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Independent Living Services of Simcoe County Logo Independent Living Services of Simcoe County & Area

Community Development

ILS's Role in Community Development

Throughout our history as an Association, the membership of Independent Living Services of Simcoe County & Area has been actively involved in working with community members, partners, funders/donors and various levels of government to make our communities more welcoming to people with physical disabilities and limitations.

The challenges, opportunities and significant players have changed with time, but the goals of working with these groups has always remained to assist people with physical disabilities to lead dignified, productive and independent lives in the community.

Independent Living Services continues to seek out opportunities for volunteers and staff members to be actively involved in creating inclusive communities that are welcoming to all citizens, regardless of their physical abilities. Here are some of the initiatives that our Association is actively supporting at this stage in our community development:

  1. Improving Accessibility in the communities across Simcoe County and Muskoka, through:
    • Individual involvement in municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees;
    • Supporting the work of these individuals through networking and sharing of resources available through the Simcoe Muskoka Accessibility Network (formerly SMART) Terms of Reference Revised March 2014 ; and
    • Sharing information to support groups and businesses to make improvements to the accessibility of their buildings and networks.

  1. Responding to calls for information and advice on new legislation or bylaws to improve accessibility standards in our communities.

  1. Supporting individuals to understand their rights under government legislation, and to advocate for themselves, their family members or friends to ensure these rights are respected.

  1. Supporting political leaders, and decision makers to understand the needs and abilities of people with physical disabilities, and how their leadership role in our communities can assist to support the maximum participation of adults with physical disabilities or limitations in our communities.

Simcoe Muskoka Accessibility Network (formerly SMART)

Over the past few years, the staff and volunteers of our Association have worked with municipalities and public sector institutions throughout Simcoe County and surrounding municipalities to establish and support Accessibility Advisory Committees, as required under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act. We are an active member agency within the United Way-Greater Simcoe County, working with other community agencies to build a strong healthy community. We have been active participants with the District Health Councils when they were functioning across Ontario, and more recently with the Local Health Integration Network for North Simcoe Muskoka, as they undertake improvements to the delivery and planning of our local health service system. We have also established and maintained strong networks with similar groups and agencies across Ontario, working towards the same goals. We continue our commitment to working in partnership with community groups, agencies and businesses to make our communities in Simcoe County welcoming for all citizens.

Special Needs Housing

The Special Needs Housing Committee was formed in 2005 as a result of the Association's recommendations to create a centralized wait list and a process that would allow individuals with physical disabilities a one step process to locate accessible rent geared to income housing within Simcoe County.

The Independent Living Services of Simcoe County & Area is in partnership with representatives from Barrie Municipal Non-Profit Housing Corporation, Simcoe County Housing Corporation, Breaking Down Barriers and Spinal Cord Injury Ontario (formerly the Canadian Paraplegic Association) agreed to;

  1. Create a centralized inventory of barrier-free/modified units available in the County.
  2. Create a process for assessing accessibility needs
  3. Create a centralized waiting list

The County of Simcoe had a Special Needs Housing Audit completed to inventory and evaluate the current modified units within the County of Simcoe, which was completed in April 2007.

Next Step

  • Applicants requiring special needs housing soon will be placed on a centralized wait list with Simcoe County Housing Corporation. Individuals will no longer be required to go to each housing provider to be placed on their waiting list.
  • Applicants who require special needs housing will have to complete a housing needs assessment (this will allow the system to match the appropriate applicant to the appropriate vacancy). The individual will be able to complete the assessment on-line or by calling the SCHC for assistance.
  • Check the County of Simcoe's web page for further updates on progress towards these goals and new operating procedures, at



Main Office: 44 Cedar Pointe Dr., Unit 1102 Barrie, Ontario  L4N 5R7
Tel: 705-737-3263   TTY: 705-737-3242   Fax: 705-737-1874



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