We are committed to our clients living with dignity by delivering quality programs, housing and supportive services


This is the place to find information about what’s going on at Guelph Independent Living. Check here for Reports and Newsletters as they are released, and don’t forget to stop and view the photos in our Gallery!



October 2017

Not-For-Profit Care in the Community Should be Celebrated, Not Jeopardized

October is Community Support Month

Guelph, October 2017 – Hundreds of not-for-profit organizations across Ontario have been supporting seniors and people with disabilities all year – this month, they’re asking for a little extra support in return.

October is Community Support Month, an opportunity to celebrate the home and community care services which help over a million Ontarians live independently in their own homes each year. There are over 25 different community support services, including personal care and home help, Meals on Wheels, Alzheimer and adult day programs, transportation to medical appointments, friendly visiting, caregiver support, hospice and palliative care services, and much more.

It’s a successful model because clients prefer to live in their own homes and communities, and supporting them to do so reduces costs to other parts of the health care system. The not-for-profit agencies that provide these services receive partial government funding, and are also supported by community foundations, individual donations and over 3 million hours of volunteer service each year. But the model may be about to change.

The Ontario government is currently considering allowing for-profit companies to receive government funding to provide community support services.

That would be a mistake, says Deborah Simon, CEO of the Ontario Community Support Association. “Charities and not-for-profits have earned the trust of their communities. They are able to respond to local needs and put their clients first in a way that for-profit companies simply cannot.”

Not-for-profit agencies also re-invest surplus funds into providing more and better care, ensuring funding stays in the community and that service quality is never compromised in order to increase profits.

In Guelph Independent Living has been serving the community for over 40 years. Our organization was incorporated in 1975 to advocate for community accessibility and to provide recreational programs for adults with physical disabilities. Today, we continue to value respect, dignity and individuality by promoting freedom of choice and by encouraging the individual’s right to make decisions, to direct services and to establish and maintain personal lifestyles. Guelph Independent Living is all about creating friendships, fostering community participation, removing barriers, and providing information, advocacy and support services.

As part of Community Support Month, the Ontario Community Support Association has created a petition calling on the government to protect and strengthen not-for-profit home and community support services. To sign the petition, visit Join the conversation on social media at #SpeakUp4CommunitySupport.

About OCSA

 Across the province each year, over one million people receive home care and community support services – and the need is growing. The Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) represents 270 not-for-profit organizations that provide home care and community support services that help seniors and people with disabilities live independently in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. These compassionate and cost-effective services improve quality of life and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations, emergency room visits and premature institutionalization. They are the key to a sustainable health care system for Ontario. For more information, visit


Interviews are available with Deborah Simon, CEO. To arrange an interview or for more information, please contact:

Breanne Armstrong
Communications Manager
Ontario Community Support Association

416-256-3010 x- 242



March 2, 2017 

Planning for your health care future poster


June 22, 2016 – GUELPH, ON

All Access Downtown Guelph – An event that celebrates accessibility improvements in Downtown Guelph

Business owners are inviting the Guelph community to join them at an event celebrating accessibility in Downtown Guelph on Saturday June 25th, 11am – 3pm.  Organized by the Downtown Guelph Business Association (DGBA) and in partnership with the City of Guelph, Guelph Accessibility Project (GAP)  and the Guelph Wellington Senior’s Association (GWSA), the event will highlight the accessibility improvements made in the last year.  These include the StopGap Guelph ramps that were built and customized for nearly 40 downtown businesses, and the removal of the red bricks by the City of Guelph that were an obstacle for individuals with mobility issues.

An important goal that came out of the collaboration between these groups was the education of small business owners on how best to accommodate customers and address accessibility issues.   This includes seniors, wheelchair users  and those with mobility issues, individuals with physical or intellectual disabilities, and parents with strollers.  An accessibility toolkit was designed and distributed to Downtown Guelph businesses, aiming to equip them with the information to refine their environment to fit the needs of all of their customers.  Many of these businesses will be putting out their StopGapGuelph ramps for the duration of the event.

There will be live performances, kid’s activities, and an information booth at St George’s Square . Attendees can learn more about accessibility in Downtown Guelph and a map, researched and produced by the DGBA, highlighting accessible parking, washrooms, curb cut-outs and benches, will be available.  Cyndy McLean of StopGap Guelph said “This event is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Guelph’s downtown and the collective work to improve the City’s physical accessibility and make it more inclusive”.

Please join us at 11:30 in St George’s Square for remarks from GAP, the DGBA, Guelph Police Services, the City of Guelph and local business owner Julia Grady about her efforts to ensure full accessibility at 10C (previously the Ackers furniture building, 42 Carden Street).

Please use the attached image for promotional purposes and contact me for any further info.

Meg Dunning, Event Organizer, Downtown Guelph Business Association


Poster – Saturday June 25 Poster - Saturday June 25


September 29, 2015 – GUELPH, ON,

Accessibility initiative launches in Guelph 

Nearly 40 Guelph businesses will receive free, portable accessibility ramps in October as part of the StopGap Guelph ramp project.  Manufactured by Kenaidan Contracting Ltd through its CETA (Care Enough to Act) program, these ramps aim to improve access to a variety of venues in the downtown core and surrounds.  Along with the ramps, the participating businesses will receive signage that indicates they have a StopGap Guelph ramp and instructions for use.

Due to City of Guelph bylaws, the ramps will be used on an as needed basis and will be deployed when requested. Organizers of the project are the first to admit that this is not a perfect solution.  However, Cyndy McLean of StopGap Guelph says “this is a great community project.  It enhances an individual’s ability to engage with our community by making businesses more accessible to everyone – whether a wheelchair user, a parent with a stroller or a delivery person. It isn’t a perfect fix to our built environment challenges but it offers a meaningful improvement and starts a conversation about community accessibility”.

Mayor Cam Guthrie will join StopGap Guelph organizers outside Coriander and New Age Health on Wyndham St N on Wednesday October 7th at 9.30am for the official launch of this new and exciting project.

For a full list of participating businesses, please visit

For more information, please contact:

Cyndy McLean

Guelph Accessibility Project and StopGap Guelph Ramp Project or 519-766-5431



July 20, 2015 – Guelph, ON


Guelph Independent Living Celebrates 40 Years

Guelph Independent Living held its 40th Anniversary Celebration and Annual General Meeting on June 18 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Elliott Community Centre. Donna Lychwa, President of the Board of Directors, led the meeting.

The focus of agenda was to update clients, staff, community partners, friends and family of the many accomplishments within the Agency’s health and housing sectors. The highlights of accomplishments included the completion of the Outreach Program expansion, the launch of a new website that meets AODA accessibility standards, recent renovations to modify two new accessible units in the Willow Place building, program growth most notably in the Outreach and Home Help programs, and a report on GIL’s Community Inclusion program activities for the year.

AGM 067

Following the presentation, Years of Service awards were presented to staff by clients in their programs.  Awards were presented to Lindsay Lennox, Pamela Polfuss-Schmidt, and Wes Sprague, who celebrated 10, 15 and 20 years with the organization, respectively.

The evening ended on a high note in celebration of GIL’s 40th Anniversary with a 90 minute live musical performance and interactive talk with disability activist, inspirational speaker and singer-songwriter Justin Hines. Justin’s performance was enjoyed by clients, staff, board members and guests alike, and saw the whole room clapping along by the end.

AGM 110

Guelph Independent Living is a non-profit agency incorporated under a different name in 1975. It provides Supportive Housing, Attendant Outreach, Home Help, Seniors’ Supportive Housing and Assisted Living programs, as well as recreation and inclusion opportunities, to seniors and adults with permanent physical disabilities. As well, the organization owns and maintains Willow Place, an 83-unit non-profit housing complex, which also serves as a supportive housing site.

The Agency values respect, dignity and individuality by promoting freedom of choice and by encouraging the individual’s right to make decisions, to direct services and to establish and maintain personal lifestyles. Guelph Independent Living is all about fostering community participation, removing barriers and providing information, advocacy and support services.

AGM 129

For more information, please contact:

Carla Henderson

Communications Officer

(519) 836-1812, ext. 33



July 9, 2015

Help recruit Ontario’s first Patient Ombudsman

Dear Health Service Provider Leaders,

As you may already be aware, the government has announced plans to appoint its first Patient Ombudsman. The Patient Ombudsman will assist patients and their caregivers who have not had their concerns resolved through existing processes at hospitals, long-term care homes or community care access centres.

As a first step in selecting a Patient Ombudsman – and to ensure that the appointee has qualities that meet the needs of patients – the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is asking Ontarians to fill out a brief feedback form. With this form, Ontarians will be able to identify the skills, experience and personality traits they would value most in a Patient Ombudsman.

To promote this public consultation, Waterloo Wellington LHIN asks you to consider helping the Ministry in one of the following ways:

  • By hanging the enclosed poster in a highly visible location
  • By referencing the feedback form and linking to it in your email responses to complainants
  • By mentioning the feedback form in your calls with complainants
  • By crafting tweets and Facebook posts that encourage followers to fill out the feedback form
  • By retweeting the Ministry’s tweets and sharing the Ministry’s Facebook posts about the feedback form
  • By posting content on your website about the feedback form and linking to it.

Please note that the form should take only ten minutes to complete; and that it will not require the respondent to enter any personal information.

Thanks for your help in getting the word out on this important initiative.

If you have any questions about this public consultation, please feel free to contact


Bruce Lauckner

Chief Executive Officer


Read the full Press Release from the WWLHIN HERE.


May 21, 2015:


Guelph Independent Living Completes Construction on Two New Accessible Modified Units at Willow Place

Guelph Independent Living (GIL) is pleased to announce the completion of construction on two new modified units in their Willow Place apartment building in order to make them fully accessible for tenants with mobility challenges. Construction on the units included removing walls to allow for better maneuverability for tenants who use wheelchairs or scooters, installing accessible appliances and cabinets, and constructing entirely new washrooms and showers. These two new modified units bring the total number of accessible units at Willow Place up to 23.

Since 1984, GIL has been providing 24-hour supportive housing and attendant services to adults with physical disabilities. These services are designed to assist clients to maintain their independence and remain in the home of their choice. Throughout the organization’s history, a shortage of modified housing with access to 24-hour support services has been repeatedly identified. GIL has, for years, had a lengthy wait list of adults with physical disabilities looking for housing combined with attendant services. Currently there is a waitlist of 37 individuals; several sitting on the list for over eight years. With an average turnover rate of 1-2 units per year there are few success stories, but GIL is pleased to be able to add to that list. GIL spoke with the tenant of one of the new modified units, Sherry Windmill, whose struggle to find suitable housing was featured in the Guelph Mercury in January 2014 ( ). “Accessible units are hard to come by, so I was very fortunate to get this one because for years I’ve looked for something in Guelph and there’s just nothing out there…. Guelph needs a lot of accessible living” she said. She also stated that she is very appreciative that she was able to provide input on what went into the unit, such as the oven which has a door that opens side to side making it easier to access – “with everything being accessible for me it gives me back a lot of independence.”

GIL is funded through the County of Wellington for affordable housing and the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN) for support services to the disabled and senior population. In early 2014, GIL received one-time funding through the WWLHIN allocated towards renovation costs to modify additional units at Willow Place for residents requiring accessible housing; with the ultimate goal of increasing 24-hour supportive housing services in Wellington. Approval for the two additional modified units at Willow Place was received through the County of Wellington Housing Services and County Council. Beginning in April 2015, GIL also received a base funding increase through the WWLHIN to provide 24-hour attendant services to the new clients moving into the new modified units. Adults with physical disabilities have a right to affordable, modified housing and 24-hour attendant services, but this right is limited by the low number of units available with support services. It is the hope of these contributing organizations that these two additional modified units at Willow Place will assist in minimizing this shortage and alleviate some of the challenges Guelph residents face in accessing affordable, modified housing.

“We are pleased to make meaningful investments in Guelph to support independent living services that help residents who need these services to live safely and independently as active members of our community. “Sherry’s story is a great example of how these new services make a real difference.”

-Bruce Lauckner CEO WWLHIN


For more information, please contact:

Carla Henderson

Communications & Privacy Officer

(519) 836-1812, ext. 33


 May 2015:MSSocietyLogo_Web



To provide an opportunity to those living with, or touched by MS, to come together in a safe and secure environment to share and discuss issues related to daily living.  To provide education via professionals in various fields who can offer support and hints to improve quality of life.

 DATE:           Thursday, May 28, 2015

 TIME:            12:00  – 2:00 p.m.  P.M.

LOCATION: Arbour Trails Retirement Village – Hobby Room

                  32 Bayberry Drive (in the Village of the Arboretum, Guelph)

                  (enter the Arboretum from Stone Road, turn left on Bayberry Drive)

TOPIC:          A presentation by Chris Seftel, T.R., NCCP  Level 3

                        Wellness Coordinator with the YMCA in Guelph

 Fitness for Function

Customized exercise support for individuals with neurological conditions
and/or impaired physical mobility, or Neuro Fit graduates. Participants are
provided with an individualized and progressive exercise program, as well
as weekly healthy living education.

Neuro Fit
Neuro Fit is a structured, supervised circuit program for those affected by
neurological conditions including Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease,
Stroke, or Spinal Cord Injury.


                        Lynne Murphy – OR

Chapter Office – (519-821-5554)




March 3, 2015:

Have Your Say!


December 8, 2014: 

Welcome Eleanor Ross to the

GIL Board of Directors!

Ross_Eleanorl 066 4x5

We are pleased to introduce you to the most recent addition to the Guelph Independent Living Board of Directors team – Eleanor Ross. Eleanor was gracious enough to take a few minutes to answer some questions to help you get to know her a little better. Here’s what she has to say:

What made you choose to volunteer with the Board of Directors at Guelph Independent Living (GIL)?

I was interested in volunteering with GIL as I believe that helping people who require some form of assistance to remain independent is not just very important at the present  but will become even more important as our population ages. I have watched several acquaintances struggle to continue working with increasing health problems that cause restrictions on their mobility.

What skills/expertise do you bring to the board?

I have several types of skills that can assist with board initiatives. I have long served on my condo board where I have become very good at negotiating contracts with management and maintenance companies as well as learning the fine art of compromise with individuals who have very different opinions with respect to priorities and rules and regulations. I have also become very familiar with legal requirements in regards to housing. I am a financial advisor and I am very attuned to how money is allocated. I am also involved in fundraising with another local Board of Directors.

What do you feel is your greatest personal accomplishment (work or personal)?

My greatest personal accomplishment is my family. My daughter and son and their children provide many hours of fun, pride, worry and love.

 What is/are your passion(s) outside of work (hobbies, other volunteer activities, clubs)?

I enjoy reading and spend much time at my local library. I belong to a gym and also go Square Dancing. I am interested in my city, I am involved in several other volunteer activities, and I like to watch the political scene.

Is there were one thing you would like GIL staff, clients and community partners to know about you?

I am always ready to help in any area. I am a person that you can feel free to call if there is a need for a body or an activity that I can assist with.

Guelph Independent Living is incredibly excited about this new addition to the Board of Directors. We are privileged to be welcoming yet another immensely talented person to the team and we look forward to working with Eleanor!


October 1, 2014:

October is

Community Support Month!


Community Support Services Integral to Keeping People at Home

As Community Support Month in Ontario kicks off, Guelph Independent Living (GIL) has committed to delivering a very important message: Home and Community Services are critical in helping family caregivers and supporting seniors and persons with physical disabilities to remain in their own homes.

 October is the time to celebrate Community Support across the Province.  It is our time to thank the dedicated staff and volunteers who deliver critical services to frail seniors, persons with disabilities or debilitating chronic diseases and their families.

GIL is committed to our clients living with dignity by delivering quality programs, housing and supportive services. GIL is proud to offer a variety of programs and services to support adults with physical disabilities and seniors, including: Home Help, Attendant Outreach, Assisted Living, Seniors’ Assisted Living, Seniors Supported Living, and Recreation and Inclusion programs.

The unsustainability of the growing health budget is a concern for government and Ontarians alike; by supporting a strong and robust home and community care sector, the government gets better value for the dollars they spend. Home and Community Support Services are the key to a sustainable healthcare system. There is a need to increase these services to meet the current demands, with wait lists and the growing demand for services.

Community Support agencies are working with their partners; the Local Health Integration Networks, Community Care Access Centres  and other health care providers to integrate care for Ontarians. Their services help alleviate backlogs in emergency rooms and get people out of hospital beds and back home with programs that help them manage their chronic diseases, and reduce demand on long-term care homes and acute care health services.

Here are some important days to remember as part of Community Support Month:


For more information please visit the Ontario Community Support Association.


New Directions

Quarterly newsletter for GIL clients

Summer 2014 New Directions


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