February 2015

Advocacy: Assisted Suicide Ruling Released
CACL: What's At Stake in Friday's Supreme Court Decision on Assisted Suicide

Feb 6, 2015
Whatever decision the Supreme Court of Canada makes in the Carter vs. Canada ruling to be released on Friday - to hold the line against assisted suicide in the Criminal Code, or to strike it down - the public standards of what it means to live a dignified life are at stake. At the core is a question about what it means to live a meaningful life until the end - and in our Canadian society, a decision from the court cannot reflect the complexity of these choices in anyone's individual life.

If the Court strikes down the prohibition against assisted suicide, the fears of some will be assuaged by the knowledge that, at a time of their choosing, they may seek state-sanctioned intervention to cause their death. But for a growing group of Canadians whose daily lives fundamentally depend on the personal care and support of others, their fears are only heightened by such an outcome.

What is the basis for this fear? For those who receive care, for those who provide care, and for those who advocate for equality and inclusion alongside a wide variety of Canadians, the risk is palpable. Dependence upon others will come to be seen as a suffering too great to bear. The risk is that in private conversations, in policy choices and in adjudicated determinations, dependence will come to be equated with indignity when actually it is an essential part of living. And the larger fear is that the shape of such a life will become a good reason to seek its termination.

The risk of this cultural slide may well present the biggest challenge to Canadian values in our generation, the underlying value of an individual life.

Assisted Suicide Decision Changes Landscape, Makes Disability a Defining Issue  

Feb 13, 2015   

The decision of the Supreme Court fundamentally alters end-of-life for all Canadians. The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) are profoundly disappointed by last week's ruling and extremely concerned about the implications of the ruling.

An immensely important discussion must now begin with Canadians and politicians at all levels, with civil society, health professions and the legal community. We start from the premise that the lives of Canadians with disabilities are worthy of the utmost respect. Such respect, regrettably, cannot be taken for granted.

What happens now? In the days ahead, members of CCD and CACL will review the judgment in detail, seeking to grasp its full implication and to comprehend the Court's dramatic departure from a legal precedent established 22 years ago in Rodriguez v British Columbia. And in the months and years to come, we will redouble our efforts to secure conditions of equal respect and robust citizenship for all Canadians with disabilities. The stakes are higher now than ever before.

There are difficult days ahead. The Canadian disability movement remains united in our claim that the lives of people with disabilities  matter. We speak with one voice in our condemnation of all forms of discrimination and abuse. We affirm together our entitlement to live good lives in places and conditions of our choosing. Consistent with our long history of fearless and principled advocacy, we now join with fellow citizens across the full spectrum of views on end-of-life in an urgent call for universal, unencumbered access to the highest possible standard of palliative care in Canada.

Via CACL Blog & Community Living Ontario Weekly Update - February 13, 2015
Developmental Services Spotlight on Transformation - Issue #46 February 2015 
Promoting Employment - Improving Services 

Thirty-eight projects were selected to receive funding under the new Developmental Services Employment and Modernization Fund.


The selected projects will promote employment in the community for adults with developmental disabilities, and support person-centred and sustainable services.  Read more... 

Minister of Community & Social Services, Helena Jaczek Visits The Woollen Mill
February 5, 2015 --- Jeff Leal and Minister Jaczek discuss Innovative Housing Solutions with Residents at Woollen Mill
Toronto Teen with Down syndrome Inspires with 'All of Me' Cover
A 13-year-old Toronto girl with Down syndrome is making waves in the entertainment industry after her cover of John Legend's hit "All of Me" went viral.

Madison Tevlin recently covered the chart-topping song with the help of her vocal coach. The video was uploaded to YouTubelast month and has since had more than 4.5 million views.

"I was not expecting this. It was so crazy," Tevlin told CTV News Channel Tuesday, referencing the positive feedback she's received about her performance. And it's not just Tevlin who has been kept busy over the past few days. Tevlin's mother, Grace, has been fielding media calls from people who are interested in interviewing her daughter.

"Everyone has been calling my mom," Tevlin told CTV Toronto on Wednesday. "They want to interview me." Prior to filming the video, Tevlin said she practiced "a lot" to perfect her performance. She says she hopes the video will reach 21 million views by March 21 in honour of World Down Syndrome Day.

Unlike most teenagers, however, singing is more than about hitting the right key for Tevlin. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, children and adults with the condition generally face communication challenges, such as composing sentences. Tevlin's vocal coach Marla Joy adds that people with Down syndrome usually also have tonal issues.

"Down Syndrome children should have low, monotone, gruffy voices. They have problems with hearing and shouldn't be able to memorize as easily," she told CTV Toronto on Monday. But those challenges have not stopped Tevlin from breaking out into song whenever she can.
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