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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 2013  Exit disclaimer

When Julie finished high school she spent most of her days alone at home in the apartment she shares with her mother. This caused her to feel frustrated, unhappy and vulnerable. Things changed when the family was offered independent facilitation and person-directed planning.

One of our Independent Facilitators met with Julie and took the time to listen to her hopes and dreams for the life she wanted to lead. Over the course of the next few months Julie, her family and our Independent Facilitator worked together to bring about change.

Julie learnt about and registered in various local programs and activities. She was also taught how to use the bus system. Today, Julie is taking public transit on her own and taking part in activities of her choice.

Independent Facilitation & Person-Directed Planning

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

Emily Taylor-King: I am passionate about connection, communication and citizenship. As a trained mediator, facilitator and coach, I help people give voice to their hopes and dreams, and then plan to work toward that vision. My facilitation style is creative and collaborative. I help people to achieve their version of “the good life” by seeking valued social roles in their community. I am trained in several facilitation tools such as PATHS, MAPS, circles and core gifts, and I enjoy using graphic facilitation to make meetings more accessible, creative and fun.
Dana Notarandrea: I am so thrilled to be a part of Citizen Advocacy as an Independent Facilitator. I am passionate about working with others to facilitate change, achieve goals, and build on the support in our community. I am excited about continuing my career in a role where I can advocate for others.

I am experienced working with youth, adults, and families living with a mental illness and developmental disabilities. I offer support in education, navigation, and in defining and achieving goals. My values align with personalization, respect, community inclusion and highlighting the strengths of individuals.

I am a great listener and offer a genuine intent and desire to support others in reaching their horizons! I like using creative and innovative approaches to develop new connections and opportunities.

I enjoy spending time with family, cooking, baking, and trying new activities! I was born in Ottawa and am still learning new things about this great city every day. I am honoured to work with such a positive and collaborative team at Citizen Advocacy!

Manon Leblond-Leduc: Over 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. 

In 2015 I had the privilege of working in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I worked for an agency where we practiced the teachings of Person-Centered 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 in the community and in educational and residential organizations.  These positions have involved supporting people with developmental disabilities, mental health issues, communication disorders, and learning exceptionalities.

My wife and I have recently purchased our family home south of Ottawa.  We share our home with our beautiful dogs Scarlett and Charleeee and our silly cats Lily and Poppi. We are very excited for the expected arrival of our first child in January 2019. In our spare time we enjoy road trips, camping, and personalizing our new home. I fill my evenings and weekends playing volleyball and softball as well as improving my woodworking and gardening skills. I’m always excited for new adventures and opportunities to learn new things.

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

Erin Levesque: I am delighted to a part of the team at Citizen Advocacy Ottawa as an Independent Planning 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 Developmental Services Worker (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 thrift shopping, hip hop and electronic music, world travel and studying different cultures and languages.

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.

Kimiya Missaghi: I feel privileged to work as an Independent Facilitator at Citizen Advocacy Ottawa, which allows me to contribute to more inclusive communities and empower others to build their capacities. I studied psychology on the west coast and I am currently pursuing a Master’s of Law and Legal studies. I am focusing my research on how minority groups that are systematically oppressed can practice constructive resiliency as a form of peace-building. This is an area which I think many individuals with disabilities have a lot of wisdom and insights on, and I am grateful to be surrounded by the resiliency in so many individuals and families.

I have a diverse background and have lived in several countries, all of which have helped me thrive in diverse environments. My experiences have taught me to embrace differences and that everyone has their unique strengths, talents, and contributions. I am grateful that at Citizen Advocacy Ottawa I can advocate and support individuals to pursue meaning, independence, and stability in their lives.

Some of my interests include travelling and learning about different cultures, and going on hikes to Gatineau Park with my fiancé and sweet puppy, Joonie. 

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.

Pascal Gagné: I come from a broad range of places and am a jack-of-all-trades. People who met me over the years may say I’m a little strange and elusive, as we constantly change through our journey of self-growth. My friends may describe me as an eccentric artist, an intellectual, a gym bro or a socialite. My nickname: little tornado.

As a facilitator, I prefer to work with what one feels and can do rather than perceived or received identities. In fact, I am always a little suspicious of how one defines themselves

I adhere to a few specific values regarding friendship and to what nurtures relationships: listen to people and be generous of your time; ask questions to others about what they love; be thankful for any significant bond; express gratitude whenever you can; find peace and solace in transient moments of grace. Creativity is my greatest strength. As a planner, I like to move things forward.

I have a Master’s degree Communication Science and pursue a Ph.D. in Feminist and Gender Studies. My experience in non-profit and volunteer work lies mostly in the fields of LGBT human right advocacy and HIV/AIDS outreach and prevention. As a youth, I did art therapy with seniors with dementia and with people with intellectual disability. I love painting and play the piano every day! I dabble in gardening, cooking, and any other means of expression that makes you feel alive! As for sports: I enjoy badminton and alpine skiing. Oh, and I almost forgot: I adore reading. I own more books than I could count.

French is my native language; my Spanish is a little rusty. I find it important to think through other tongues and explore various cultures. As a matter of fact, I’ve lived abroad for about five years and visited over twenty countries. 

Emerald Pringle: I am very excited to be part of the team at Citizen Advocacy Ottawa as an Independent Planning Facilitator. I moved to Ottawa—the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people—from Victoria, British Columbia, to pursue my Masters of Social Work at Carleton University. The opportunity to work in such a person-centred and flexible program alongside individuals and their families and support networks is very meaningful to me. Everyone has goals in diverse areas of life and has the right to explore what those are and make their own decisions. I love connecting with people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. As an Independent Planning Facilitator, I want to find creative ways for everyone to fully participate in their community. Using an anti-oppressive framework, I also want to challenge the imbalances of power in society which create barriers to individual well-being.

My work experience includes years at an employment program for youth with disabilities, suicide prevention and crisis intervention; volunteer coordination of a university peer support program on sexualized violence prevention; and workshop facilitation. While I have spent most of the time with people under 30, I am keen to work alongside people of all ages. I speak French and am working to improve my bilingual skills in Ottawa! I enjoy spending time outdoors, visiting new places, and trying new activities. In the summer I love hiking and, in the winter, skating is my favourite! I also like cooking and baking, reading, and singing (in the shower or karaoke with friends).

I am grateful to work on this team and look forward to connecting with you to explore what is meaningful and exciting in your life.

Bianca Nugent: “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” – Verna Myers

Advocate at heart for over two decades, I am involved in the advancement of citizens rights and the social recognition and inclusion of equity seeking minority groups. It is for me a joy to join the Independent Facilitators’ team at Citizen Advocacy supporting individuals in self-determining their needs and choices with the support of the community.

As a trained and registered bilingual social worker, my private practice mainly aims at providing support to autistic youths and adults and their families, mostly francophones, identifying solutions to issues related to their life transitions (aging out of school, employment, housing, etc.) and their quest for quality services and resources in French.

As a Social Work research practitioner, I am currently conducting a doctoral research project at the University of Ottawa analyzing the trajectory access to social and health services of French-speaking autistic youth and adults living in Ontario.

Originally from Montreal, I have been living in the Gatineau/Ottawa region for the last 20 years. As a mother of two young teenagers, I enjoy spending quality family time sharing good meals, enjoying the outdoors on camping trips or walking trails, bike rides, watching a good movie, trying out a new board game, or planning our next family getaway.

I look forward to meeting you and discovering what is important to you and motivates you to reach your life goals.

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.

Louise Cayer-Deslauriers: I have been working in the field of social services for over 30 years. In the past, I have worked with adults in their family home, in community, day centres, work places or supervised apartments in the Prescott and Russell area. I have been actively involved in many innovative projects and the closure of several institutions.

During my social work career, I held several positions as an intervenor, and then as a manager for adult populations; I participated in several regional committees overviewed by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. I followed several training programs (Valorization of Social Roles, Life Plans, Person-Centred Planning, Gentle Teaching, PATHs and MAPS, and more). I was also a trainer for the Valor and Solutions Institute. I know many people in Prescott and Russell who provide good services to vulnerable people.

My priority has always been that everyone is surrounded so that they have the best possible quality of life. Adults have taught me a lot during my career in social work: you just need to listen and observe, you will learn and understand a lot from them. If I can participate in making a small difference in a person’s life, this brings me a lot of personal satisfaction.

I am currently well involved in my community on various committees. I am the Chair of the Francophone Community Services Planning Table and I am also a participant of the home-share program for an adult with an intellectual disability.

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.

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.

Independent Facilitator

Contact Information

For more information please contact

Team Leader

613-761-9522 ext. 229

Weaving a Story of Change … learnings so far is available on the home page  Exit disclaimer, and in the resources section of articles  Exit disclaimer, where you can download a web version and/or a higher resolution print version.

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 the team leader by email or by phone 613-761-9522 ext. 229.



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Tel/Tel. 613-761-9522
TTY/ATS: 613-725-6175

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

312 av. Parkdale Ave.,
Ottawa, ON, K1Y 4X5

Charitable Registration Number/Numéro d’enregistrement d’organisme de bienfaisance
13036 2817 RR0001