Partners in Belonging (Advocacy)

Social policy engagement and leadership of people with intellectual disabilities.

L’Arche Canada has closely collaborated with partner organizations to promote legislation, policy and practices that improve the social inclusion of people with disabilities in Canada. Together we are building capacity for increased collaboration among people with disabilities and organizations of and for people with disabilities. By working together, we are having greater impact on removing barriers and changing the culture of Canada to one of inclusivity and accessibility.

L’Arche Canada is partnering with other organizations to increase the participation of persons with intellectual disabilities in processes within the larger community through collaborating with the Canadian Disability Network, Disability Without Poverty, the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) Challenge Coalition, and the Social Policy Committee. Through this work, we have seen the passage of the Canadian Disability Benefit in June. This significant development marks a crucial milestone as we transition into the next phase, which involves establishing the necessary regulations.

Outline of three individuals together
Disability Rights and Social Justice
Hand holding heart
Deepening Community
puzzle pieces fitting together
Collaboration With Partners
A white young man with Down syndrome in glasses talking to the Prime Minister of Canada, who is a white man with dark hair and is wearing a surgical mask. Both men are wearing suits.

Disability Rights

L’Arche Canada has become a leader in the disability inclusion Movement in Canada. In November of 2022, John Guido, Nicholas Herd and Lori Vaanholt attended a meeting in preparation for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities where they met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In June 2023, L’Arche Canada, USA and International delegates joined the global civil society community at the 16th annual UN Conference of State Parties for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Meetings like this are an important way to work together with our partners to achieve the goals of the Disability Action Plan created by the Government of Canada. After years of focused advocacy, the Canada Disability Benefit Act received royal assent on June 22, 2023 and became law. This ground-breaking legislation establishes the framework for the Canada Disability Benefit which enables the Government of Canada to create a new benefit to lift working-age persons with disabilities in Canada out of poverty.

A dark haired white young man with down syndrome and middle aged white woman with short curly hair and glasses speaking in front of a banner that says “Vibrant Communities” at Fanshaw College.

Deepening Community

L’Arche Canada is working with our partners for belonging and inclusion by increasing our capacity to deepen community both within L’Arche and within the neighbourhoods where we belong.  In the past few years, some of us, located in different places and roles across L’Arche in Canada, have begun exploring Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) which is hosted in Canada by the Tamarack Institute. Tamarack is working with a network of municipalities, neighbourhoods, and organizations across Canada to help deepen community and put citizens at the centre of community-building efforts.

A few L’Arche communities have taken a deep dive into putting ABCD into practice by participating in Cities Deepening Community with learning and coaching from our friends at Tamarack. They have been part of “a vibrant network of communities that are committed to strengthening neighbourhoods and fostering positive community change through resident-led action.”

Cormac Russell writes, “Fortunately, at the heart of our movement are three universal and abundant powers that enable us to fulfill our community functions. The three basics of our calling are:

  • The giving of gifts – the gifts of the people in our neighborhood are boundless. Our movement calls forth those gifts so that they can be reciprocated.
  • The power of association – in association we join our gifts together and they become amplified, magnified, productive, and celebrated.
  • Hospitality – we welcome strangers because we value their gifts and need to share our own. Our doors are open. There are no strangers here. Just friends we have not met.
Optional CTA Panel
Our Impact

The Impact of L’Arche is personal, local, regional, national, and global.

Read our Annual Report