Supported Decision-Making Three Part Webinar Series

March 17, 2014

Presented by

Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities

Burton Blatt Institute

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

In the summer of 2013, a young woman named Jenny Hatch won a landmark legal battle protecting her right to make her own life decisions using supported decision-making instead of being subjected to guardianship. Nationwide, people with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities continue to be placed under guardianship, losing their rights to make basic, fundamental decisions like where to live, what to do and who to see.  Supported decision-making (SDM) is an effective, less restrictive alternative to guardianship that uses trusted friends, family members and advocates to give people with disabilities the help they need and want to understand the situations they face and the choices they must make, so they can make their own decisions.  SDM shows great promise for increasing self-determination and improving quality of life outcomes.

Lessons Learned from the Canadian Experience: Supported Decision-Making Models

March 26, 2014
1:00 – 2:30pm EST

Webinar Materials

The Canadian experience provides useful lessons about the underlying principles, structure, and approach of SDM as an alternative to guardianship and other substituted decision-making methods.  For instance, 2005 Yukon legislation gives individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities the right to enter into a supported decision-making agreement. In British Columbia, an individual with a disability may enter into a representation agreement with a support network.

On March 26, 2014 a panel of experts from Canada will share lessons learned from using SDM to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities make their own decisions and order their own lives to the maximum of their capabilities.


Michael Bach is Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Association for Community Living, the national Association of over 300 local Associations and 13 Provincial / Territorial Associations working to build a more inclusive Canada for people with intellectual disabilities and their families. He is also Managing Director of IRIS (the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society). For the past twenty-five years he has undertaken research and development in Canada and internationally on ways to advance the full inclusion and human rights of persons with intellectual disabilities. His publications cover disability theory, policy and practice in a range of areas including legal capacity, education, employment, and funding and delivery of community-based services. He holds a Ph. D. in Sociology and Equity Studies from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.

Lana Kerzner is a lawyer in Toronto, Canada who has devoted her legal career to disability law and policy work. She works, often in collaboration with disability organizations, to advance the rights of people with disabilities through law reform and education. She teaches Disability and the Law at Ryerson University and at the Law Society of Upper Canada. Her work currently focuses on capacity, decision-making and the international law implications of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and she speaks at conferences, both in Canada and internationally, on the topic. Lana works in private practice and previously worked in Ontario's Legal Aid Clinic system, both at ARCH Disability Law Centre and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly. She obtained her LL.B from the University of Toronto in 1992 and was called to the Ontario bar in 1994. She is also a graduate of the Maytree Public Policy Training Institute.

Peter Park was born in a small town in Ontario, where he lived for the first 20 years of his life. For the next 18 years, he was incarcerated at the Oxford Regional Centre Woodstock, an institution in Ontario. When Peter re-entered the community, he dedicated his life to advocating for people who have been labelled with an intellectual disability. Whether it be at the Supreme Court of Canada, or a small rural setting, Peter continues to advocate and educate on the realities of living in an institution, the barriers he faced, and the violation of rights that occurred while he was there. Peter has delivered presentations in Canada and internationally. He spends much of his time and energy travelling across Canada helping to organize other People First groups and continuing to advocate on behalf of Canadian's who have been labelled with an intellectual disability. Peter currently lives in the Toronto area with his wife, Rhea, of 24 years.

Samantha Crane
Director of Public Policy, Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Samantha Crane is Director of Public Policy at ASAN’s national office. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Samantha previously served as staff attorney at the Bazelon Center of Mental Health Law, focusing on enforcing the right to community integration as established by the Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C., and as an associate at the litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart, & Sullivan, L.L.P., where she focused on patent and securities litigation. From 2009 to 2010, Samantha served as law clerk to the Honorable Judge William H. Yohn at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Tina Campanella
Chief Executive Officer, Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities


Supported Decision Making: Evolution of an idea and Canadian experience
by Michael Bach

Supported Decision-Making in Canada: Legislative Approaches and Lessons Learned
by Lana Kerzner


More information on the Supported Decision Three Part Webinar Series [PDF]

More information about the Jenny Hatch Justice Project