Independent Living Canada


The Independent Living Philosophy

The Independent Living philosophy states that people with disabilities are the best experts on their needs, and must take the initiative, individually and collectively, in designing and promoting better solutions to meet their needs.  Besides de-professionalization and self-representation, the Independent Living ideology promotes a non-medical view of disability, de-institutionalization and inclusion in the IL Movement regardless of diagnoses.

In the Independent Living philosophy, people with disabilities are primarily seen as citizens and only secondarily as consumers of healthcare, rehabilitation or social services.  As citizens, persons with disabilities have the same right to participation, to the same range of options, degree of freedom, control and self-determination in every day life and life projects that other citizens take for granted.  IL advocates work toward the removal of infrastructural, institutional and attitudinal barriers and the adoption of the principle of Universal Design.  Depending on the individual’s disability, support services such as assistive technology, income supplements or personal assistance are seen as necessary to achieve equal opportunities.  As emphasized by the IL Movement, needs assessment and service delivery must enable users to control their services, to freely choose among competing service providers, and to live with dignity in the community.


The South Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre Inc. 4 Core Principles as per Independent Living Canada



The Independent Living Philosophy insists on the right of people with disabilities to examine choices, make informed decisions, take risks, make mistakes, and generally take responsibility for their own lives.People with Disabilities have the right to be treated with dignity and respect and experience full citizenship in the community of their choice.


The Independent Living Philosophy recognizes that persons with different types of disabilities have different needs.  At the same time, the Independent Living philosophy insists that the basic principles of Independent Living - the consumer’s right to make choices, make informed decisions, make mistakes and take responsibility for their own lives - applies to all persons with disabilities. People with Disabilities have the right to be treated with dignity and respect and experience full citizenship in the community of their choice. 


The Independent Living Philosophy calls for a community-based approach to service development, delivery, evaluation and promotion.  Implicit in this commitment to meeting unmet needs is the principle of non-duplication of services.  IL Canada Centres are committed to the development of programs and resources that complement, rather than duplicate, existing community services.


The Independent Living philosophy calls for the integration and full participation of persons with disabilities in their chosen communities.

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