[Toronto, ON, April 18, 2023] – Yesterday, Community Living Toronto (CLTO) hosted a Breakfast Open House event to launch its “75 Years of Belonging” year-long celebrations. The organization is reflecting on how far it has come over the past 75 years through stories on how important it is for people with an intellectual disability to feel that they belong in their community.
Present at the event were Honourable Michael Parsa, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services; Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance, Honourable Nina Tangri, Associate Minister of Housing, Honourable Mike Lake, Member of Parliament for Edmonton – Wetaskiwin, and other government officials, people supported, community leaders, CLTO Board members and staff.
“I love that Community Living Toronto has chosen 75 Years of Belonging as the theme for its anniversary celebrations. Organizations like CLTO are at the forefront of this work to create and nurture belonging. They’re essentially taking the rest of us by the hand and moving us in that direction consistently and authentically. We need that,” noted Nadia Elkharadly, a family member.
“For seventy-five years, Community Living Toronto has transformed countless lives and empowered so many by advocating for and supporting their clients’ rights and choices,” said Honourable Michael Parsa. “Our government is proud to work alongside Community Living Toronto as we continue to build a stronger, person-centered developmental services system.”
The exclusive stories from people with intellectual disabilities, family members, and community leaders are featured on the CLTO 75th anniversary website. The stories are touching and personal accounts of what belonging means to them.
“Belonging” is building workplaces where people with disabilities can thrive,” said Mark Wafer, Interim President and CEO of Abilities Centre Durham. “People with intellectual disabilities want to work. They are the same as everyone else, with dreams and hopes, and a need to contribute.”
For 75 years, Community Living Toronto has been evolving, learning, and growing to support and include people with an intellectual disability, and to provide the tools needed for them to live well and independently.
“Belonging means providing the opportunity to connect with people from all walks of life and for 75 years, Community Living Toronto has been committed to building inclusive communities,” noted Valérie Picher, Board Chair, Community Living Toronto. “With the best possible supports the people connected to us thrive and when that happens, we all benefit.”
Throughout the year, Community Living Toronto will host events to raise awareness and funds to continue its work of promoting a world where belonging means breaking down barriers, embracing differences, and valuing diverse perspectives.
The 75th anniversary website is an online hub of festivities, a place to pledge support for inclusive communities where people with intellectual disabilities can thrive. There’s strength in numbers, and people are encouraged to add their name today, so that by the end of the year and beyond, there will be many people who will have pledged their support.
“I’m thrilled to have been able to attend Community Living Toronto’s 75th anniversary. Their fierce advocacy for the rights and choices of people with intellectual disabilities has positively impacted the lives of so many. Our government stands hand in hand with all those on the frontlines doing this very critical work. We remain committed to ensuring that Ontario is a safe and prosperous place for all to call home, especially those who are vulnerable.”
Hon. Nina Tangri, Associate Minister of Housing.
“This year we are sharing stories from across our communities, reflecting on how far we have come, and imagining all the ways we can strengthen our impact. We invite you to celebrate 75 Years of Belonging with us and join our collective journey to create more inclusive communities, where people with intellectual disabilities enjoy meaningful and fulfilled lives.”
Brad Saunders, Chief Executive Officer, Community Living Toronto
“Community Living Toronto is important to me because it’s a place that I can just be myself and the people are so welcoming and accommodating. I want to get up in the morning and I look forward to the challenges that I get every day. I see a challenge as an opportunity to grow no matter if the challenge is negative or positive.”
Farrah Sattaur, Community Living Toronto Influencer
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About Community Living Toronto
Community Living Toronto has been a source of support for people with an intellectual disability and their families since 1948. We offer a wide range of services including respite, person-directed planning, employment supports, supported living, and community-based activities. We are proud to support over 4,000 individuals and their families in more than 80 locations across Toronto.
The “community living movement” began with families who wanted their children to live in the community, rather than institutions. Today, we continue to advocate for inclusive communities and support the rights and choices of people with an intellectual disability.
To access the media kit for CLTO’s 75th Anniversary, please click here.
For more information, please contact:
Director, Strategic Communications and
LinkedIn @Community Living Toronto