Innovation & Transformation Fund

Innovation & Transformation Fund


The Government of Manitoba provided funds to Abilities Manitoba to support innovation and transformation that enriches services and support for adults with an intellectual disability. Abilities Manitoba administered and oversaw the dispersal of these funds. A Steering Committee was formed that guided the selection and approval process. The Steering Committee was comprised of: 

  • Leanne Fenez – Project Specialist – Abilities Manitoba (Chair)
  • Kevin Johnson – People First of Manitoba
  • Russ Kathler – Leading Program & Practice Specialist, CLdS
  • Val Kellberg – Retired community member, former Training Coordinator within CLdS
  • James Kelm – Former Advocacy Coordinator, Inclusion Winnipeg
  • Audra Latschislaw – Family Advocacy Network
  • Tara Mullen – Instructor – Community & Disability Support Program, Red River Polytechnic
  • Darryl Stewart – Chief Nerd & Executive Officer, IBEX Payroll & Inclusion Systems
  • Paul Vermette – Director of Strategic Initiatives, Reseau Compassion Network

Proposals supported by the Fund aimed to result in one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Improved quality of life for adults with an intellectual disability.
  • Increased capacity amongst one or more service providers, sector organizations or community groups to extend and/or expand resources, services and supports to adults with an intellectual disability.
  • Improved access to shared resources and training within the sector that will result in long-term and sustainable efficiencies.

Innovation requires us to move outside the familiar assumptions and patterns of behaviour that have created the current reality and search for new ways to address issues or problems. We must ask what more is possible and what paths exist to arrive at these possibilities.

Transformation speaks of metamorphosis and change. Positive change at the individual, organizational and provincial levels build greater capacity in our systems and practices to be flexible and responsive in supporting people to live meaningful lives of their own design.

The Innovation and Transformation Fund provided applicants with an opportunity to present innovative ideas to build capacity within the sector and improve options, services and outcomes for people receiving services and supports. The fund supported proposals that benefitted the sector in a variety of ways including expanded use of technology to reinforce meaningful connections within the community, developing employment opportunities, nurturing valued social roles, improving the quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities and supporting service providers to deliver services that promote rights, inclusion and full citizenship.

The Fund financed innovative programs, projects and initiatives that address service gaps, introduced new ways of supporting individuals to meet their personal goals and supported service providers and other organizations to innovate the manner in which they deliver services.

Eligibility/Approval process:

  • Applicants had to be not-for-profit organizations or charities.
  • Applicants had to be currently actively engaged in providing direct or indirect services, supports and/or advocacy for/with people funded through CLdS
  • Must be willing to share resources, learning and results emerging from their funded project with other organizations across the project.
  • Organizations could submit more than one project proposal.
  • The maximum award was $50,000 per project
  • Evaluation, sustainability and the plan for sharing results and resources were weighed heavily in the selection process. 
  • Rural and Northern projects were given more weight given the lack of resources typically available to these locations. 

Key dates: 

  • Call for proposals issued: March 23, 2022: 
  • Applications closed: April 22nd, 2022
  • Approvals communicated: May 18th, 2022
  • Contracts completed/Projects commenced: May 30th - June 30th, 2022 (varied by the organization)
  • Mid-way reports due - November 18th, 2022 
  • Final reports due - May 30th, 2023 (unless approved extensions were granted)
  • Sharing Forum - June 20th, 2023 - Abilities Manitoba hosted all nine organizations along with interested members of the public to share their results, deliverables and learning. These presentations were recorded and available below following each project description. 

Project Results and Deliverables: 

All funds available for dispersal were allocated to the following nine projects:

enVision Community Living

enVision Community Living is pleased to make use of Abilities Manitoba’s Innovation and Transformation fund in order to develop an accessible housing strategy for rural Manitoban organizations.  enVision hired a Special Projects Coordinator who, over the course of the coming year, will develop a plan for enVision and other rural organizations to increase accessible housing capacity.  As part of this plan, the Special Projects Coordinator will partner with developers to design three concepts for accessible housing (a four-person home, a three-person home, and a ten-person co-op housing project).  The resulting housing will be both accessible and adaptive, making use of innovative technologies to increase independence for people with a variety of support needs – all while reducing strain on an industry currently experiencing a staffing shortage.  The housing will also follow an ecologically responsible, cooperative housing model, setting the stage to bring like-minded people together of various socio-economic backgrounds and the ability to build a community of care within the housing complex. (Awarded - $50,000)

For more information contact Robert Wilkinson at or Katelyn Dykstra - 

EPIC Opportunities

EPIC Opportunities, which is celebrating fifty years of supporting people with disabilities and building inclusive communities, is thrilled to partner with Abilities Manitoba and the Department of Families in their Quality Framework and Innovation and Transformation projects. With funds provided through this initiative, EPIC Opportunities is further enabled to implement the Personal Outcome Measures® quality assurance system by pursuing accreditation through its creators, the Council on Quality and Leadership. Thanks to the Innovation and Transformation fund, they have been able to create a specialist position dedicated to strengthening outcome-focused resources, policies, and processes, collaborating with other agencies on best practices and empowering the people we serve by helping them better understand and exercise their rights. (Awarded - $50,000)


Video - How 2: From Us to You  (3 minutes)

Video - The Sky is the Limit (3 minutes)

For more information contact Stacey Forest – 

Inclusion Selkirk

Inclusion Selkirk was very happy to receive funding through the Innovation and Transformation fund. Our project is to develop a Community of Practice Table in the Interlake Region. Working in smaller and rural communities can be quite isolating and having a Community of Practice table provides a place to build relationships, share knowledge, resources and provide support to each other as service providers working in the CLdS sector. Inclusion Selkirk has seen the benefits of working collaboratively with others and felt that this opportunity to develop a more formal place for collaboration was one that couldn’t be missed.  (Awarded $48,300)


Terms of Reference for ICP

Presentation Slides

For more information contact Maria Freeman at 

Manitoba Possible

Manitoba Possible will make substantial improvements to our online platform for self-managed care, Care Possible (previously Envoyy). These improvements will include a complete overhaul of the platform, adding enhanced functionalities to make self-managed services including respite easier to access, manage, and pay for, as well as an analytics dashboard which will provide aggregate data on user demographics, wages, demand for services, and access related barriers. The generation of this data, which has never been captured previously in Manitoba, has the potential to guide significant improvements in the availability and delivery of services to CLdS participants. (Awarded - $29,400)


Powerpoint slides – Sharing Forum

Campaign Poster – Client

Campaign Poster – Worker

Care Possible Analytics

Care Possible FAQ

Sharing Deliverables

Contact: For more information contact Mike Barnby at or check out Care Possible’s website.

Options for Services

Options for Services (OFS), a program of Innovative LIFE Options Inc. supports individuals and families who manage their own services. The work of OFS empowers people to design successful individualized and person-centred supports, hire and oversee employees, as well as to run payroll. Our aim is to make self-management a viable option through capacity development. With this grant, OFS will be working on an outreach project to increase awareness and capacity with a focus on the Northern Region. We will develop mixed-media resources to assist individuals and families determine what best supports look like, explore possibilities based on dreams, goals, and gifts, as well as understand administrative and financial responsibilities related to self-management. (Awarded - $15,000)


OFS Promotional Video

This is Me Resource

Creating a Meaningful Day Resource

For more information contact Michelle Pinette –  or check out Innovative Life Options’ website.

People First of Canada

People First of Canada is producing a documentary to uncover the truths of institutionalization in Manitoba through the courageous storytelling of survivors of the Manitoba Developmental Centre and other key advocates who have tirelessly fought for people’s right to live in the community. (Awarded - $49,951)

For more information contact Branden DeFoort at  

People First of Manitoba

People First of Manitoba is launching a Digital Transformation and Training Project. As self-advocates, our lived experience is our most valuable tool for inspiring change. In our training series, we will explore the impact of services on our lives through new visual story-telling resources, including a 5 video series, as well as incorporating past ( ex: The Freedom Tour, The Language Project), current (upcoming Rights Workshop and Workbook) and future resources with a new digital platform that makes our content user-friendly and accessible to all. The new series will focus on issues that are most important to us like: rights and restrictions; labels and language; the responsibilities, power and influence of Direct Support Professionals and Service Providers; the importance and value of a self-directed life. The new web design will enable us to build our website’s capabilities to be able to support online training content. (Awarded - $50, 000)

For more information contact Valerie Wolbert at or check out People First of Manitoba’s Website.

SCE Lifeworks

SCE Lifeworks will develop an online resource hub for high school students with intellectual disabilities, their families, support team members and teachers to provide a central place to find information that can help inform a smoother transition, including:

  • Adult system information with a highlight on employment paths and service options
  • Information about the provincial transition protocol
  • Information and tips with regard to preparation for adult life, particularly for the world of work
  • Information about Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) including myth-busting about how it can be perceived as a deterrent to employment. (Awarded - $44,153)

For more information, contact Oly Backstrom at 

Visions of Independence

Visions of Independence (VOI) plans to create a smart home that can support people to live their life as independently as they choose.  People who live in the identified VOI home will work with VOI staff directly, and others who know them best, to create a home that meets their specific needs. A person-centred approach allows this to look different for each person.  Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transformed the world and by using items such as smart home alarm systems, smart thermostats, lights and sensors,  VOI would like to provide people with many technological advantages to enhance their lives in their homes.  Additionally, items like smart walkers, remote control lifts, medication dispensers and smartwatches that promote independent living will be incorporated on a person-by-person basis.  Lessons learned from this grant will support VOI to establish a model that can be readily replicated in the sector. (Awarded - $43,196)


Simply Home Over - Video

Simply Home - Carl Video

Core Services of Northeast Tennessee Website

Core Services of Northeast Tennessee Videos

Enabling Tech Website

Technology First SHIFT Website

Spencer the Dispenser Website

For more information contact Twylla McLean –