First CAILC Consumer Award of Excellence


For the first time, the Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres (CAILC) has awarded its Consumer Award of Excellence. The person chosen was Cecilia Collier, who has been a member of the St. John’s ILRC since it began. Cecilia lives the Independent Living philosophy to the fullest. Defying the medical and rehabilitative models that sought to institutionalize her, through total self-management of personal supports Cecilia lives and takes part in the communities of her choice.

Cecilia has not allowed the significant barriers of loss of hearing, sight and mobility to compromise her personal goal of living her life independently. She does this with a keen sense of humour! She is ever ready to share her expertise and guidance through the maze of bureaucracy in the home care world.

As Cecilia was given the award, she was joined by members of her old family — as well as her new one (ILers), many of whom were moist eyed. Just before catching her flight back to St. John’s, Cecilia called the office to thank CAILC for the award. Well, thank YOU, Cecilia, for being such an example to all.

The CAILC Consumer Award of Excellence was sponsored by the Canadian Labour Congress. We thank them for their generosity, which allowed for what was, in many ways, the highlight of CAILC’s Annual General Meeting.


At the CAILC AGM for the year 2000, Fraser Valentine was the recipient of the John Lord Award for excellence in participatory action research in Independent Living. This is the second time this award has been given, and CAILC hopes that it will encourage more researchers to embrace the notion that full and active participation of people with disabilities in research is of critical importance. John Lord, a well-known researcher, has been actively involved with the Independent Living movement for many years. His participation, contributions and validation of the life experiences of people with disabilities were the driving force for the naming of this award.

Fraser is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto and has done extensive research in the area of Independent Living. During his acceptance speech, he made it clear that participatory active social research matters to persons with disabilities. While Fraser might see his relationship with CAILC as a “coming of age” in his life as a social scientist, it has been a coming of age for CAILC as well.

Fraser lives in many worlds. His genius lies in his ability to analyze and bring out the best information in all of them and then to put this down on paper in very clear and simple but powerful language. In his own words, his work “highlights the self-knowledge of people with disabilities and challenges the idea that persons with disabilities are passive, sick’ and apolitical.” In fact, his research “consistently demonstrates that persons with disabilities and disability movements are important and central actors in Canadian political discourse.” And you can’t ask for anything more mainstream and empowering than that.

(For more information, or to apply for the John Lord Award (deadline: September 15, 2001), contact CAILC at (613) 563-2581, or e-mail:


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