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Our beliefs

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Our guiding philosophies, integration and inclusion, mean more than mere tolerance for people with different needs. Integration and inclusion must involve a belief in equality and the spirit of meaningful and valued participation.

In our society, having a disability has long meant that many people think of you as different in a negative way. Our culture values productivity, skills, attractiveness, intelligence and wealth. But people with disabilities and their families believe society is whole only when all of its members are valued.

  • Philosophies like normalization, integration and inclusion all boil down to a few simple tenets. These philosophies encourage us to emphasize not how we are different, but how we are more alike as human beings, whatever our differences. We do not ignore the needs of an individual, yet we recognize that we all have the same basic needs and rights.
  • We pay attention to what people can do, rather than to only what they can't.
  • We acknowledge the needs and challenges faced by someone with a disability. We use creativity and flexibility to support that person rather than blaming the individual, giving up or relegating them to a life we would not accept for ourselves.
  • We place an emphasis on inclusive environments and experiences where we can be together and learn from one another. We assume all people can and want to learn.
  • We assume that by separating and excluding any person whose differences may be challenging, we are missing an opportunity for society to embrace the gifts of all its members.

The Canadian Association for Community Living Values and Beliefs

  1. All members of the human family are full persons. Our human essence cannot be reduced to words, labels, categories, definitions or genetic patterns. Every person is unique. No one can be replaced or copied. All persons are ineffable.
  2. All persons are entitled to respect. Respect requires recognition of and concern for the dignity of every person. Dignity is fragile. It must be protected from all harm.
  3. All persons have inherent dignity. Dignity belongs to us just because we exist. It is not something we earn or receive.
  4. All persons have inalienable dignity. Dignity cannot rightfully be ignored, diminished or taken away.
  5. All persons have equal dignity. Dignity does not depend upon physical, intellectual or other characteristics. Neither does it depend upon the opinions that other people have about these characteristics.
  6. All persons have inherent and equal worth. Our value as persons is neither earned nor accumulated. It is unrelated to health status or any genetic or other personal characteristic.
  7. All persons have inherent capacity for growth and expression. Every person has the right to be nourished physically, intellectually, socially, emotionally and spiritually.
  8. All persons are entitled to equal access and opportunity. Equality demands protection from all forms of discrimination or harm, and access to the supports necessary to enable equal participation.

CACL Mission

Based on its belief in the dignity and value of all persons, CACL's core mission is to ensure that people with intellectual disabilities:

  • have the same rights and access to choice, services and supports as all other persons
  • have the same opportunities as others to live in freedom and dignity, and have the needed supports to do so
  • are able to articulate and realize their aspirations and their rights.

CACL is committed to defending the rights and advocating for the interests of individuals with intellectual disabilities, and to promoting research and information that will further these objectives.

Families are at the heart of the Canadian Association for Community Living and its federation. CACL recognizes that its mission cannot be achieved unless families of people with intellectual disabilities are valued, given status, and acknowledged for the central role they play in ensuring dignity, rights, and inclusion for a family member with a disability.

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