Planned Lifetime Networks (Waterloo-Wellington-Oxford)
Do you want: 

* a good life for your relative who may be socially isolated with a disability? 
* a safe and secure future supported by a personal network of caring friends? 

So do others in our region. 

Planned Lifetime Networks (Waterloo-Wellington-Oxford) is an incorporated not-for-profit charity in Ontario and an affiliate of PLANtm of Burnaby BC, which has pioneered the formation of personal support networks for people with disabilities since 1988. Visit PLAN's website at
His Excellency John Ralston Saul became Patron of PLAN and its affiliates in 2002.

Our Vision

Members of Planned Lifetime Networks envision a future in which people with disabilities:

  • Enjoy financial security
  • Live in a home that is a sanctuary
  • Participate in a caring and hospitable community
  • Are supported by family and friends
  • Have their wishes and choices respected
  • Are protected from abuse and exploitation
  • Make contributions to their communities
  • Have families who enjoy peace of mind.
Our Core Beliefs:

Members of Planned Lifetime Networks believe:

  • In the gifts and capacities of our relatives with disabilities
  • That friends form the foundation of quality of life and a safe and secure future
  • That families should direct the planning for the futures of their relatives with disabilities 
  • That independence from government funding for the direct operations of PLN makes us more effective in planning for and monitoring the quality of life and future security of people with disabilities.
Our Mission:

Planned Lifetime Networks will support families to develop quality of life and safe and secure futures for their relatives with disabilities. We will:

  • Assist families to plan for the future
  • Connect families to others in similar circumstances
  • Support people with disabilities to understand their options and make choices
  • Facilitate the establishment of a loving and caring personal support network for each person with a disability
  • Provide advice and referral on developing wills and estate plans, creating discretionary trusts, and maintaining government benefits
  • Provide advice and referral on alternatives to the current government-administered social services
  • Monitor the quality of programs and services a person with a disability receives, particularly after their parents and family members are no longer able to do so.
  • Provide recommendations and advice on home ownership and legal guardianship options
  • Monitor trends in tax and trust legislation, and work for better tax breaks for families who care for disabled relatives
  • Create a greater community awareness of the contributions that can be made by people with disabilities.
Questions and Answers

Q. How can PLN create a safe and secure future for people with disabilities?

A. First, we will listen closely to the individual and the family to gain a thorough understanding of their goals and the challenges they face. Then we will assemble a group of caring people, which includes the individual, parents and other family members, as well as friends and neighbours. When the time is right, we may introduce sensitive professionals to provide advice and support. 

Q. What is a Personal Network?

A. Personal Network is a group of caring, dedicated people who are committed to your relative who has a disability. They become the eyes, ears, arms, legs and heart of PLN. All of us have Personal Networks—people we can count on and confide in, people who help us out. Unfortunately, many people with disabilities don’t experience such support. They need a little extra help to recruit and maintain a network of friends and supporters. Personal Networks will provide PLN with the opportunity to get to know your relative with a disability and to work closely with you and your family before a crisis occurs. In the unlikely event that a Personal Network should collapse, PLN would dedicate staff resources to creating a new Personal Network while providing staff support in the interim. To ensure this doesn’t happen, PLN facilitators will monitor all Personal Networks and ensure the continued recruitment and involvement of active members.

Q. How can PLN help me plan my will and ensure my financial assets are in order?

A. PLN will offer a Future Planning Advisory Service. Although we are not lawyers, estate or financial planners, we do have considerable lay expertise. We can offer tips, insights and potential solutions based on the accumulated wisdom of other families. We can also work closely with knowledgeable lawyers, trust officers, financial planners, and life insurance companies. We do not endorse any firm, company or individual, but we can refer families to sensitive, informed professionals.

Q. What is a Future Planning Consultation?

A. A PLN consultant will facilitate a comprehensive review of the current state of affairs with regard to you or your relative with a disability. This review takes about two hours and includes:

    • Goal identification
    • Housing options
    • Guardianship alternatives and decision-making options
    • Will and estate planning
    • Relationship and quality of life considerations
    • Identifying ways to secure your plan.
Two Of Our People

BETH is a young woman full of dreams for the future. Recently she bounced in the front door bursting with pride because she had learned to travel "alone" on the city bus. "I got job" she proudly announces to anyone who will listen, describing her field placement at Canadian Tire. She has a full life with school, work activities, and a social life full of friends and family.

Beth lives with Down syndrome, with limitations in judgement and communication, and is only just beginning to read. She dreams of having a real job to go to each day and a place of her own, an apartment (Beth hates yard work) with room to entertain friends and to relax. Her family shares Beth’s dreams. She’d like to sing and dance "on stage" with the Back Street Boys! She sees her life continuing as it is now. 

But Beth’s life is changing. Soon school will end and with it all the support and social outlets she enjoys. She has little idea that her family will not always be there and the government supports only sheltered workshops and group homes—places where she would be extremely unhappy. Her family has great concerns that Beth’s dreams for a good life will not be actualized and that she will fall into a place of isolation and lack of control. That is where PLN comes in. By establishing a lifelong personal network for Beth, she will have a community of support to help her make good decisions to reach and maintain the life she so desires.

Andrew is 32 and lives with the severe disabilities of autism. As he does not speak, others may assume that he has nothing to say and even that he doesn’t hear or understand them. But he has sensible and mature thoughts and, with facilitation, types on a computer-with-a-voice to comment and make choices. He needs a great deal of personal support and reassurance. 

During the past four years, Andrew has taken several steps towards a good life. He now lives in his own home and can make choices about how and with whom he spends his time, with whom he lives, and how he contributes to his community. He is able to continue learning and to do real work. He teaches his friends and caregivers to understand the support strategies that help him best. His health and quality of life have improved greatly and he says his life is "terrific these days."

But anxiety overwhelms Andrew when he thinks about the future, after his parents die or can no longer provide direct personal support. He has no siblings and no relatives at all in North America. Andrew needs PLN’s expertise and commitment to keep his personal network strong so that its members will care about him and understand how best to use available resources to support him after his parents have gone. "I’m really worried about my future. I can’t see myself depending on other people. I need to know how I can depend on them."

How to Help and Learn More About PLN

* Become a member, as:

    • Associate member or 
    • Full member
  • Make a donation. PLN is a registered charity in Canada: # BN892254418RR0001 
  • Be a member of a support network
  • Apply to be a community connector
  • Serve on a PLN sub-committee devoted to, for example: raising community awareness; recruiting and training community connectors; fundraising.
  • Support PLN’s work on financial and estate planning, wills and trusts

  • Purchase a copy of A Good Life: for you and your relative with a disability by Al Etmanski. Burnaby, BC: Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network, 2000. Read OAARSN review
  • Subscribe to the free email PLN List bulletin 

For more information, contact:

Planned Lifetime Networks (Waterloo-Wellington-Oxford)
5-240 Erb Street West, Suite 306
Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 6K6
phone (519) 746-1188


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