, as he looks back on 47 years of the spirituality of L’Arche, at the age of 83.  Learn more about the history of L'Arche and its spirituality. The new editions can be ordered at

 - An Ark for the Poor
- The Hearth of L'Arche

University of Waterloo Co-op Program recognized L’Arche Ontario with Top Employer Award

On Monday March 19, L’Arche Ontario was named one of the Top 100 Employers by the University of Waterloo Co-op Program because of its commitment and support to co-op students over the years.

Mike Mattice and Karen Dennison from L’Arche Hamilton represented L’Arche at the event.



Down Syndrome Going Viral?


 2 large posters in Avenue Matignon in Paris

Trisomy 21, so what? is a publicity campaign from Spain, which has now taken off in France, where it can be seen on Paris billboards, and on the front page of Voici! magazine. It is also circulating widely on Facebook, and has the support of several large companies.


L'Arche salutes the parents who are the originators of this beautiful campaign, and who, in spite of new genetic tests available, dare to say today: "Trisomy 21, so what?"!



Disability Is By Nature Anti-establishment

According to journalist and author Ian Brown, it is the impossibility for him and his disabled son Walker (The Boy in the Moon) to “achieve” much or even disappoint each other that allows them to be who they actually are with each other, thus escaping what society says we are supposed to be.

Read Ian Brown's reflections in the the Globe and Mail (August 27th 2011).



L'Arche Ontario Art Exhibit at Queen's Park

For over 40 years, the members of L’Arche in Ontario have been discovering the power of art as a way for members with intellectual disabilities to discover and express themselves, to connect with others, and to participate fully in the wider community.

The result is a wonderful exhibition full of vitality, energy – and life that was presented May 28/29 at Queen’s Park during “Doors Open Toronto.”


Click here to visit the exhibition online





 Click here to lear more about Jean Vanier Support Network


Illustration by Jens Bonnke



Daily thought
Raise your eyes, Change your heart
Ezekiel, that great and fantastic prophet of old, said, "Change your heart." We need a new spirit, a new power to forgive, for the walls to come down, to close the gap between the rich and the poor.
L'Arche Canada - 2016