Twitter  Facebook 
Sign up for our newsletter


Posts by Admin User

Community Development Grants 2018/2019 Approved

- by Admin User

CP Association of MB & Inspire
Inclusion Selkirk
Inclusion Winnipeg
Innovative LIFE Options
Manitoba Association of Parent Councils
SpeechWorks Inc.
People First MB/Pulford Community Services/Innovative LIFE
People First of Selkirk
SCE LifeWorks
Univillage Preschool & Infant Centre



- by Admin User


Letter to the Editor - re: KPMG report

- by Admin User

Winnipeg Free Press

Letter to the Editor

The Province of Manitoba recently released the report by KPMG which has made alarming suggestions that could have profound and damaging effects on the thousands of individuals in Manitoba who have an intellectual disability, as well as their families. Although the government says not to worry as the report is only “advice” some of the content is hauntingly similar to messages the community has been hearing from departmental staff for some time.

The most egregious recommendation is the suggestion the department re-visit what is meant by the principle that individuals with disabilities be supported “to live and participate fully in the community”. We would welcome such a discussion on one hand as the funding available does not currently provide adequate support. But in the context of the report it is clearly a call to provide less and is a chilling prospect for affected individuals and families. The American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) says this on the topic.

“Community living and participation means being able to live where and with whom you choose; work and earn a living wage, participate in meaningful community activities based on personal interests; have relationships with friends, family and significant others; be physically and emotionally healthy, be able to worship where and with whom you choose; have opportunities to learn and grow and make informed choices, and carry out the responsibilities of citizenship such as paying taxes and voting”.

We assume the department has some respect for the AAIDD as they have imported an expensive and complex funding model developed by the AAIDD called the Support Intensity Scale. However, there is no evidence provided by the government that the AAIDD funding model as they intend to utilize it will support the AAIDD definition of community living and participation. Indeed the message has been the opposite. Coupled with the KPMG suggestion which presumably the department has had for some time, these messages strike at the heart of the community living movement and threaten to reverse decades of progress for some of our most marginalized citizens. Are these the people on whose backs the government wants to balance its budget?

Service providers and advocates in the community have been engaged with the department for months now and yet still do not know the plan for much of the system. Recent events create a need for there to be concrete and meaningful discussion on this and many other outstanding questions.

We remain optimistic that once government re-visits this question and engages fully with the community they will abandon the regressive path they seem to be on.

Stuart Strijack

Chair of the Board -Community Living Manitoba

Unit 6 – 120 Maryland, Winnipeg MB R3G 1L1




- by Admin User


​Benefits of Inclusive Employment Part 2: Co-Worker Partnerships

- by Admin User

Monday's segment established that individuals with intellectual disabilities are hard-working and appreciate opportunities, resulting in consistent attendance at place of employment.

As emphasis shift toward establishing and promoting inclusive and supportive workplaces, innovative employers are understanding that individuals with intellectual disabilities are more likely to have an outgoing, positive attitude in the workplace. Why? This is simply due to their mentality of appreciation; when an employment opportunity is exciting and valuable to an individual, they will have a positive outlook on that opportunity. Moreover, workplace inclusion is essential for social inclusion. A positive attitude is contagious, and will result in a friendly, outgoing workforce, where co-workers get along and work together. An individual with an intellectual disability is more likely to collaborate and work together with their co-workers, creating an engaging work environment. Moreover, this will build a team-oriented atmosphere, and create a unified workforce. In service orientated industries positive and friendly employee attitudes can drive sales and increase profit margins.

Ready, Willing, and Able (RWA) is a national initiative working together with Community Living Manitoba to promote inclusive employment. RWA has released a list of 7 key benefits that arise out of inclusive employment.

Stay tuned for Part 3.


Employment First is the Focus

- by Admin User

Employment First is the Focus
By: Brian Rochat

Brian Rochat is the Manitoba Labour Market Facilitator for the national Ready, Willing and Able Initiative. A Human Resources Professional drawing from experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, Brian has dedicated his career to diversity and inclusion.

Brian was born in Swaziland and spent his formative years between Canada and South Africa. Early exposure to institutionalized segregation and barriers under Apartheid provided Brian with an interest in diversity, inclusion, employment equity, mediation and conflict resolution.

Brian holds a B.A. from the University of Manitoba and certification in Human Resources Management obtained from Red River College. He brings extensive professional experience through former roles as the Manitoba Program Manager for the Canadian Centre for Diversity, consultant to Canadian Race Relations Foundation, Canadian Centre for Refugee Employment, and Red Threads of Peace.

He has provided diversity and inclusion consulting services to business, communities, government and non-government agencies throughout Canada. With Ready, Willing, and Able Brian is focused on building employer demand to hire people with intellectual disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), by exploring employer labour needs and educating employers about the value of hiring people with intellectual disabilities by addressing the business case.

Through his efforts and engagement, Ready, Willing and Able will serve as a conduit for businesses to access, hire, and leverage the unique skills of the demographic served by Community Living Manitoba.

An Interview with Brian
By: Maia Idzikowski

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Brian Rochat about his involvement with Ready, Willing and Able (RWA).

Brian has been very busy working with employers and businesses to promote inclusive employment. In terms of most current projects, Brian has been working closely with Bison Transportation, City of Winnipeg, Costco, Geller’s Year Round Property Service, Government of Manitoba, and Safeway Manitoba, among others.

Most recently, the City of Winnipeg has hired inclusively. This outcome stems from an RWA organized workshop the City delivered in early in April to highlight employment opportunities and remain committed to hiring more people with disabilities. As a result, the City is creating a more inclusive and equitable workforce.

Geller’s Year Round Property Services has also hired through the Ready, Willing and Able initiative and continues to work with Brian to develop further employment opportunities. Geller’s offers property services such as landscaping in the summer and snow removal in winter. The owner, Matt Bell, is committed to continue inclusive hiring and has been collaborating with RWA.

Costco is rolling out their commitment to inclusive employment by collaborating with RWA to hire inclusively. Specifically, the McGillivray and Regent locations have made the commitment and are in the process of receiving Ready, Willing and Able candidates.

Canada Safeway remains a primary employer for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Safeway is committed to inclusion and diversity within the workforce, and continues to create meaningful opportunities for people on the autism spectrum. On behalf of Community Living Manitoba, RWA is pleased to work with Canada Safeway.

RWA continues to work with Bison Transportation in developing employment opportunities that fit with their inclusive culture and dedication to diversity. They are currently working towards finding their next great employee through RWA.

More specifically, Brian works with employment agencies and businesses to connect individuals with intellectual disabilities to potential employers.

RWA is pleased to recognize Seven Oaks School Division and Superintendent Brian O’Leary. Seven Oaks recognizes that their commitment to inclusive education needs to broaden to inclusive employment. They are currently working with RWA in developing a job outcome for someone with an intellectual disability to start at the beginning of the school year. As an employer of a large workforce, Seven Oaks recognizes that inclusive employment makes practical, business sense and models their values and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

When asked about his most rewarding project, Brian says that in terms of inclusive employment, any outcome is rewarding because hiring an individual with an intellectual disability has the potential to change that individual’s life. With that being said, Brian also mentioned that he is extremely pleased with Costco’s national commitment to diversity through working with RWA.

In addition to talking about the successes of RWA’s partnerships, I asked Brian about the challenges that occur while working with employers. Brian indicated that challenges arise in regards to employer engagement. The employers that are currently working with RWA are more committed to diversity than many employers are. The challenge is identifying employers through engagement and outreach. There are many employers dedicated to inclusion; it’s just difficult to find them. The biggest challenge is that many people, not just employers, carry bias and misconceptions towards the varying abilities and strengths of people with autism and other intellectual disabilities.

In terms of schools and post-secondary education, from a policy perspective, the focus is not on employment. In Brian’s opinion, employment should be the first priority. The approach should be that employment is the first objective.

Brian and I also talked about the steps businesses can take to be more inclusive. As a start, employers can think about the different jobs/positions within their organization. They also have to understand that job seekers with disabilities or on the autism spectrum come with different strengths and skills just like any other job seeker. People with an intellectual disability can not only fill a position, but can also excel in it. The position can be anything from cleaning to data entry and advanced accounting, and inclusive employment can provide a sensible labour force solution to the employer.

Finally, I asked Brian to share the one thing that everyone needs to know about inclusive employment. Brian elaborated that, in the end, it boils down to the fact that inclusive employment is good for business. Employers often think of inclusive employment as something that will cost them money. But the reality is that hiring inclusively is proven to reduce turnover and lead to consistent attendance. When inclusive employment galvanizes positivity within the workplace, then employees take pride in the job. In turn, this increases organizational loyalty. In a team orientated environment, it can lead to greater co-worker partnerships. Also, it enhances the employer’s public image, and the presentation of a diverse workforce to consumers and public often leads to greater consumer loyalty and profits.

In closing, inclusive employment is the next step in ensuring an inclusive community. If you would like to get in contact with Brian Rochat,


Call: (204) 781-0582


A Letter to Parents

- by Admin User

By Nicole Steinke

I have been doing a lot of thinking about what we go through as parents/caregivers of children with disabilities. I would just like to share a few thoughts with you about being a mom. Although, I say mom, I do mean any parent or caregiver.

Firstly, I think every mom holds herself to the highest standard possible and sometimes to impossible standards. No matter what, we love our children whether they have special needs or not. That being said, some days are harder than others.

Society also seems to hold us to a higher standard, some saying things like "I could never have as much patience" or "I could never handle that behaviour". However, if it were their child they would, because there is nothing like a parent's love.

I know many parents, including myself, have dark days where I feel I cannot handle one more day, that all the patience and energy is gone. Sometimes I think the worst part of that feeling is allowing ourselves to admit it, because after all aren't we supposed to be amazing?

Somehow though we find the strength, energy and patience to go on and continue to try to do everything possible to help our kids. I think one of the things that gives us strength is when you find someone who truly understands our situations and can be a non-judgemental ear.

We are constantly bombarded with judgment in society and even when we are not, sometimes we feel it anyway because we are judging ourselves so harshly. For example, if our children are overweight, it's because of the food we are feeding them, not because their particular syndrome happens to cause it. If they act inappropriately in public and have a meltdown, it's because we obviously haven't taught them the appropriate way to act and not because they are overwhelmed and cannot help but act out.

Once a specialist told me that no child should ever get to the point of a meltdown. This was a powerful statement because it gave me hope but also made me feel like I have not prepared my child properly and therefore meltdowns are a part of our everyday life (ie. failure).

I understood the thinking behind her statement, however, upon further thought I realized that she just didn't get it. Simple, I know, but true. Some people get it and some people don't.

In her world, she was able to observe and methodically come up with causes and solutions. We could probably do that too if we didn't have other children needing (and fighting) for our attention and if we didn't have never ending laundry and cleaning to do. If we didn't have the silly urge to have a normal and complete conversation. If we didn't have constant doubt about what our child does understand and doesn't understand, which leads to inconsistency, which leads to more self-doubt and more bad behaviour. Maybe if we didn't have jobs to support our families and to feel like we exist in this world as more than just a mom. And I don't mean "just a mom", cause there is no word that is more all-encompassing than that one.

Okay, now for the positives!

We ARE strong and smart enough to do this. Whatever you happen to believe in, there seems to be a reason for everything.

Our children ended up with us because they needed us and we needed them. No one will ever love our children more than we do, so if we lose our patience one day, it is because we don't have any left. If we are too tired to answer the same question over and over again, it is because we are too tired and not because we are bad parents.

If we are tired of putting a smile on our faces every day, it is okay not to once in a while. It does not mean that we will not smile again, only that we are out at the current moment.

We will get up again and again whether we are fighting the system or our own self-doubt, we will keep going.

Even though, we see the ignorance and cruelty of society we need to realize there are far more caring, kind and understanding people out there that will treat our children with respect and the understanding that they deserve. As long as we surround ourselves with people who add positive things to our lives, there is nothing that will keep us down.

There are people out there that have been down the road we are travelling and we can get knowledge and strength from them. If you know someone like that, make sure you learn all you can.

About 10 years ago, a good friend of mine left a book by Erma Bombeck at my back door. The page was folded over to a part in the book where she discussed mothers. This story touched me and still does. I hope you'll get something out of it as well. If you know someone that may benefit from this story, please pass it on to them.

The Special Mother
by Erma Bombeck

Did you ever wonder how mothers of disabled children were chosen?

Somehow I visualize God hovering over the earth selecting his instruments of propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"This one gets a daughter. The Patron saint will be Cecelia"

"This one gets twins. The Patron saint will be Matthew"

"This one gets a son. The Patron saint.....give her Gerard. He's used to profanity"

Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a disabled child".

The angel is curious. "Why this one God? She's so happy."

"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a disabled child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel!"

"But has she patience?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of sorrow and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she'll handle it. I watched her today, she has that feeling of self and independence that is so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has his own world. She has to make him live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."

God smiles, "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect - she has just enough selfishness."

The angel gasps - "Selfishness? is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally she won't survive. Yes here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word'. She will never consider any 'step' ordinary. When her child says "Momma" for the first time she will be present at a miracle and will know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see...ignorance, cruelty and prejudice...and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as if she is here by my side."

"And what about her Patron saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.

God smiles "A mirror will suffice”.

~ Nicole Steinke is married with two wonderful daughters, the oldest lives with autism. She is a direct support worker, Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Instructor and Board Member with Community Living Manitoba


The Complete Classroom: Combining Challenge & Inclusion

- by Admin User

River East Parent Support Network (REPSN)
May Meeting
Date: May 25, 2015 Monday
Time: 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Place: Access River East, 975 Henderson Hwy., Room 107

RSVP to Dawn Gates at

The Complete Classroom: Combining Challenge & Inclusion
How does inclusive education work? Can we have classrooms that address the needs of ALL learners, without lowering expectations for success? How can we create an understanding that everyone belongs?

The Three-Block Model of Universal Design is one good answer to those questions, and it's being applied in many Manitoba classrooms.

Come and find out what Universal Design for Learning is all about, and what role parents can play in working towards successfully inclusive schools.

Guest Speaker: Deborah Dykstra

Deborah has 14 years of teaching experience in Alberta and Manitoba, and has completed her post-baccalaureate diploma in Inclusive Education at the University of Manitoba. She has also obtained certification on Person-Centered Planning with PATH AND MAPS. Deborah is currently a board member of Community Living Manitoba and the Manitoba Alliance for Universal Design for Learning. She is also a founding member of the Association for Developmental Autism Programs and Therapies (ADAPT). Deborah is the mother of two school-age children with autism.

RSVP to Dawn Gates at


Autistic boy not allowed to attend graduation

- by Admin User

Looks like the path to full inclusion in education has taken a step backward in Quebec, at least at one school:

A Senneville mother is fighting for her autistic son's right to attend his diploma ceremony at Felix-Leclerc school in Pointe-Claire, Que
When she approached her son's teacher in February to discuss how Trevor could celebrate finishing at Félix-Leclerc, the teacher was supportive of the idea of Trevor attending graduation. However, the administration said weeks later that he was not invited because he wasn't in the academic high school program

While it demonstrates that this school's administration is dreadfully out of touch, the commenters on this story are extremely supportive of Trevor being included. It seems pretty clear that consensus among the general public, in this case, is on the side of inclusive education.

Click here to read the full story.

Be sure to read the comments and add your own on our Facebook page. Let the Félix-Leclerc school administration know how unacceptable their decision is.


May is "Leave a Legacy" Month

- by Admin User

May is "Leave a Legacy" month.

To "leave a legacy" is to know you have made an amazing gift to Community Living and our efforts to see all people with intellectual disabilities fully included and valued in society will be supported long into the future. While we are happy to support your gift planning in any way possible, we encourage you to consult with your legal or financial advisor about the best giving option for you.

Generous and perceptive donors will want to help Community Living Manitoba continue to promote inclusiveness for all, well into the future. You can also stand proudly with us.

Making a legacy gift can be very rewarding. With a little advance planning, you can demonstrate your enduring commitment to Community Living Manitoba and the many programs and services it helps make possible.

You can give:

Appreciated Securities – Tax Preferred Giving
Funding a charitable gift with appreciated securities (publicly listed stocks, mutual fund units, etc.) is often a better option for funding an outright gift than writing a cheque, because the capital gain in a gift of qualifying securities is now completely exempt from taxation.

Life Insurance – A Flexible, Cost-Effective Way to Give Generously
When you designate Community Living Manitoba as the owner and beneficiary of a new or existing life insurance policy -- on which you continue to pay premiums — you receive a charitable receipt for the fair market value (FMV) of the policy and for all future premiums paid. However, if you choose to name Community Living Manitoba as a beneficiary only, then the policy proceeds will be paid directly to Community Living Manitoba upon death and your estate will receive the donation receipt. The generous tax credits that result can then be used by your estate to offset taxes owing on up to 100% of your taxable income.

Bequests – The Simplest Way to Give
By naming Community Living Manitoba as a beneficiary in your Will, you can make a significant gift that might not have been otherwise affordable during your lifetime. A bequest gift will also generate significant tax credits that will help offset the final taxes payable by your estate.

Hosting Events
Are you interested in hosting an event to raise funds for Community Living Manitoba? Whether it’s a special event or payroll deductions we would be happy to help.

For other ways to support Community Living Manitoba please check out the "Ways to Give" section of our website.

If you would like to learn more about how you can leave your legacy, please contact our office today at or call 204-786-1607 OR click the Donate Today button below to give immediately.


« Newer posts