2022 Edition

Group Living Services (CA-GLS) 11: Community and Social Connections

Residents cultivate and sustain connections with their community and social support network to promote positive well-being.
NA The organization only serves residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.




Group Living Services allow individuals who need additional support to regain, maintain, and improve life skills and functioning in a safe, stable, community-based living arrangement.
Note: Programs serving residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities should refer to CA-PRG 5: Services for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for facilitating community and social connections
  • Employment policy
  • Procedures for obtaining clearance to participate in athletic activities
  • Community resource list
  • Proof of accreditation, licensure, or certification for outside providers operating adventure-based activities
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Residents
  • Review case records
  • Observe a variety of activities


CA-GLS 11.01

The organization facilitates residents’ ability to access all available services and successfully reintegrate into their community by:
  1. remaining knowledgeable about local, regional, and provincial/territorial resources, including networking and leadership opportunities; and
  2. identifying opportunities for residents to develop positive ties to the community based on mutual interests and abilities.


CA-GLS 11.02

Organizations create a normative environment for residents and provide them with opportunities to participate in:
  1. culturally and developmentally appropriate social, recreational, volunteer, educational, or vocational activities in their community;
  2. religious observances in the faith group or spirituality of choice; and
  3. family and neighborhood activities consistent with their ethnic and cultural heritage and tribal affiliation.
Examples: Activities in the community can include sports teams, drama, choir, and musical groups that promote pro-social behaviours and values.


CA-GLS 11.03

Residents, and their families when possible and appropriate, are:
  1. helped to develop social support networks and build healthy, meaningful relationships with caring individuals of their choosing; and
  2. actively connected with peer support services appropriate to their request or need for service.


Connections to outside self-help/mutual aid groups should not be limited to providing the time and location for a meeting.  Organizations can support the individual’s acclimation to a new group by, for example, discussing meeting protocols and what to expect prior to attending, accompanying them to their first meeting, and encouraging them to make connections with peers while at the meeting.
Examples: “Caring individuals” may include mentors, community members, friends, classmates, peers, siblings, cousins, grandparents, former foster parents, and extended family members.

Examples: Peer support services can help to promote resiliency and recovery and are provided by individuals who have shared, lived experience. They can include self-help/mutual aid recovery groups, peer-to-peer counselling, peer mentoring or coaching, family and youth peer support, or other consumer-run services.


CA-GLS 11.04

The organization encourages social and community integration through the development of life skills necessary to:
  1. navigate the surrounding environment;
  2. perform activities of daily living;
  3. obtain safe and stable housing;
  4. manage a household;
  5. pursue educational, occupational, and volunteer opportunities;
  6. manage finances including credit and debt counseling when needed;
  7. maintain personal safety;
  8. access community resources;
  9. access social or public assistance;
  10. communicate effectively and avoid or resolve conflicts;
  11. reduce risk-taking behaviours including practice with decision making and anger management;
  12. participate in recreational activities and/or hobbies; and
  13. prepare for family reintegration, independent living, or another less restrictive setting, if applicable.


This standard is applicable for all residents regardless of age. Organizations should tailor life skills training to meet the age and developmental level of persons served.

Fundamental Practice

CA-GLS 11.05

The organization evaluates residents for their ability to participate in athletic activities and obtains:
  1. a written, signed permission slip from the resident's legal guardian;
  2. a medical records release;
  3. a signed document from a qualified medical professional stating that the resident is physically capable of participating; and/or
  4. an adult waiver and release of liability.
NA The organization does not offer athletic activities to residents.


CA-GLS 11.06

When the organization offers employment or employment-related training to residents, organization policy:
  1. ensures residents are matched with jobs and training opportunities that reflect their goals and interests;
  2. maximizes resident choice, and does not mandate participation; and
  3. prohibits resident exploitation.
NA The organization does not provide employment-related training or jobs to residents.

Fundamental Practice

CA-GLS 11.07

Organizations that purchase services from providers that operate adventure-based activities with a significant degree of risk request proof of accreditation, licensure, or certification with a nationally recognized authority for the activity being conducted.
NA The organization does not purchase services from providers that operate adventure-based activities.
Examples: Adventure-based activities with a significant degree of risk can include, white water rafting, climbing walls, or ropes courses.