Diversity and Inclusion

Inclusion of People with Intellectual Disabilities

Cooper Institute works in partnership with several organizations to advocate for the rights of men and women with intellectual disabilities - the organizations are PEI People First, PEI Citizen Advocacy and the PEI Association for Community Living.

Partners for Change

Partners for Change is a coalition of community organizations, service providers and individuals, all of whom have an interest in supporting people with intellectual disabilities to live as independently as possible, to have their rights respected and to be fully included in their communities.

The goals of Partners for Change are:

  • to advocate for adequate supports, good quality program planning and resources to meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities and allow them a life of dignity,
  • to ensure that adults with intellectual disabilities are supported to live independently in places of their choosing, and
  • to advocate for more supportive and accessible housing across the province.

Our membership includes advocacy organizations, service providers, community activists, educators and consultants with a wide range of experience working with and for people with intellectual disabilities. The list of members includes:

  • Community Connections, Inc (Summerside)
  • Cooper Institute
  • Holland College Human Services Program
  • Joan McDonald, Inverlie Consulting
  • PEI Association for Community Living
  • PEI Citizen Advocacy
  • PEI People First

PEI Coalition for Supported Decision-Making

The PEI Coalition for Supported Decision-Making came together in 2005, to amplify the voices of organizations working to have the province of Prince Edward Island introduce supported decision-making legislation. Find out more on facebook: PEI Coalition for Supported Decision-Making

The organizational members include:

  • Alzheimer Society of PEI
  • Autism Society of PEI
  • Cooper Institute
  • PEI Association of Community Living
  • PEI Brain Injury Association
  • PEI Cerebral Palsy Association
  • PEI Citizen Advocacy
  • PEI Council of People with Disabilities
  • PEI People First
  • Seniors United Network
  • Stars for Life Foundation

About Supported Decision-Making

There are many good examples of SDM legislation. Both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (which was ratified by Canada) clearly state that all people regardless of ability/disability must be treated equally before the law. The Convention also requires that state parties provide supports to enable individuals with disabilities to maintain their legal identity.

PEI first introduced the idea of supported decision-making in the 1990’s and in in 1996, an Act reached 3rd reading in the PEI Legislature. Since then – over the past twenty years – several attempts to re-create legislation have been made. In each case, community groups were asked for their input.

Since the ratification of the UN Convention by Canada in 2012, all provinces and territories are required to develop SDM legislation in order for Canada to be in compliance with the convention. The province of PEI has committed to do this, and has included members of the community in its efforts over the past 2 or 3 years. A government/community committee met on a regular basis until 2015 and plans are in the works for that committee to reconvene.

In 2017, the Coalition for Supported Decision-Making held a public workshop called Who Decides? with guest speaker Joanne Taylor from Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry - the organization in British Columbia that provides information, engages community and helps people to make supported decision-making agreements under the BC Representation Agreement Act. Find more information about the workshop in the report.