Current services and supports for people with an intellectual disability have emerged from a long and complicated history of fear and oppression, charitable beliefs, pseudo-science, human rights and economic priorities that date back hundreds and even thousands of years. Beginning almost 200 years ago, across Canada, and later in British Columbia, the institutional model was originally considered a progressive and compassionate response to meeting the needs of people with disabilities. Despite the failure of institutions in meeting people’s needs, the model has persisted, and people continue to be institutionalized in several provinces. The closure of large institutions in BC in the 1990s was achieved through the perseverance and sustained advocacy organized by family members, service providers, allies in government and especially, people with disabilities themselves. Continuing our conversations about the history, values, and beliefs that guide the movement is vital to sustaining ourselves – and the vision of community living for all.
This two-hour session explores the roots and history of institutionalization of people with disabilities and the emergence of the community living movement in BC and Canada and the perspectives of survivor-activists who have fought and continue to fight for justice for people forced to live in institutions, past and present.
• Some of the beliefs that led to and sustained the institutional model
• The development of institutions in BC and elsewhere
• Key events that inspired the closure of institutions and the community living movement
• Perspectives of survivor-activists who have championed deinstitutionalization and community living
• Some of the current challenges to ensuring everyone's right to live in the community
FSI is unique in Canada and the only grass roots family to family organization that has a broad volunteer base.
FSI SUPPORTS AND SERVICES ARE FREE TO ANY FAMILY