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Independent facilitation and person-directed planning is a process which develops a community-based network of supports for individuals living with a disability. The essence of independent facilitation and person-directed planning is to support people with varying abilities to exercise their rights, to express their choices and have their decisions respected throughout the entire process.*

Independent facilitation and person-directed planning is about creating and implementing a blueprint for future action: the predominant focus is on the nature and quality of the planning process that is undertaken and not solely on the resulting written plan.*

*Adapted from Ministry of Community and Social Services Person-Directed Planning and Facilitation Guide Exit Disclaimer   2013

Citizen Advocacy has assembled a talented team of skilled, curious and nurturing Independent Facilitators.

The independent facilitation team have well-developed skills as “community connectors” including community mapping, identifying community options as a first resource and connecting people to community-based resources and networks.*

To further hone their skills and develop their practice, the team meets regularly to deepen their learning and share tools, strategies and techniques they have gained while working with individuals, family members and support circle members.

You are encouraged to review the biographies of our Independent Facilitators.  We are confident that you will find one that best fits your needs and personality.

*Adapted from Ministry of Community and Social Services Person-Directed Planning and Facilitation Guide 2013

Donna Rietschlin: Meeting Beth changed my life! She was shorter than me, 3 weeks older than me and she had just moved into an apartment with a friend. That was in 1985! Where does 30 years go?


We had mutual friends and were part of the same community in SW Ontario. We enjoyed picnics, vacations, interesting work and coffee with the occasional chocolate donut. She had a boyfriend who wanted to marry her; I was married and had 5 kids. Beth became a sister and mentor.

When the person who supported Beth and her roommate on weekday mornings was no longer available, Beth asked me to apply to the organization supporting her. I did and she taught me how to walk ‘with’ her and offer support. She taught me that her life had to be lived her way.

My family life is rich. My husband and I have 7 children and 5 grandchildren. Our youngest daughter is a woman with Asperger’s Syndrome. She is a talented artist, blogger, clothing designer, writer and editor. She has an amazing voice and sings beautifully. She helps me develop resilience and curiosity and my own artistic abilities.

Volunteering has always been important to me. I’ve clowned during the opening of a new school, been a founding mother of an organization that supports women and children fleeing abuse, and been a member of various councils, steering committees, advocacy initiatives and faith-based groups. Currently I welcome someone one weekend a month to share home with my family, give the reflection at my Church 3-4 times/year and welcome a group of seniors with various disabilities at least once a month to have lunch with me in my home.

My work life has been connected to people living with various challenges, often those with intellectual disabilities. I facilitated plans with folks from Oxford Regional Center so they could move on to places of their choice, created circles of support for young adults transitioning from school, facilitated plans with adults living in nursing homes to come back to their community, worked with 2 boards as their employee. In the early 90’s I was a support and ally of people in London ON dreaming of creating l’Arche there. While continuing to work with families at Family Supports-VON I supported the steering committee and then the newly-formed community. In 2001 my family moved to Ottawa and I became Coordinator of Support for Core Members at l’Arche Ottawa and subsequently the ED/Community Leader. Throughout these various roles I’ve stayed connected at the personal level with friends living with intellectual disabilities. I’ve had opportunity to advocate and plan with folks on the professional as well as the personal level. I believe each person has gifts to share, is worthy of respect and that we need one another.

I believe that every person has the desire and right to belong and that belonging is more than inclusion. I love getting to know folks and their families/circles and facilitating plans that create possibilities.

Mac Hiltz: I have been a Social Worker over thirty years, and throughout that time I have had the privilege of working very closely with vulnerable children and adults. On a personal level, this experience really allowed me to build upon my existing strengths, and as an extension of that, it also helped the individuals and families with whom I worked realize and develop their own unique strengths in turn.

I sincerely believe in focusing on people’s strengths and capabilities as a way of creating opportunity and exploring new possibilities. By caring for people, showing them that they matter and helping them to see the positive power that family and community networks can offer, we can work together to create life plans as unique as each individual. I’ve often been told that working with me is fun and insightful. I like to take a very practical approach to my work, and I also enjoy creative ways of collaborating by frequently using humour and sharing stories from my own personal experience. I have found this to be hugely valuable in facilitating the planning process as it creates a very comfortable and trusting environment for self discovery.

Now retired, I volunteer at a group home for adults and a hospice for children. Sharing my time in this way has really helped me to remain grounded and keep a mindful perspective on life and on what really matters. I was raised in a family where giving back and helping one another was one of our most important family values. Being an Independent Facilitator is a wonderful opportunity for me to continue to contribute and give back.

In addition to having a very rewarding career and a wealth of life experience, my professional credentials as a Social Worker have essentially provided me with the solid foundation needed to do this important type of work. I am delighted to be part of the Independent Facilitators’ Network and to have the opportunity to continue helping people to realize their dreams, appreciate their individual strengths and explore all the exciting new possibilities that life has to offer. I believe that individuals and their families have the desire, knowledge and capacity to realize their dreams. They simply need a helping hand to guide them along the way.

Emily Taylor-King:is passionate about communication and connection. A trained mediator, facilitator and coach, she feels most at home when helping vulnerable people give voice to their experiences and dreams. Emily’s facilitation style is collaborative; informed by both Insight Mediation (a style of conflict resolution that puts emphasis on transforming conflict through learning) and Social Role Valorization (a lens for achieving the good life through valued social roles). She has training in facilitation tools such as PATHS, MAPS, circles and core gifts. She specializes in graphic facilitation to make meetings more accessible and fun with the use of visuals.

Emily moved to Ottawa from Nova Scotia to work for the public service, but quickly branched into the not-for profit sector. In 2010 she found her true calling of working with people with developmental disabilities.   Prior to working with Citizen Advocacy, Emily worked for L’Arche Ottawa in a number of roles. She is also currently on the roster of skills assessors for Carleton’s Diploma in Conflict Resolution.

Emily lives in Barrhaven with her husband Rob, her step kids Avery, Mikey and Rosie, and miniature schnauzers Buster and Chloe.

Manon Leblond-Leduc: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall.

I came across this quote many years ago and strongly believe that it has guided me to want to make a difference in my community.

10 years ago my career started with supporting at risk children, youth and their families in Ottawa.  As a founding member of a leadership program for Ottawa’s most at risk youth, the main focus of the program was helping youth envision life goals and plan for their future education and career paths. This experience enabled me to become a strong advocate for youth and their families within the City of Ottawa.

During the past year I had the privilege of working in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I worked for an agency where we practiced the teachings of Person-Directed Planning and Gentle Teaching.  These planning and teaching methods inform the work I do to this day.

I have had the honour to volunteer and work within the not-for-profit sector at community and residential organizations.  These positions have involved supporting people with developmental disabilities, mental health issues, communication disorders, and learning exceptionalities.

I have recently purchased a home with my fiancé south of Ottawa.  We share our home with our beautiful dog Scarlett and our silly cat Lily. In our spare time we enjoy road trips, camping, and renovating our new home.

I look forward to supporting individuals with their families, friends and support circles. By thinking outside the box I aim to help individuals discover their values, talents and interests in addition to fulfilling their personal goals.

Joyce Lundrigan: When I reflect on my career I realize I have worked in social services for over two decades.

During this time I have worked in many different areas within the social services field, although my focus was primarily in the area of mental health and homelessness.  For much of my career, I worked in supportive housing for individuals struggling with a variety of barriers to ensure they had stable housing and achieve a fuller life.

In 2007, I switched careers and began working at Citizen Advocacy as a facilitator with the Real Plans for Real Life program, a person directed planning program geared toward people living with intellectual disabilities.  This program ended in March 2012, but I still carry the beliefs, values and skills developed during my time as a facilitator.  I’ve learned the importance for a person regardless of their struggles and issues to have the power to make their own choices, the value of relationships, and how planning a good life and feeling included is much more than just waiting for the right service.

The five years I spent as a facilitator were truly rewarding, as I was able to focus on helping vulnerable people voice their dreams and wants in life and advocate for their choices.  Although a person’s journey is often filled with challenges and barriers, ensuring a secure network of people surrounding a person eases the frustration.  And, of course, having people in your life to help celebrate the successes makes life more enjoyable!  Since the program ended, I’ve been involved with Lifetime Networks Ottawa as a community connector.  My role is helping a young woman build a network of supports to ensure she learns the skills to live more independently in the future.

As my own personal journey continues as an independent facilitator with Citizen Advocacy, I look forward to helping more individuals within urban Ottawa discover their gifts, talents, and voice.

Diane Thornton:is a counsellor and consultant in private practice.   She has provided consultation services in collaboration with:  mental health professionals, support group leaders, education staff, employers, community support workers, lawyers, international adoption agency staff, children’s aid workers, social service staff, foster parents, faith-group leaders and builders (specializing in accessibility construction and design).

Diane holds a Master of Theological Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University (1985) and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Guelph, (1978). She served as the Director of the Hamilton Conference Leadership Development program for Youth of the United Church of Canada (1977, 1978, and 1980). In 1984, she was a counsellor for the first Ottawa-based Christian Horizons residential home for adults with physical, developmental, intellectual and psychiatric disabilities. From 1986 to 1988, she served on a clinical treatment team for the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa-Carleton Residential Treatment facility for children with developmental disorders. She provided individual and couple counselling with Family Builders, Ottawa from 1988-1990 and also supported Special Needs Foster Care providers. From 1990-2014, she supported families welcoming internationally adopted children with special needs.  She has been in private practice since 1990 and is a member of the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists (OACCPP).

Diane has lived in Ottawa since 1983.  She has been married for twenty-five years and has two adult children.  She and her family are friends of L’Arche, founded by Jean Vanier, winner of the 2015 Templeton Prize. L’Arche is an “international network of communities where people with and without disabilities live and work together as peers” (Templeton Prize, 2015).

Erin Levesque: I am elated to join the team at Citizen Advocacy as an Independent Facilitator.  For as long as I can remember I have always been interested in communication and the manner in which we relate to one another. Communication for me is the key to so many doors in life; relationships, connections to community, meaningful roles, and the world around us.

Born and raised in Ottawa, shortly after Graduating as a DSW from Algonquin College, I moved to Melbourne Australia where I spent the past 16 years working alongside people and their families in the areas of communication, and community capacity building. Communication support played such an integral role to access for people and their families. Together, we looked at many different ways that their ideas, dreams and life ambitions could be shared and expressed.

During my time living in Australia, when I was not out and enjoying beach life, I undertook a Graduate Diploma in Social Sciences in Human Services Counselling, and began assisting people with complex communication needs to explore specialized counselling support.

I am enjoying re connecting with my family and my hometown and relishing in all of the changes and newness in my life that comes with moving across the world!  My passions include music (the more electronic the better!) travel and studying different languages. Last year I began studying Arabic, and will continue this learning in Ottawa.

I look forward to connecting with you and learning more about how I can assist you to think deeper about the life you want and aspire to live.

Karla Hough: I am driven by the notion that disability does not define a person or what they can do, but rather is simply another characteristic that makes them who they are: like green eyes, blonde hair or a good sense of humour. I find joy in supporting people through their journey to discover strengths and talents and then moving with them towards their dream of a good life. I understand the power of community and social inclusion in creating networks and opportunities. I believe that everyone has something to share with the people around them, to make the world a better place, and has a right to choose happiness in the life they live.

I have been working with people with developmental disabilities for over 13 years, providing employment and academic supports. I am passionate about discovering the strengths in the community and using this to build capacity for all of its members. I enjoy using technology as a tool to exploring ones skills and aspirations to make planning for the future more accessible and, most importantly, fun.

I have recently returned ‘home’ to the Ottawa area after living and working in the GTA for the past ten years. I live with my amazing husband and our two crazy sons in the south end of Ottawa. I am excited to be part of the talented Independent Facilitator & Person-Directed Planning team here at Citizen Advocacy. It is a privilege to be invited to share in the journey with individuals, their families and support networks and their communities.

Hélène Courschene: I am thrilled to be part of this dedicated and skilled team of facilitators. My experience supporting people with developmental disabilities has always been rooted in the belief that each person can and should be making their own decisions, and be an active participant about what happens in their everyday life. In my various roles as facilitator, I wish to continue to walk alongside and assist people who may need support to contribute to their own personal and community life.

What do I bring to the team? Well, I realize looking back that my first experience dates from a little more than 30 years ago in the early 1980s, when I was a young student at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. I happened to take a summer job as an assistant counsellor on a Francophone ward of the Rideau Regional Centre. Little did I realize back then, that I would be witnessing an important time in the history of services for people with developmental disabilities in Ontario, as I happened to be there when it was officially announced that the provincial institutions would be closed in 25 years.

Since then of course services continued to evolve and I again happened to participate in this change as a planning facilitator in the late 1990’s, by facilitating planning and transition for some of the very same people I had met 15 years earlier living in the facility. So it only seems natural that since 2012, I have acquired training and experience as a facilitator true to the purpose of being person-directed, and have practiced values of self-determination and community. I have assisted people, in French and in English, who either lived supported by a community agency, with their family or in their own apartment.

For 14 years, I worked as a bilingual Behaviour Consultant at the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre. Assessment and Behavioural Treatement plans were developed to support children and adults with developmental disabilities (including people with Autism spectrum disorder or mental health issues) and behavioural challenges. I gained many skills through this employment opportunity, supporting hundreds of children and adults with disabilities, and their families, to help increase their quality of life.

I am from a Francophone background, from the Nicolet area (in Quebec) – though I was born in Labrador City! I have resided in the Ottawa/Gatineau area for 20 years. I am mom to two teenage boys and we have a silly cat named Hippie. We enjoy camping and have experienced many Ontario National parks. I’ve been a Running Room 5k clinic instructor and continue to enjoy running. I ride my bicycle or motorcycle in summer, and I like to garden. I also quite enjoy travelling and have, over the years, been to every continent except Antartica – but I was very close! I’ve been taking Spanish lessons which will help me communicate more fully in some of my future travels.

I am excited to be part of the facilitation team at Citizen Advocacy as a bilingual facilitator for people residing in the Ottawa area. My work and personal experiences continue to strengthen my belief that every person can be a valued member of community through endless possibilities.

Olivia Shaw:I am someone with an innate curiosity about people. This curiosity manifests itself in a variety of means: I am a great fan of people watching, and am an avid and keen listener: I love listening to the stories of others. A large part of my curiosity stems from my own genuine wonderment that behind each person is an intricate and marbled story filled with details, experiences, gifts and strengths that have ultimately contributed to the person before me. That we each go about our day-to-day routines, with such complex and rich experiences guiding us in our choices and paths walked, I think, is what makes us as humans so unique and fascinating.

I am really excited to join the Independent Planning Facilitation team at Citizen Advocacy. Throughout my personal and professional life, helping and working with people is something in which I have maintained an intense and strong passion. I know what it is to step beyond one’s comfort zone, and did my own leap into the unknown when, after graduating from the University of Ottawa, I left for New Zealand to complete my teaching degree. I knew no one there. I had some travel experience abroad, but always with family. This was a big step for me!  It was a fantastic experience that allowed me to truly test out the waters of independence and establish my own footing in the world. Upon my return home, I was offered a grade 3 teaching position on a remote First Nation’s reserve in Northwestern Ontario: more unchartered territory for me. My experience living and working in Grassy Narrows was a tremendous opportunity for learning. Not only did I learn about a different culture, but I also learned to think outside the proverbial box. I came to value and appreciate the idea that doing something differently than what the norm dictates is not necessarily a bad thing: it is often something that can have amazing results. I learned that flexibility and open-mindedness were invaluable tools in working alongside others. Being active in a role where I can advocate for others is something is synonymous with my own beliefs of equality, in rights and in opportunities, and in which I have a vested interest. I feel that I bring a lot of experience and positive qualities to the team, but perhaps most importantly, I bring enthusiasm, kindness and a genuine interest in the well-being of others.

Leonard Minni: I began my career as a graphic artist working for non-profit organisations in Rwanda, in the fields of health and education. In 1997, I was awarded a scholarship to study Communications and Art at the Ateneo De Manila University in the Philippines for two years. I continued my studies at the University of Hawaii, and later graduated in Social Sciences from the University of Ottawa.

Since 2014, I have worked with people with disabilities at L’Arche Ottawa, first as a live-in assistant and most recently working one-on-one. In addition to my work, I am passionate about art, photography, learning languages, and travel. I believe strongly in the power of positive interaction between people to change lives. I am bilingual (French and English), and known for my friendly, patient manner and listening skills.

I am a devoted father of two wonderful children, Bradley aged 14, and Wanda aged 12. My weekends are typically spent together with Brad and Wanda, visiting museums, going to church, doing homework, and teaching the children to cook.

Ruth Ann Moore: One of the aspects of facilitation that resonates deeply with me is walking along beside someone on their journey through life; to help, care, or share their burden. It is a principle that I intrinsically carry into all aspects of my life; whether that be at home, work, church, or in my community. It is where going the extra mile is the rule, not the exception. My family and I have been the recipients of such care when one of my children faced cancer. It was at that critical junction in life when having a fellow traveller’s presence was an encouragement and gave reassurance during a difficult time.
















Other values I have grown to appreciate reflect simple core truths I hold dear.

  • I like to take time to listen and really hear what a person is saying; there is often a story or truth under a statement.
  • I am always willing to learn, as there is much wisdom to be discovered from others through their experiences and personal knowledge.
  • I enjoy looking at a situation from a fresh perspective and find collaborative effort can yield surprising results to make a good idea remarkable.

Ultimately, it is all about taking the time to care about the person first.

I live in the heart of the Ottawa Valley with my husband and our three children. I have had the privilege of teaching literacy and numeracy, working as support staff, and helping individuals accomplish personal goals through Passport Funding. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the successes and accomplishments that come through hard work. I also volunteer within my church community, organizing events, developing and leading programs, as well as teaching. I make it my goal to create opportunities for people to maximize their skill set, and to be involved to the level which they are capable.

I am honored to be an Independent Facilitator with Citizen Advocacy. I look forward to having the opportunity to walk along beside individuals and their families within the Ottawa Valley; to help and be an encouragement to them as they develop a new path to achieve their personal goals or dreams.

Lynne O’Connell: Two years ago, I retired from Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley after twenty-seven years’ experience as a frontline support worker, newsletter editor, fundraiser, volunteer coordinator and planner. Then the phone call came from Andrea Podruski, Program Manager at Citizen Advocacy about my interest in becoming an Independent Facilitator. It was a natural progression for me as I have always been passionate about facilitating person-centered opportunities and helping people with developmental disabilities feel empowered. I believe I have a natural ability to be person-centered focused and I honor a person’s self-worth and their valued role as a complete citizen of their community.

When I took on this new role, many people commented on how they knew I would never retire from this field and quite honestly, it is what I love to do. Also, the values and principles Citizen Advocacy Ottawa upholds align with mine. When I think back many years ago to my first encounter with a person with a developmental disability, it was on a bus ride from downtown Ottawa to Bells Corners. A young man in the back seat had fallen asleep and missed his stop at Silver Spring Farm, where he lived. I remember getting up from my seat and going to the front to ask the bus driver to stop. The bus driver stopped and the young man thanked me before he got off the bus to go home.

When my children, Elizabeth, Rebecca and Daniel were growing up, we welcomed many people into our home. Geraldine, who was going to be alone for Christmas spent the holidays with us. Patsy, Allan, Linda and many more came to gather around our dinner table. My children volunteered with Ontario Special Olympics and still ask how someone they know is. Our lives were touched by their unconditional acceptance, lack of pretense and giving nature.

Each person was our gentle teacher inspiring us to be better human beings. I read somewhere how “loneliness is the cancer of the soul.” This statement has and continues to have a profound effect on me. My heart goes out to marginalized people, who are lonely. I am committed to helping build meaningful connections and relationships for isolated people. On a personal level, I live a tranquil and peaceful life with my partner, Bill and our aging cat in the tiny hamlet of Westmeath.

Carol Ripley: I am pleased to join a team of highly trained professionals in Eastern Ontario with a combined portfolio of extensive experiences and commitments to career choices of mentoring, leading, teaching and caring about people. There is no greater reward in a profession than seeing the lives of others become filled with value and meaning.

I began my career as a young woman out of high school working in a Chamber of Commerce office with an Executive Director who strived daily at making connections. I would learn many years later that I had a wonderful introduction to community networking. Jumping ahead a decade and a half, I found myself as a single parent seeking a career change. My career choices took me into nursing, case-management, and in the 1990’s to the developmental sector and Community Living. Suddenly I felt I was home. I have over 20 years’ experience in the Upper Ottawa Valley providing supports and services to youth and adults with intellectual disabilities. I live and work in Pembroke, and believe I can be successful in working with families and their loved ones in Renfrew County. I’m passionate about people and connections. I’ve been called a motivator, strong encourager, and a person who always approaches life situations with positivity.

What can I highlight for you on my resume:

  • I was the 1st Youth Project Worker in Renfrew County who went into local secondary schools and worked alongside Co-op Teachers to find work place experiences for students with disabilities. I solicited the placements, did the job coaching and evaluations.
  • I was a Family Support Worker who assisted families to approach community with a new vision following closures of ARC Industries and Day Programs in the 1990’s.
  • I also was seconded to a special collaboration with Algonquin College in 2001 to deliver a unique employment readiness program to adults who wanted “real” jobs in the community.
  • I am a confident public speaker within my profession. I was assigned the task of leading a group of adults with intellectual disabilities on a quest of self-advocacy in the community, assisting them to harness their stories into presentations about bullying and citizenship.

Many people I worked with also came to my home, sharing Christmas or short respite stays. Many folks became involved with family activities and witnessed my children grow and mature. I also have many years of experience as a volunteer board member with organizations such as Boys & Girls Club, Special Olympics and in my church.

To summarize, I love my work. I have been blessed in many situations over the years to have been a part of accomplishments and successes which were instrumental in seeing lives light up with new found confidence and increased self-worth by significant contributions and belonging to community life. If I can play a very small part in inspiring those around me to LIVE BIG, DREAM BIG and EMBRACE a meaningful life, it just makes me feel good!



Currently our Ottawa Facilitators are providing service in your area.

Sara Rafiei: As a child, I grew up with an uncle who was developmentally disabled. He lived with us and my mother was his guardian. All my life, I’ve grown up with individuals that have had some type of developmental disability. My mother has always advocated for individuals that weren’t heard and that became something that I wanted to do. I have seen and experienced the difficulties that my mother and uncle have had to face. I knew that I wanted to do something that helped and enriched the lives of others. I am very happy and excited to join the team of independent planning facilitators and to join the Citizen Advocacy team.







I attended Carleton University and graduated with a degree in psychology. I’m motivated and dedicated to help the people I’m working with. I’m always looking to help others. Since graduating, I have worked in a group home, as an educational assistant and even as a child and family worker.

I live in the S, D & G area with my husband and my son and enjoy my spare time embracing the outdoors. I look forward to helping individuals reach their goals and to overcome obstacles along the way. Always seeing the positive in everything and strengths in individuals. I look forward to working with you.


“Nan didn’t waste any time articulating her goals – she wanted a job. And not just any job, she wanted to work with people, preferably in retail… This became the main focus of her plan. Focusing on her strengths and abilities a plan was developed to achieve this goal. After some initial hesitation in hiring her, the store has discovered now what a loyal and helpful employee she is. Everyday her presence as a worker teaches fellow employees and customers alike that there is a valuable role in the workplace for people with developmental disabilities.” Emily Taylor-King

Independent Facilitator

Contact Information

For more information please contact
Andrea Podruski
Program Manager

613-761-9522 ext. 229

Send email
Holly and I got to know one another, enjoyed some meals out, did some art and listened to music together.  Together we created a one page profile that identified what people appreciated about Holly, what is important to her and how to support her well.  Through this process she named many things she was interested to do. In February, Holly received word that she would have her Passport funding increased.  Because of the planning, Holly had some solid ideas about things she wanted to do and where she wanted to do them.  Today she makes jewellery or pottery one day each week, does fitness another day, works at the cafe at Y’s Owl Maclure for a day and works at Tim Horton’s on Edgewater each Thursday.   On Friday mornings she is enjoying Zumba and pool exercises at the Kanata Wave Pool.  Holly and her mom are very happy to have participated in the planning process.  It helped Holly realize some of her dreams. Donna Rietschlin

Independent Facilitator

Frequently Asked Questions
Vision, values and principles

Independent facilitation and person-directed planning is rooted in the following vision, values and principles, which steer the approach and the direction of the work of our Independent Facilitators.


Community inclusion


  • belonging
  • contributing
  • sharing
  • being respected
  • ·     choosing


  • visioning
  • strengths-based
  • person-driven
  • sustainability
  • accountability

*Adapted from Ministry of Community and Social Services Person-Directed Planning and Facilitation Guide 2013

Why does someone need independent facilitation and person-directed planning?
Independent facilitation and person-centred planning is a set of approaches designed to assist someone to plan their life and supports. The ultimate aims are to expand a person’s community engagement and social inclusion.

Working with each person we discover what is most important to them, what opportunities they want to pursue and how to achieve them. This is an ongoing process and it does not end once a written plan is developed, the process can carry on through someone’s life. The intensity of the planning will vary depending on the needs of the person.

What is person-directed planning?
Person-directed or person-centred planning is a process of continual listening and learning. It is focused on what is important to someone now and for the future and acting upon this with the individual’s family and friends. There are five key features of person-centred planning:

  • A person is at the centre.
  • Family members and friends are partners in planning.
  • The plan reflects what is important to the person, their capacities and what support they require.
  • The plan results in actions that are about life, not just services and reflect what is possible, not just what is available.
  • The plan results in ongoing listening, learning and further action.

*Adapted from Ministry of Community and Social Services Person-Directed Planning and Facilitation Guide 2013

What do Independent Facilitators do?
Independent Facilitators work for the person living with a disability, also called the focus person. They take time to understand the wishes, dreams, interests and abilities of the focus person so they can develop a personal plan that meets their particular situation.

What are the benefits of working with an Independent Facilitator?
To help the focus person identify their:

  • strengths
  • interests
  • capabilities
  • dreams
  • goals

To develop:

  • strategies to achieve goals
  • an outline of tasks and schedules to accomplish the goals
  • a circle of support and to maintain it
  • knowledge of services both community-based and government-funded.

How can I get involved in independent facilitation and person-directed planning?
There are three different options for you to consider:

Funding by Developmental Services Ontario [for those with a developmental disability]

Contact Developmental Services Ontario to check if you have already registered an interest in person-directed planning. People already on the list are being contacted on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are not already on the list ask to be added to it. You may be considered for participation if space becomes available before March 2017.

Use your Passport funding [for those with a developmental disability]

Individuals who have Passport funding but have not already expressed an interest in person-directed planning can purchase independent facilitation and person-directed planning with their Passport funding (up to $2,500 per year).

Purchase through personal funding [for any type of disability]

Individuals may purchase independent facilitation and person-directed planning through personal and/or family financing. Contact Andrea Podruski, Program Manager by email or by phone 613-761-9522 ext. 229.



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Toll Free/Sans Frais: 1-866-222-2138
Fax/Télécopie: 613-761-9525


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Ottawa, ON, K1Y 4X5

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