News

Meeting with the Minister

On April 6, 2017, representatives of L’Arche Canada met with the Hon. Qualtrough, Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities, to share our hopes and concerns – and express our gratitude and support – for new federal, accessibility legislation.

In 2016, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities launched a consultation process to help shape new federal accessibility legislation. The vision is to create equality of opportunity for persons with disabilities and lower barriers – not only physical, technological, and regulatory barriers, but also the attitudes and beliefs that people have about who people with disabilities are and what they have to offer.  She asked, “What does an accessible Canada mean to you? Please take the time to participate in our online consultation or to attend one of our public sessions in person. Together, we will make history."

And many of us did just that contributing in-person or online. A reflecting group of L’Arche people who have studied disability issues (Madeline Burghardt, Pam Cushing, John Rietschlin, Agnes Thomas, Lori Vaanholt) contributed to L’Arche Canada’s submission that was approved by the Board of L’Arche Canada. And we asked to meet the Minister in order to introduce L’Arche, share some of our concerns, and offer our appreciation and support.

Going to Parliament Hill

It is always moving to enter the hallowed buildings of the Parliament of Canada, more so when you are there to represent L’Arche and be heard by members of that important body. On April 6, 2017, Hollee Card, National Leader of L’Arche Canada, Jules Paris, member of L’Arche Ottawa, John Rietschlin, L’Arche Canada Board President, and I, came to meet with Minister Qualtrough in her office in Centre Block.

We four had been here before. In 2014, as part of a much larger group representing the regions of L’Arche in Canada, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of L’Arche with the Speaker of the Senate, other members, and chaplains of different faiths. That was a moving experience celebrating our past and the special place of Canada in the L’Arche story. Today, we were looking more to the future than the past.

Our meeting with the Minister was warm and positive from the start as she connected with Jules who is thoughtful and charming in both official languages. He and John R. shared about their friendship and how we share life in L’Arche as we work, learn and create home together. Jules proudly spoke of his work refinishing furniture. We explained that we support individuals with intellectual disabilities not as client and support staff, but in friendship and collegiality. Hollee explained that we “do ordinary things with extraordinary love” and invited the Minister to come visit L’Arche near her Greater Vancouver riding or in Ottawa or Gatineau.

The Minister listened with interest then engaged us in the need to create change together – the federal government with the provinces/ territories, and all levels of government with the non-profit sector and the entire community. We spoke of the need for more affordable, accessible and inclusive housing. We shared our concern that people with more complex support needs and dual diagnosis are being left behind as we focus on competitive employment and independent living; these individuals have much to offer their communities.

It was clear to us that L’Arche has something important to add to the conversation and that we must be more engaged if we seek to have greater impact. We must engage with ministers, governments and national organizations. We also must be part of the conversation and action where we live – in fact it is the place of our greatest impact.

Together, we can bring more to life the vision named by Jean Vanier, “Can we reasonably have a dream of a world where people, whatever their race, religion, culture, abilities or disabilities, whatever their education or economic situation, whatever their age or gender, can find a place and reveal their gifts?”

John Guido


L’Arche Canada Foundation’s Fall 2018 Impact Bulletin

Top Story: Support for L’Arche Lithuania

Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying Regulations Fall Short

September 6, 2018 – L’Arche Canada supports the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL)) and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) in urging the federal government to strengthen the system of monitoring Medical Assistance in Dying.

A new Community Leader for L’Arche Daybreak

L’Arche Canada and the Board of Directors present Trish Glennon, as the new Community Leader for L’Arche Daybreak

L’Arche Saskatoon’s 10th Anniversary video is amazing!

To celebrate their first ten years, L’Arche Saskatoon produced a wonderful 8-min video on “What is community?”

Third Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada

The Government of Canada has released the third Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) in Canada (July 1 to December 31, 2017)

June 20, 2018 – Minister Duncan introduces the proposed Accessible Canada Act

This historic legislation would enable the Government of Canada to take a proactive approach to end systemic discrimination of people with disabilities.

L’Arche Canada Newsletter Summer 2018

“Community is built as we become interdependent, humbly recognizing and welcoming our need of one another.”

L’Arche Canada Foundation’s Spring 2018 Impact Bulletin

Top Story: L’Arche Toronto’s Trying It On For Size (TIFS) project for young people with intellectual disabilities

Summer in the Forest is coming to Canada

“Summer in the Forest is an extraordinarily tender documentary that asks what it means to be human. Here, even the most gentle scenes raise mighty questions.” (New York Times)

The Courage to Listen and Speak Out

As part of the campaign on fundamental values, the L’Arche Canada communications team recently published an online, illustrated account of a person who has lived through abuse. In very simple words, the account expresses a universal reality, the truth that not being heard is a source of immense suffering.

Jean Vanier Interview on CNN

Christiane Amanpour interviews Jean Vanier following the release of Summer in the Forest

First Nations – The Courage to Meet Face to Face

At L’Arche, we are all experimenting with what it means to find “the courage to truly meet difference.” We are on this journey whether we’re encountering a new person, or group, or any culture other than our own.

“Nineteen Paper Cranes”, a Film in Homage to the victims of Sagamihara, Japan

L’Arche International is launching the 9th film in its #AsIAm web series, filmed at L’Arche in Japan, in homage to the 19 victims of the Sagamihara massacre.

Growing as we Learn: The L’Arche Canada Growth Initiative

“A learning organization is an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.” – Harvard Business Review

Leadership Spring Trainings take off

The L’Arche Canada leadership development has entered a major new phase. After years introducing a model based on the core values of L’Arche and tools for reviews and team building, a comprehensive formation and training program – through over 100 online training modules – is being delivered across the country.

Communicating the Work of Outreach and Communications

It has been a challenging year of transition in the L’Arche Canada Outreach and Communications team and its work. As we move forward, new initiatives and new partnerships are emerging that promise increased impact in this important work.

Contributing Our Voices

On February 8, members of L’Arche attended an “in person” session of the accessibility consultation, as several L’Arche folk from other communities had done in their cities.

Meeting with the Minister

On April 6, 2017, representatives of L’Arche Canada met with the Hon. Qualtrough, Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities, to share our hopes and concerns – and express our gratitude and support – for new federal, accessibility legislation.

Revelations of Abuse in Trosly, France

In a letter dated March 24, 2015, the Leaders of L’Arche International informed the communities of L’Arche around the world of the results of a canonical (Church) inquiry into accounts of sexual abuse by Père Thomas Philippe who was involved in the beginnings of the first community of L’Arche in Trosly. (Père Thomas died in 1993 so there was no trial.)

Love at Second Sight

AboutFace, an organization providing supports to individuals with facial differences and their families, as well as public awareness and education to increase understanding and acceptance, recently hosted the Toronto premiere of this powerful film that transforms attitudes about appearance and encourages students to accept themselves and others. It’s about difference and belonging, judgment and inclusion.

What does an Accessible Canada mean to you?

The Government of Canada has launched a consultation process that will be open until February 2017. Canadians are encouraged to participate in the consultation by visiting: Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada.

L’Arche Canada response to Bill C-14’s

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.

Jean Vanier: Logician of the Heart

An excellent new book on Jean Vanier by Michael W. Higgins is available from Novalis.