Independent Living (IL)

June 6th, 2022

Independent Living (IL) is a vision, a philosophy and a movement of persons with disabilities. Born on California University campuses in the 1970s, the movement spread to Canada in the 1980s and has since reached around the globe and changed how people view and respond to disability.

Independent Living is founded on the right of people with disabilities to:

Live with dignity in their chosen community; 

Participate in all aspects of their life; and 

Control and make decisions about their own lives. 


The IL vision and philosophy have been articulated through the Independent Living movement – a network of individuals and community-based resource centres across the country, supported by a national organization, Independent Living Canada.

The IL movement differs from traditional services in providing organizations by emphasizing peer support, self-direction, and community integration by and for people with disabilities themselves. The information below provides the five historical views of people with disabilities in Canadian society.

The IL model embraces the notion that rights and responsibilities are shared between citizens and the state, focusing on building a country based on the principles of inclusion, equity, affordability, and justice.


Independent Living Resource Centres do not engage in collective advocacy. Instead, the IL movement promotes an end to institutional living people with disabilities and encourages and supports individuals to integrate into the community.

While the aim of Independent Living is not to make a person “normal” in a physical or mental sense, the movement emphasizes the value of people with disabilities to have ordinary life experiences by providing community-based, consumer-controlled services, supports, resources and skills training to enable people with disabilities to live an “ordinary life” in the community.

The Independent Living (IL) Movement evolved in the USA around the ’70s, and Japan learned from it in the ’80s. The movement has changed society over the years by empowering people with disabilities and establishing PA services and Accessibility. Later, the IL movement spread globally to Asia, Africa, and Central America.

On July 23, 2017, US-Japan IL Leaders called for the GLOBAL IL SUMMIT, which will bring leaders from various countries to gather and form World Independent Living Network – WIN.

Members who were present at the 2017 Global IL Summit – 

  1. Asia:
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Mongolia
  • Pakistan
  • Nepal
  • Cambodia
  • Philippines
  • Viet Nam
  • Myanmar
  • Malaysia

2. North America:

  • USA
  • Canada

3. South America:

  • Costa Rica
  • bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Argentina

4. Africa:

  • South Africa

5. Europe:

  • Sweden

Comments are closed.