604-939-8070 2322 St. John's Street, Port Moody, V3H 2A9

Reflecting on Community Inclusion Month 2023

A month has passed in a flash and we had a wonderful Community Inclusion Month at CVS. As we reflect on an important month for us at CVS, we are happy to have been united with so many people across our community who are looking to spread the message of inclusion in their daily lives.

Here are some highlights from the month:

  1. The Tri-City Newsletter Series – in partnership with The Tri-City News, we launched four articles into the public that discussed key elements of what inclusion is in our community – Inclusive Employment, Inclusive Housing, Social Enterprises, and Giving Back to Our Communities.
  2. CVS Open House – on October 18th CVS hosted an open house and we had a wonderful time. It was a great afternoon and was lovely to open our doors to the public to celebrate Inclusion Month.
  3. DisDaBomb Bath Bomb Making Workshops – on October 28th, our social enterprise, DisDaBomb hosted its 1st ever bath bomb making workshop. It was a lot of fun and everyone had a great time making Halloween-inspired bath bombs that looked great while having loads of fun.
  4. Attended The Chamber of Commerce Inclusive Growth Dialogue Series hosted by The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce and The Canadian Chamber of Commerce – this was a great opportunity for us to get out into the community and learn more of the great work many employers are doing to be more inclusive across the Tri-Cities and Greater Vancouver Area.

Part 4: Community Inclusion Means We All Contribute

At CVS, we believe that everyone in our community has the ability to contribute and to make a difference. We invest a lot of time promoting the concept of inclusion in our community with local businesses, governments, and with the general public. We always want to practice what we preach. To that end, we encourage people we support at CVS to give back to our community. We encourage them to find ways to help make our community a better place. And, we encourage them to find ways to use their diverse talents for the betterment of our community as a whole. 

Luckily, the people we support at CVS have such a wide range of interests and diverse abilities. Some love animals, others love socializing and many others have specific skill sets that can be applied in our communities to help the environment that surrounds us. 

CVS has existed as an agency for 45 years in the Tri-Cities and, throughout that time, we’ve managed to help in so many ways. We’ve made a major impact in the neighborhoods around our office locations but have also extended our support well beyond our immediate neighbors. Let’s find out more about how we have given back to our community and spread the message of inclusion at the same time.  

Working in the Community 
Yes, employment helps the people we support earn a living and feel part of their community. However, as we discussed in Part 1 of our series a few weeks ago, it also helps others in the community feel better connected and it provides employers with loyal employees. Currently, there is a major labour shortage across the country. This has opened the eyes of many employers to bring in people with diverse abilities to see how this can help resolve gaps in employment within an organization. So, this helps the employer because it fills a job but it also helps the other employees as it enables them to work alongside a reliable colleague and to develop a new friend.

Supporting Local Businesses & Organizations 

At CVS, we are out in the community more than we are inside our offices. This is at the foundation of our organization and, actually, why our agency has the phrase “Community Ventures” right in it. We always want to get out and about into the community so we are able to enjoy all that our community has to offer. As a result, the people we support and our staff are supporting the operation of local businesses, facilities and programs. This has helped us expose the people we support to new experiences and others in the community but it has also helped those businesses and organizations grow their own businesses in the Tri-Cities.  

Volunteering as a Means of Giving Back 

All the people we support have dreams and aspirations like we all do. Many of the people we serve want to help others. When this aspiration comes up during one of our discovery sessions, we always look to pull in opportunities to volunteer in the community. We know that there are so many organizations throughout the Tri-Cities that are consistently looking for support to help them deliver their programs to the public. We are so glad that we’ve had a chance to be part of giving back to our community over the decades. 

In our local neighborhood in Port Moody, CVS has been a supporter of the Adopt-a-Street initiative for nearly 10 years. The people we serve go out and take pride in cleaning up the areas around St John’s and Kyle Street to ensure it remains a clean and welcoming place. Most recently, we’ve extended this into Coquitlam and have people we serve volunteering for the Adopt a Catch Basin program. This began on July 7th and we currently help clean three catch basins in the Coquitlam area. 

In the past, we’ve also helped out with animals at the BCSPCA, volunteered with seniors in the community and volunteered time at the Eagle Ridge Bible Fellowship Church, doing various tasks at the Church that are needed by their volunteer community. The House of Omeed in Port Moody also has partnered with CVS to bring in volunteers, helping with breaking down cardboard for their food bank housed within. This began on May 26th 2023 and is a regular volunteering opportunity that helps this smaller food bank deliver much needed support to its community. 

We continue to look for opportunities to donate our time into the community. We recognize the need that there is out there right now and if we can help, we want to. The people we support want to. 

Why Giving Back to the Community is Important 

Giving back to the community is at the foundation of community inclusion and what it means for us all to live together in our society. When there are needs, we need to look outwards to see who can help and we need to understand how all of our diverse abilities can be applied to things that need to be done. We can all do the things – we may do them differently, but that’s OK and it is often welcomed. The more we work together, the happier we’ll be. 

To learn more about how CVS gives back to our community or if you have a volunteer opportunity you’d like to tell us about, please reach out. We want to take this time to thank everyone for reading our 4-part series. If you want to catch up on any of the articles we’ve released over the past few weeks, please visit our Blog and always feel free to reach out on social media via Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Part 1:Inclusive Employment – Creating Wins for All

As we say hello to Fall, we say goodbye to BC Disability Employment Month which we celebrate every September. We now welcome one of our favourite months here at CVS- October – where we celebrate Community Inclusion Month. This is a month to celebrate people with diverse abilities and harness their special gifts. One of the most powerful ways a person with developmental disabilities can integrate into their communities is by being part of the workforce. Inclusive employment is an important topic for all of us in the community as hiring inclusively offers benefits for people with developmental disabilities, employers and the community. 

While employing people with disabilities can often be seen as an opportunity for a company to contribute to a social cause, there is actually an even bigger benefit for employers to hire inclusively than there is to the person being employed. Hiring people with diverse abilities can help organizations resolve staffing issues, bring on new people with creative ideas and create greater bonds within the organization and the community at large. 

The Advantage of Building an Inclusive Workforce

The difference between success and failure lies in the talent and diverse skill set of your workforce. Across Canada, there are close to 500,000 working-aged adults with an intellectual disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This largely untapped workforce can help address current labour shortages while making businesses stronger, more diverse and more productive. There is rapidly increasing pressure on businesses both large and small to be on the cutting edge of innovative practices, processes, and products. A business that can build and retain a diverse team where employees are engaged and invested, and where their skills and interests align with their roles, is much more likely to be successful. 


Across the country, many jobs go unfilled because individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability are not considered as potential candidates. Their strengths and talents are often overlooked due to outdated and false perceptions that focus on the ‘disability’ rather than the ‘ability’. Common concerns for Canadian businesses in considering hiring an individual with a disability include:  

  • Productivity and performance  
  • Impact on corporate culture  
  • Impact on consumers  
  • Safety  
  • Cost of accommodations 

These preconceived concerns about hiring employees with an intellectual or developmental disability averaged 42% higher than the challenges actually experienced in hiring them according to research from the Institute for Corporate Productivity. 

Ready, Willing & Able (RWA) is a national initiative of the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA) and their member organizations. Funded by the Government of Canada and active in each province and territory across the country, RWA supports Canadian businesses to build an inclusive workplace that capitalizes on the skills and qualifications of people with an intellectual disability or ASD. Through this program, some interesting finds about the misconceptions listed above were uncovered –

Source: Ready, Willing & Able

Right now there is a labour shortage occurring across Canada. Employers are finding it tough to find people to fulfil roles. Hiring inclusively helps to provide a solution to this issue and may be the key to thinking differently about how to structure jobs in a way that takes best advantage of people’s diverse abilities. As we celebrate Community Inclusion Month, it’s important that we all open up our minds and celebrate our uniqueness. 

To learn more about Inclusive Employment, get in touch with us at CVS.

And…stay tuned for our 2nd part of our 4-part series next week – Inclusive Housing.

Annual Report 2022/2023

2022/2023 was an exciting year for CVS. We went through a new strategic planning process resulting in 4 s new strategic priorities for us to focus on for the next four years. We also got back out into community, attending many events, working, volunteering and making every day special. Please take the time to check out our annual report this year.   

Download the 2022/2023 CVS Annual Report  

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New Changes in Community Inclusion & Homes

There have been some recent changes to staffing our Community Inclusion and Homes programs. These changes will take effect starting in May but we wanted to announce the changes now so everyone is aware and can congratulate Patrick, Philip and Ike on their new appointments.

Patrick Fowler

Patrick Fowler has been appointed as the Discovery #1 Program Coordinator, reporting to Dawne Windblad. Patrick has been part of the CVS team for several years now and has most recently moved to this role from the Footloose Program Coordinator position. He will continue to help out and be at the main office as needed until then.  Congratulations Patrick!

Philip Nkum will be starting the role of Temporary Footloose Program Coordinator on May 6th, reporting to Dawne Windblad. Over the past year, Philp has been working at Upper Inverness in a Temporary Program Coordinator role. Welcome to Community Inclusion Philip!

Philip Nkum


Ike de Vera

Ike de Vera will move into the role of Inverness Program Coordinator starting on May 1st, reporting to Adrienne Mohr. Ike held a permanent position at Inverness House in the overnight position previously. He then took the temporary PC position at Moore House before moving into this permanent role. Congratulations Ike!

A Message from our Board of Directors (Medical Assistance in Dying – MAID)

CVS Statement on Bill C-7 and Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)

Approved by the Community Ventures Society Board: February 26, 2024

The Community Ventures Society Board is following the impacts of Bill C-7’s expansion of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) eligibility that allows access to MAID for those who do not meet the reasonably foreseeable natural death requirement. The Board believes that Bill C-7’s expansion of MAID eligibility lacks the necessary safeguards to protect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and uphold their human rights.  

We are concerned that MAID will be too readily promoted or suggested to people with disabilities, when many of the critical factors influencing their life decisions, in this case whether to live or die, relate directly to the absence of appropriate supports.  Key supports include addressing poverty, lack of housing, adequate health care and related socioeconomic considerations that are often disproportionately experienced by people with disabilities. The government has an obligation to ensure that people with disabilities have the support and resources to lead self-determined, dignity-filled lives. Providing access to MAID while simultaneously failing to address ableist systems and lack of support is not only irresponsible, it is a violation of Canada’s commitments as a signatory to the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

We are concerned that Bill C-7 does not recognize the vulnerability of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Furthermore, we are concerned that they will be directly or indirectly influenced to choose MAID, by those in a position of power who are making judgments based on negative stereotypes about whether a life with a disability is worth living.  We believe that the expansion of MAID to allow access based solely on disability status perpetuates these negative stereotypes and assumptions of life lived with disability. 

The federal government recently delayed the expansion of MAID to include people living with mental illness until 2027.  We believe a similar pause to Bill C-7 should be put in place until further safeguards and provisions are in place to affirm fully and uphold the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The effects of legislation must be understood beyond the intent. 

The Board commits to proactively working with partner agencies and organization to advocate for these changes. 


The Community Ventures Society Board of Directors

For more information of recommended safeguards within Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada: https://inclusioncanada.ca/MAID/. For more information on the Canadian policy on Medical Assistance in Dying: https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/ad-am/bk-di.html

Accessible Version: CVS Statement on Bill C-7 and Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)

The Community Ventures Society Board has been learning about Bill C-7’s expansion of MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying), which allows people who have a disability that is not life threatening to apply for access to MAID. 

  • The Board believes this change in the law is harmful for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and does not respect their human rights.  
  • We think the government has a responsibility to provide support for people with disabilities, including financial assistance, housing and healthcare. The government should provide support and resources that lead to self-determined, dignity-filled lives. 
  • Providing access to MAID, while not providing enough support is a violation of Canada’s commitments as a signatory to the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
  • We are worried that this new law encourages negative ideas about disability and can put people with disabilities at risk.
  • We believe the government should stop providing MAID to people that have with intellectual and developmental disabilities and are not sick or close to dying. 
  • The government should provide people with good support and create rules that protect people from discrimination when discussing the use of MAID.
  • The Board will work with our partners to advocate for these changes. 


The Community Ventures Society Board of Directors

For more information of recommended safeguards within Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada: https://inclusioncanada.ca/MAID/
For more information on the Canadian policy on Medical Assistance in Dying: https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/ad-am/bk-di.html

Join Us for a Pub/Paint Night on March 26th!

Note: please register for Painting by Friday, March 22nd!

We hope to see you on Tuesday, March 26th at the Cat & Fiddle Pub in Port Coquitlam. CVS will be hosting a Pub/Paint Night event for our community and all are welcome. To make the pub night even more fun for us all, we’ll be adding in an optional Paint night into the evening. We’ll be painting the beautiful painting “The Ocean Rocks” (as shown below). Feel free to come for the pub only, painting only or both! It’s your choice!

If you would like to enjoy food & drinks at the pub, be sure to arrive at 5pm and you can choose from a range of the Cat & Fiddle’s menu items, including their Happy Hour menu and the option for a $12.50 + tax burger, fries and drink deal. The cost of food & drinks will be paid directly by you to the pub. 

Painting will start at 6pm. The cost for painting per ticket is $15 and advanced payment is required to secure your tickets. 

Let us know if you will be joining us at the pub & Reserve your tickets for painting ASAP in the form below

Enter your contact information in the form below to secure your tickets. Alternatively, you can contact Miriam Hoolahan directly at [email protected].

When:  Tuesday, March 26th at 5:00pm to enjoy food & drinks at the pub; painting begins at 6:00 pm 

Cost:  Food & drink costs paid directly to The Cat & Fiddle/$15 paid in advance to [email protected]

Reserve Your Tickets Now!
Enter your contact details below


Sign Up – Pub/Paint Night – March 26th 2024

I plan to attend:

Pub night image

It’s Movie Night With CVS!

Grab your popcorn and a comfy chair, CVS is excited to invite you to join us for a movie night on Monday, April 8th at 6:00 pm! For your $5, you will get entry to see Ghostbusters – Frozen Empire at Coquitlam Cineplex as well as a small pop and popcorn!Running time for the movie is 2 hours (2 hours and 5 mins) and is rated PG-13.

Through the generosity of the Port Moody Foundation and their grant to help us provide fun events for the people we support, we have the opportunity to host this event and we would love for you to join us. Thank you to the Port Moody Foundation for your continued support.

If you would like to attend, please let us know by Tuesday, April 2nd – tickets will go quickly, so don’t miss out! 

Advanced payment of the $5 is required to secure your tickets. 

Reserve your tickets ASAP in the form below

Enter your contact information in the form below to secure your tickets. Alternatively, you can contact Miriam Hoolahan directly at [email protected].

When:  Monday, April 8th at 6:00 pm (come 10 mins early to get your popcorn!)

Where: Cineplex Odeon, Coquitlam

Cost:  $5

Reserve Your Tickets Now!
Enter your contact details below

Sign Up – Movie Night – April 2024

I plan to pay by:

Plan Institute RDSP Translated Webinars

Plan Institute is excited to launch their Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Level 1 webinar in Arabic, Mandarin/Simplified Chinese, Spanish, and Punjabi this March!

Arabic: Tuesday, March 19th, 6:30 – 8:45 PM PT

ندوة عبر الإنترنت باللغة العربية حول خطة الادخار المسجّلة لذوي الإعاقة المستوى 1: الثلاثاء 19 مارس/آذار 6:30 – 8:45 مساء 

Mandarin/Simplified Chinese: Wednesday, March 20th, 6:30 – 8:45 PM PT

普通话/简体中文 注册残障人士储蓄计划 (RDSP) 1 级网络研讨会: 3 月 20 日星期三, 间下午 6:30-8:45

Spanish: Monday, March 25th, 6:30 – 8:45 PM PT

Seminario web sobre el Plan de ahorro registrado para personas con discapacidad (RDSP) de Nivel 1 en español: Lunes, 25 de marzo 6:30-8:45 p. m.

Punjabi: Tuesday, March 26th, 6:30 – 8:45 PM PT

ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਰਜਿਸਟਰਡ ਡਿਸਏਬਿਲਿਟੀ ਸੇਵਿੰਗਸ ਪਲਾਨ (RDSP) Level 1 ਵੈਬੀਨਾਰ: ਮੰਗਲਵਾਰ, ਮਾਰਚ 26, 6:30-8:45PM

The Level 1: Intro to the RDSP webinar is for anyone who wants to learn the basics of RDSPs, including what an RDSP is, who qualifies, how to apply for the Disability Tax Credit, and how to open an RDSP. No prior knowledge of the RDSP is required. Registrants will also receive a translated guide to the DTC and RDSP and a link to the webinar recording.

All are welcome and registration is free.

For more information and to register any of the webinars, please visit: https://www.rdsp.com/. If you have any difficulty registering for these webinars, please call 604-439-9566 extension 156 or email [email protected] for help.

Happy International Women’s Day

CVS was excited to celebrate International Women’s Day 2024 with the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce. A few of us from CVS attended the Chamber’s annual event. It was a great event with a keynote speaker as well as a panel discussion.

DisDaBomb also had the honour in supplying the Chamber with our beautiful bath bombs for the event. Over 200 attendees received a bath bomb & speakers received bath bomb sets to enjoy!

Happy International Women’s Day everyone!

Reminders – Illness & Response – Updated January 5th, 2024

We continue to monitor the current situation closely in terms of illness across CVS and we will continue to do this over the winter months. Right now, we will maintain the precautions we introduced in December 2023.

For any people we support who chose to stay home during December, we want to thank you for taking these extra precautions and you have probably been made aware that you are welcome to come back anytime you are ready. We are taking lots of precautions at CVS and we’re happy to report that things are operating as normal, alongside staff and people we support wearing masks to prevent further spread of illness. 

Please note: Masks are still required at CVS by all staff and people we support (where possible) until further notice – masks are available at all CVS locations. We are continuing this precaution to reduce the likelihood of further spread of illness across the organization. 

Once again, if you are feeling unwell, and have a fever or other more severe cold and flu symptoms, please do not come into your program and only return to your program once you are feeling better.

Other Tools to Prevent the Spread of Cold & Flu

In addition to wearing a mask and staying home if you are feeling ill, please continue to wash your hands regularly. We will encourage the people we serve to do this throughout the day. 

COVID-19 and flu vaccines are now available for this season and we encourage you to keep up-to-date on these vaccinations. Additionally, free COVID-19 tests are available at most pharmacies so please take the time to pick up a box or two to test if any symptoms are present. 

In Memory of Amanda Lokay

This week, we lost a beloved member of CVS. Amanda Lokay, who was Program Coordinator for Discovery 1, passed away on Monday, December 11th, 2023. She was surrounded by her family at the time.

Amanda was with CVS since 2005 and, during that time, she was well loved across our organization. Her passion for her work and care for the people we support will be forever missed. All of us send our loving thoughts to her family and Amanda’s loved ones. Rest in peace, Amanda.

If you have any questions related to Discovery 1, please contact Dawne Windblad or Krissy Elliott until further notice.

We have just found out information relating to Amanda’s Celebration of Life. It will be held on January 20th at St Helen’s Anglican Church (10787 128th Street, Surrey) at 2pm. Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate Amanda.