In 1996 a network of seven agencies was formed to focus on faith and culture inclusion and thus, the Faith and Culture Inclusion Network was born. In that first year, the Developmental Services Sector’s guiding document was “Making Services Work for People” (1997) from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
Currently, with the addition of other disability organizations in Ontario, the FCIN supports and promotes faith and culture needs, desires and choices in community and service planning. It also makes recommendations to provincial advisory groups and the government. The Faith and Culture Inclusion Network is a member of the Provincial Network on Developmental Disabilities which is a coalition of organizations representing service providers, families and self-advocates on behalf of people who experience intellectual disability.
The FCIN logo features an inuksuk. The traditional meaning of inuksuk is “Someone was here” or “You are on the right path.” The inukshuk is a welcome sight to a traveler on a featureless and forbidding landscape In Canada’s far north. For families attempting to obtain supports for people with developmental disabilities, the journey can appear much like a featureless and forbidding landscape. It is our hope that the FCIN can be a guide along the path to obtaining supports and pointing the way to full faith and cultural inclusion.
It is the desire of the FCIN to raise awareness of caring for the whole person, including spiritual and cultural needs. For many people, faith and cultural traditions, celebrations, practices and rituals are woven into the fabric of their lives resulting in positive outcomes that may not be immediately observed. Having informed supports that are readily available for people who experience developmental disabilities that reflect both their spiritual and cultural identities is crucial to a fulfilling and whole life.
Ontario is a culturally and spiritually diverse province, therefore is it especially important that the right to one’s own faith and culture be upheld and respected.