The Possibility Post: What We Heard

It has been one full year since work on the Quality Assurance Framework has begun and we are excited to share an update on the information we gathered from stakeholders across the Province.

We began the project by going out to talk to people with disabilities, their families and service providers through a variety of methods.  Focus groups and surveys were done in order to tell people across the province about the quality assurance project and to get their feedback.

We visited seven different areas of the Province (Selkirk, Steinbach, Winnipeg, Dauphin, Brandon, Thompson, and Winkler)

We asked two main questions:

  1. What is a good life?
  2. What do people need from their paid services to support that good life?

We held focus groups with each group separately to make sure that people felt able to freely share their thoughts and ideas.  We limited the number of people who attended each group in order to make sure that the size stayed easy to facilitate and small enough to have good conversations.

For those that did not wish to or were not able to attend, we offered the opportunity to send in answers to the two questions in writing or online.

All information received from focus groups and surveys was reviewed by Health in Common who developed a detailed report of the findings. We then took that report and summarized it into a plain language version that you can find here: What We Heard Summary

We offered those that attended focus groups an opportunity to sign up to receive a copy of what we learned. This report is being emailed or mailed out to those that requested this shortly.

What we heard will shape the development of the framework, outcomes, and standards. We appreciated the time, energy and candor that was shared with us. This work will be better informed because you took the time to share your thoughts!

Keep watching here for new Possibility Post updates to keep up with what is happening and when you can have input once again!

The Possibility Post: Where the rubber hits the road to quality!

People jumping behind the words "It's not what we have, but who we have" By Winnie the PoohThis week is Direct Support Professional (DSP) Week and in pausing to honour the important and impactful work of DSPs in our Province, we reflect on their considerable contribution to the quality of life of the people they serve every day.

John F. Kennedy Jr., wrote, “Quality is defined at the point of interaction between the staff member and the individual with a disability.” Indeed, Direct Support Professionals define quality in every personal interaction they have each day. People with developmental disabilities work to fully contribute as valued members of their communities. The availability of qualified, competent, and stable Direct Support Professionals plays an important role in supporting people to accomplish these goals. To be successful, it is critical that DSPs have the competence, confidence, and ethical decision-making skills with the guidance necessary to provide quality support.

Continue reading “The Possibility Post: Where the rubber hits the road to quality!”

The Possibility Post: To Listen…

Over the past couple of months, we have embarked on a Province wide road trip to talk to people with disabilities, their families and the people who provide services to them. It has been a rich and profound experience to have people share their hopes, ideas and stories with us as we have gone to the different regions of the Province.
Continue reading “The Possibility Post: To Listen…”

The Possibility Post – Connection, Curiousity, Clarity

roadtripMuch has occurred over the past month and we are excited to begin our ‘road trip’ around the province to connect with people with disabilities, their families and service providers.

To recap… what exactly are we doing?

Through a partnership with the the Department of Families (Community Living disAbility Services, Abilities) and the broader community of people who receive services, their families and their service providers we intend to discover and develop four things:

  1. What does a good life look like? (What outcomes are present when the people with disabilities (or any of us)  are living a good life?)
  2. How do we know when people are living a good life? How do we measure or discover this in a consistent way?
  3. What do we need to do to help people to live a good life.  What standards need to be met to ensure this is the case?
  4. Tools that will help service providers improve their services or help people in the best way possible. How do we continue to build capacity and encourage growth for all service providers.

Continue reading “The Possibility Post – Connection, Curiousity, Clarity”

The Possibility Post – What’s in a name?

The other day, someone asked me… “So why do you call the blog, The Possibility Post?” In this blog, I plan to explore concepts related to quality services and supports … about how everyone can live a good life shaped by their own interests, dreams and goals in the community.

The inspiration for the name of the blog came from two of the great minds that have written widely in the field of disability for decades. Several years ago I stumbled upon this essay written by John O’Brien and Beth Mount and it has stuck with me ever since.. John and Beth remind us that an essential part of our work is to constantly ask “What else is possible?” … to stretch and grow, to gently nudge, encourage and walk with those that we support towards that positive and possiblecropped future.

Over my career, John O’Brien has continued to shape my thinking about working for people with intellectual disabilities. His commentary on the Five Valued Experiences along with his guidance to service providers on the Five Accomplishment acts as a guiding North Star for all of us to reach for. To learn more: click here

As we think about establishing a quality framework Continue reading “The Possibility Post – What’s in a name?”

The Possibility Post – Start Where You Are!

b2ap3_large_December-28-M_20170511-000504_1Dieter F. Uchtdorf said “The perfect place to begin, is right where you are!” .. and indeed how can we do anything but? The important thing is that we start!

This month marks yet another new beginning for Abilities Manitoba as we’ve signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Province to embark on the creation of a quality assurance framework for services provided to people who are funded through the Community Living disAbility Services. Abilities and our government partners have been talking about a means to measure and increase quality within the disability service sector for decades and we are very excited to begin.

The Possibility Post will be a regular forum and feature on this site as we do this work. Check back here regularly for updates, resources, musings and motivation related to best practice and a quality framework in providing meaningful, person centred services to citizens in Manitoba.

To start I thought I would share my first brief presentation to the Abilities Manitoba membership on November 15th in case you missed it!


I am tremendously excited to undertake this hugely important task and gain great confidence by the fact that while I have a lead role, I will be regularly (and I do mean regularly) rely on the collective wisdom and talent that lies in this room and as well as elsewhere in the province.

As Margo identified, we have entered into an agreement with the Province to develop a quality assurance framework, performance standards, and measurement tools for services being delivered to CLdS funded service providers. In addition, we will begin to gather or create and make available capacity building resources to help service providers meet these standards and continue to develop their services. Finally we will make recommendations on implementation options for the quality framework including articulating the risks and benefits of any particular option.

We will work with Health in Common who has already begun some of this work to first hear from people who receive our services, along with their families and service providers across the province. We want to and need to hear about what is currently being done by service providers to understand and evaluate the quality of their services, what would help, what worries people about this work and what people hope for. We will also review and learn from what other areas in Canada and the World have done in this area.

The focus of this work will be on quality. Quality as defined by the person receiving it. It will be not only focus on doing things right but on seeking first to understand what the right thing is. My bias will be that this is most often learned by having good meaningful conversations with people who receive support and their families to understand if the support being provided is even what they wish. Where traditional conversations may not be possible, the discovery process must be more creative and purposeful in order to gain this insight.

We will do this work in partnership with the Province in the form of an advisory committee and working group that will include representatives from member agencies both urban and rural. While not everyone can contribute through the working group, there will be multiple opportunities for people to be engaged with this work and contribute or provide feedback should they choose.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not end by thanking first the Abilities Board for the opportunity to contribute to this project and secondly to my employer, St.Amant and more specifically John, for his support and flexibility to make this opportunity a possibility for me personally as well as the commitment it shows to the work of Abilities Manitoba and to people with disabilities in the Province.

If you have questions, concerns, a burning desire to contribute earlier rather than later, I encourage you to get in touch! Until next time….
Leanne Fenez
QA Lead
Abilities Manitoba
204-791-9319