OIFN endeavours to bring people together for shared learning among people who live with disabilities, their family members and/or loved ones, independent facilitators, supportive agencies, and other community allies.

Larger efforts to gather and connect people more broadly have occurred through the hosting of large conferences.  Since 2014, OIFN has hosted two Common Threads conferences, encouraging broad engagement of folks for conversations and reflections on the principles of and context for our work.  Attendance at these conferences has been remarkable, including hundreds of participants with diverse backgrounds from across North America.

Common Threads 2014: Approaches and Contexts for Planning Everyday Lives

The first Common Threads Conference held in 2014 was hosted by OIFN in partnership with the Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario.  The contributions of various presenters composed portraits of person-centered work. Everyone who attended had the chance to expand their understanding by reflecting on the hopes and meanings attached to doing the work.

Click here to read Common Threads Reflections 2014

Common Threads 2016: Changing Stories…Stories of Change

For more than 20 years, family groups in Ontario have created and benefited from a variety of effective approaches to Independent Facilitation.

In 2016, OIFN hosted the second Common Threads Conference, supported by funding from the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS)* for the Independent Facilitation Demonstration Project.

This conference drew people with disabilities, family members, independent facilitators, and organization leaders together to reflect on stories of change supported by independent facilitators.

This compound question framed their thinking together: “What difference does Independent Facilitation make and how is it done?” Most of the exploration focused on change for people and families as they relate to their communities and supports.

Click here to read Common Threads Reflections 2016

*MCSS has since changed to the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services.