Christian Horizons Changes Name To Karis Disability Services

Karis Disability Services

Christian Horizons, a non-profit, developmental services organization, is changing its name to Karis Disability Services.

The disability services sector in Canada is changing, and this is good news for everybody. The 21st century has seen a shift to self-advocacy, self-directed services, better supportive housing, and a future of reform that will enable people with disabilities to fully belong. For decades, Canada’s largest developmental services provider, Christian Horizons, has been a voice and advocate of these changes so people with disabilities can live their best lives. To bring clarity to what they do and to ensure more people feel welcome to their services, Christian Horizons is changing its name to Karis Disability Services.

While the organization’s name will change, its values, vision, and mission, rooted in the Christian faith remain the same. Over the past year and a half, Karis Disability Services (formerly Christian Horizons) engaged in extensive research and testing, guided by research professionals, to arrive at this important decision.

“We believe that communicating a place of belonging and welcome begins with our name. Our hope is that this new name will open the doors for more people to both come work with us and for others to find the support they need,” said Janet Noel-Annable, Chief Executive Officer of Karis Disability Services.

“The new name of Karis Disability Services doesn’t change who we are. We still have the same beliefs and want everyone to feel equal,” said Dzidra Halar, a person supported and co-chair of Our Voices Matter Council. “It allows people to better understand what we do to support people with a disability – like me.”

As the move away from an institution-based system for people with disabilities continues, the move to a person-directed support model is good news for Canadians. Even today, many people with disabilities are segregated and denied the opportunity to fully exercise their civil and human rights. As these large, inhumane institutions have been closed, Karis Disability Services, along with many other sector partners, worked to create community-based housing and support, helping people with developmental disabilities live like everybody else.

However, while there has been tremendous progress in this important work, there is still so much to do. Today, many people across the country languish without effective support. Elderly families still act as primary caregivers for their loved ones, as they wait for service. People with disabilities spend far too long in hospitals after they are well, waiting for appropriate housing and support.

We are excited about the much-needed Canadian Disability Benefit, which has the potential to provide income support to people in desperate need. Canada, and each province, is working to think differently about services for people with disabilities, and the contribution people can make when they have reasonable, timely and effective support.

Karis Disability Services is committed to providing the best services possible and collaborating with partner organizations to strengthen our community services system. Together, people with disabilities will find welcoming places of belonging where they can live their best lives. Communities are at their best when everybody belongs and contributes their unique gifts.

“Karis comes from a Greek word meaning grace, favour, loving-kindness, and is related to the word ‘gift.’ Karis believes that all people have value and unique God-given gifts. Everybody is a gracious gift to their communities, and their communities are not whole without them or their gifts,” said Noel-Annable. “Disability Services clearly describes what we do. As we come alongside people with disabilities, we believe embracing the word ‘disability’ is an important aspect of human diversity and is the preferred term in our community.”

After the announcement of the new brand on Sept. 25,  Karis Disability Services will be hosting Annual Community Meetings across Ontario and Saskatchewan where employees, people supported, their families, and partner organizations come together to share stories and celebrate:

  • September 28 – Saskatoon, SK
  • October 2 – Chatham, ON
  • October 3 – Ottawa, ON
  • October 5 – Milton, ON
  • October 11 – Vaughan, ON
  • October 18 – Port Hope, ON
  • October 19 – North Bay, ON

Karis Disability Services’ Muskoka office is located in Suite 214 at 1 Crescent Road in Huntsville. Email for more information.


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