What is Independent Living?

Independent Living (IL) is a vision, a philosophy and a movement of persons with disabilities. 

IL was founded on the rights of people with disabilities to live with dignity and is an alternative approach to the traditional medical/rehabilitation service delivery model. The IL philosophy promotes and encourages consumer control and self-direction, so that consumers can access the services and resources they require to participate as equal citizens in their communities. The IL philosophy recognizes the rights of individuals with disabilities to take risks and make decisions.

Independent Living is founded on the rights of people with disabilities to:

  • Live with dignity in their chosen community;
  • Participate in all aspects of their life; and
  • Control and make decisions about their own lives.

The IL vision and philosophy live at the core of the Independent Living movement, a network of individuals and community-based resource centres across Canada supported by a national organization, Independent Living Canada.

Independent Living principles:

  1. Consumer Control: Independent Living respects the right of persons with disabilities to set their own goals and make their own choices.
  2. Cross-Disability: Programs and services are offered to all people regardless of the number of their disabilities.
  3. Community-Based and Non-Profit: Persons with disabilities can identify issues in their own communities and lives.
  4. Participation and Integration: Independent Living supports and encourages persons with disabilities to participate in all aspects of community, economic, cultural and social life in Canada.