News

Meeting with the Minister

Posted 2018-03-08

On April 6, 2017, representatives of L’Arche Canada met with the Hon. Qualtrough, Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities, to share our hopes and concerns – and express our gratitude and support – for new federal, accessibility legislation.

In 2016, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities launched a consultation process to help shape new federal accessibility legislation. The vision is to create equality of opportunity for persons with disabilities and lower barriers – not only physical, technological, and regulatory barriers, but also the attitudes and beliefs that people have about who people with disabilities are and what they have to offer.  She asked, “What does an accessible Canada mean to you? Please take the time to participate in our online consultation or to attend one of our public sessions in person. Together, we will make history."

And many of us did just that contributing in-person or online. A reflecting group of L’Arche people who have studied disability issues (Madeline Burghardt, Pam Cushing, John Rietschlin, Agnes Thomas, Lori Vaanholt) contributed to L’Arche Canada’s submission that was approved by the Board of L’Arche Canada. And we asked to meet the Minister in order to introduce L’Arche, share some of our concerns, and offer our appreciation and support.

Going to Parliament Hill

It is always moving to enter the hallowed buildings of the Parliament of Canada, more so when you are there to represent L’Arche and be heard by members of that important body. On April 6, 2017, Hollee Card, National Leader of L’Arche Canada, Jules Paris, member of L’Arche Ottawa, John Rietschlin, L’Arche Canada Board President, and I, came to meet with Minister Qualtrough in her office in Centre Block.

We four had been here before. In 2014, as part of a much larger group representing the regions of L’Arche in Canada, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of L’Arche with the Speaker of the Senate, other members, and chaplains of different faiths. That was a moving experience celebrating our past and the special place of Canada in the L’Arche story. Today, we were looking more to the future than the past.

Our meeting with the Minister was warm and positive from the start as she connected with Jules who is thoughtful and charming in both official languages. He and John R. shared about their friendship and how we share life in L’Arche as we work, learn and create home together. Jules proudly spoke of his work refinishing furniture. We explained that we support individuals with intellectual disabilities not as client and support staff, but in friendship and collegiality. Hollee explained that we “do ordinary things with extraordinary love” and invited the Minister to come visit L’Arche near her Greater Vancouver riding or in Ottawa or Gatineau.

The Minister listened with interest then engaged us in the need to create change together – the federal government with the provinces/ territories, and all levels of government with the non-profit sector and the entire community. We spoke of the need for more affordable, accessible and inclusive housing. We shared our concern that people with more complex support needs and dual diagnosis are being left behind as we focus on competitive employment and independent living; these individuals have much to offer their communities.

It was clear to us that L’Arche has something important to add to the conversation and that we must be more engaged if we seek to have greater impact. We must engage with ministers, governments and national organizations. We also must be part of the conversation and action where we live – in fact it is the place of our greatest impact.

Together, we can bring more to life the vision named by Jean Vanier, “Can we reasonably have a dream of a world where people, whatever their race, religion, culture, abilities or disabilities, whatever their education or economic situation, whatever their age or gender, can find a place and reveal their gifts?”

John Guido


Statement of Solidarity and Condolences to the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nations

At the end of May, news broke of the discovery that the remains of 215 indigenous children are buried in the grounds of a residential school in Kamloops. It is a painful discovery which is being powerfully felt everywhere in our L’Arche communities and around the country.

New Community Leader for L’Arche Lanaudière

We want to welcome Isabelle Milliard as the new Community Leader in L'Arche Lanaudière. Isabelle has a background in Communications and Philanthropy, and had joined the community part-time as a fundraiser before being called to this role.

Welcome to Fiona Williams

We are very pleased to welcome Fiona Williams to the role of New Brunswick Lab Coordinator for our Inclusive Housing Solutions Lab project.

New Community Leader for L’Arche Mauricie

We are pleased to announce that Nancy Lamothe is beginning a new chapter in her life at L’Arche.

New Community Leader for L’Arche Outaouais (Agapè)

We are pleased to announce that Frederico Gauchat will take on the role of Community Leader at L'Arche Outaouais (formerly Agapè).

New Community Leader for L’Arche Homefires

We want to welcome and introduce you to the new Community Leader for L’Arche Homefires, Louise Curtis. After an extensive and rigorous selection process, Louise clearly emerged as the leader the L’Arche Homefires community needs at this point in our history.

New Community Leader for L’Arche Edmonton

We are very happy to announce that Mwando Mubanga has accepted the role of Community Leader for L’Arche Edmonton. 

Urgent Appeal re Bill C-7 amending Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)

Please read this statement from L’Arche Canada. We add our voice to those of disability advocates and our partners in the movement for Inclusion and Belonging calling for amendment to Bill C-7 to protect the lives of Canadians with disabilities.

The World’s First International Lip Syncing Competition Hosted by People With Disabilities!

November 2021 - We did it! You have helped lead the way in fueling the greatest amount of online engagement we have ever seen in L'Arche! In total, our lip syncs have been watched over 90,000 times, raised over $102,000, and inspired an immense amount of joy and generosity. THANK YOU for your continued passion, enthusiasm, encouragement and creativity to keep shouting from the rooftops what we know: that the world is better because of people with disabilities.

Leading Change - Youth Leaders Group Members

Leading Change is a project where persons with disabilities learn how to help make decisions about L'Arche.




Keep informed with our newsletter.