The Federation of People First Movements of Quebec is the official spokesperson for all Quebec People First Movements. The Federation works in consultation with its member organizations to defend the rights and interests of people living with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Our organization is dedicated to self-advocacy by and for people living with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
The People First Movement originated in the United States in the mid-1970s. The movement began when people living with intellectual or developmental disabilities decided to reject being labeled by others and having non-disabled people making decisions for them without their input. Instead, they chose to advocate for themselves, and began organizing and speaking out on a variety of social, political, and legal issues that affected them. Since the 1970s, the People First Movement has gained momentum and influence. There are now People First organizations in more than 30 countries worldwide.
In Quebec, the People First Movement had its first chapter started in Chicoutimi in 1983. The provincial alliance, Quebec’s Federation of First Person Movements, was created in 1991. The Federation’s goal is to co-ordinate and represent its members at the provincial level. The Federation is the official spokesperson Official spokesperson for all Quebec People First Movements. It advocates for and implements the People First philosophy, which emphasizes self-advocacy by people living with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
The Federation operates according to the philosophy of “By and For,” that is, it is led by and works for the people it represents. Our members with intellectual or developmental disabilities manage the organization themselves, speak and act on their own behalf, decide what actions to take, and decide how to achieve their goals. We govern ourselves using democratic principles and structures, so that each delegate and member has an opportunity to participate.
Within the Federation, there are several committees devoted to advocating on behalf of members in different areas of public life. These committees are the building blocks of our organization and represent democracy in action. The members of each committee are deeply involved in fulfilling the mandates entrusted to them. The members provide insight, discuss expectations and needs, and propose ideas to achieve Federation goals.
The Federation exercises constant vigilance in all areas of society that directly or indirectly affect the rights of people living with an intellectual of developmental disability so that they are respected and empowered.
Read below to learn more about our various activities.
Federation member organizations engage in regular outreach and awareness activities throughout Quebec. These activities are intended to build community relationships, increase awareness of issues affecting people living with intellectual or developmental disabilities, and reduce stigma. It gives our members a chance to be present and visible in their communities.
One of our favorite outreach campaigns is the annual Provincial Day of Quebec First Person Movements. It takes place each year during Quebec Week of Intellectual Disabilities. This day provides and opportunity for Federation members to reach out to their neighbors and raise awareness of the needs and abilities of people living with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Each year’s celebration has a theme, and activities take place throughout the province.
We also enjoy hosting art contests. Federation members will submit drawings, paintings, or other works of art that focus on a theme. Winning artworks are used in promotional materials to increase awareness and visibility of Federation activities and the abilities of Federation members.
As part of our outreach efforts, member organizations venture out into the community to participate in activities, make new friends, and establish connections. This provides our members with an opportunity to increase their community profile, find new organizations to partner with, and have some fun, too.
Federation members work closely with ministers and agencies in government to improve accessibility of government services, advocate for policies that will benefit people living with intellectual or developmental disabilities, and increase visibility of people living with disabilities generally. We aim to show that Federation members and others living with disabilities can fully participate in their government.
One of our most significant community partnerships started in 2009, when we developed a unique training program in conjunction with grant funding from SACAIS. The program, titled “Train to Better Defend,” is a set of training modules for Federation members and others. Using written materials, illustrations, pictograms, and lipdubbed video, we developed our materials to provide all members with a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of Federation administrators and delegates.
We maintain a strong network of organizations that we partner with to better advocate on behalf of our members. Here are just some of the organizations we have worked with in the past:
The Federation’s members also participate in legal advocacy on behalf of themselves and others with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Our range of advocacy topics includes access to health services, access to paid work, an increased availability and accessibility of social housing, and participation in government.
We also work to eliminate bias, both explicit and implicit, against people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities at school, at work, and at home. This work includes advocating for laws that would prevent school administrations, employers, and landlords from discriminating against people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities on the basis of their disability.
One area of increasing focus is advocating for and protecting the interests of older people living with intellectual or developmental disabilities. As our population ages, they will have new and different needs that they did not have when they were younger. They will face an intersection of elder discrimination and disability discrimination, and both older adults and people living with intellectual or developmental disabilities are often targets for abuse.