Citizen Advocacy Ottawa, founded in 1974, is one of the few agencies supporting people of all ages across the disability spectrum. We are a place where people with disabilities and their families feel welcomed, safe, not judged, able to speak their minds and where they receive the recognition, guidance and support they are seeking. At Citizen Advocacy Ottawa we recognize the resilience of individuals with disabilities and their families as they struggle for access to support and services. We look for innovative and creative ways to build healthy, safe and inclusive futures in our community.
We are an inclusive community that welcomes, values and supports the diversity, participation and contribution of its citizens, including those who live with disabilities and their families.
To deliver support and advocacy that will enhance quality of life, socially-valued roles and choice for people living with disabilities and their families.
The governance and operations of Citizen Advocacy Ottawa are inspired by the following values:
- All people have a voice and will be respected and involved in making their own choices.
- All people have abilities and contributions that can be shared and recognized in the community.
- People with disabilities and their families will have access to the support they require as they move through life transitions.
- Caring and meaningful relationships are the key to safety, security and a good life.
- Intentional contributions of the community and individual citizens through freely-given friendship and support, ensure and safeguard the health, well-being, self-sufficiency and quality of life for people with disabilities.
- Individual citizens are necessary to advocate for opportunities, possibilities and the safety of people with disabilities.
Independence: Citizens who are engaged as advocates and network members must be free to develop a primary loyalty to the person with a disability and to act as independently as possible in meeting and supporting the needs of that person.
Loyalty to the person: It is essential that citizens meet the person where they are and move in the direction chosen by the person.
Program independence: In order to support the development of effective advocacy relationships, the advocacy office itself must be independent, able to act independently of the human services system.
Staff role: Citizen Advocacy staff create and support, not supplant or “take over and direct” relationships that are intentional, freely given and meaningful.
Diversity of needs and roles: Citizen Advocacy seeks diversity among the people it invites into relationships. This includes seeking people with diverse capacities, ages and living situations, forming relationships of different types and purposes, and seeking citizens from all segments of community life.
Positive messages/imagery: Citizen Advocacy should be a model of positive interpretations of people with disabilities.