ARCH Strategic Plan 2014-2017

 ARCH Disability Law Centre

April 2014 - March 2017

Strategic Planning Committee: 
Bonnie Quesnel, Manjusri Welikala, Gary Malkowski, Kerri Joffe, Doreen Way and Ivana Petricone


Board and Staff of ARCH Disability Law Centre met together on February 13, 2014 to consider ARCH’s future plans for the next three years.  The process involved reaffirming a shared vision, mission, values and principles. Strategic objectives were set to achieve our vision. The meeting was facilitated by Gary Furlong.  
This Strategic Plan was developed on the basis of the Board and Staff meeting.  To inform that meeting, results of surveys of the Board, Staff and community were considered.  A statistical review of ARCH’s work over the past 3 years (ie: since the last Strategic Plan) was also done.  
After the Board and Staff meeting, the Strategic Planning Committee, with input from all Staff, prepared a draft of the Strategic Plan.  The Plan was considered and adopted by the Board of Directors of ARCH on April 22, 2014.


ARCH’s Strategic Planning Process was informed by surveys completed by people with disabilities, our community partners, ARCH Board and staff members and community legal clinics. ARCH received 120 surveys, which were summarized for consideration by the Strategic Planning Committee.  Several survey answers are important to note here: 

  • Both representation for individuals and systemic work are important services for ARCH to continue providing.

  • Most people that had an issue with ARCH commented that we did not cover the area of law they needed help with or they did not qualify for our services.

  • Adopting priority areas of practice is an effective model for our work, allowing us to focus our work, to ensure the work has significant and broad impact, gain expertise, manage resources and fill gaps in legal services.

  • We need to develop a better sense of the needs of the community in some of the priority areas.

  • The Summary Advice and Referral Program is a responsive and important service.  More people outside the GTA need to know about SAR.

  • A better balance between individual casework and systemic work is needed, ensuring that our work is in our priority areas and includes systemic components.

  • More meaningful opportunities for input about ARCH’s services and location from community and front line staff should be developed.

  • Uncertainties about funding are creating instability in the clinic system and should be addressed by ARCH.

The Board and Staff reviewed the Vision, Mission Statement and Values and Principles and recommitted to the following:


A world in which all people with disabilities enjoy social justice and equal participation in society and our communities


ARCH Disability Law Centre, as a specialty legal clinic with a provincial mandate, undertakes to achieve this Vision by:

  • Ensuring our work has Ontario wide impact

  • Focusing on, identifying and removing systemic barriers

  • Addressing issues that have an impact on low income people with disabilities, including the root causes of poverty

  • Empowering people with disabilities

  • Being recognized as experts in the law as it affects people with disabilities

  • Addressing the heightened disadvantage, marginalization and exclusion faced by people with disabilities by reason of factors such as gender, race, age, language, economic status and sexual orientation.


ARCH is guided by the following set of core values:

  • The dignity and worth of all persons with disabilities must be respected;

  • Persons with disabilities have the right to live with dignity, self-determination and full participation in a society free from barriers to their inclusion and integration;

  • Persons with disabilities themselves are in the best position to determine their own priorities;

  • All persons have a common responsibility to create communities accessible to all persons with disabilities.

Additionally, ARCH is guided by the following set of core organizational principles:

  • ARCH operates in accordance with the above core values;

  • ARCH is a community-based organization, governed by a Board of Directors composed of a majority of persons with disabilities;

  • ARCH is accountable to persons with disabilities in Ontario, its members and its funders.


Board and Staff identified five strategic objectives to guide ARCH’s activities over the next three years.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE #1:    Identify, Assess & Address Key Legal Issues on the Law as it Affects Persons with Disabilities


  • Identify priority areas of work for ARCH for 2014-2017;

  • Develop and implement effective measures to evaluate ARCH’s work in each priority area;

  • Achieve an appropriate balance of time and resources in order to enhance Staff’s capacity to conduct systemic work;

  • Develop and implement effective measures to track legal issues of importance to the disability communities;

  • Develop and implement effective measures to accurately capture the scope and impact of ARCH’s work;

  • Work to ensure a robust Legal Aid program that is responsive to the legal needs of low income persons with disabilities.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE #2:    Promote Awareness of ARCH 


  • Implement a comprehensive private bar referral program;

  • Develop ARCH’s social media presence;

  • Conduct outreach to aboriginal, racialized, rural and isolated disability communities;

  • Develop ARCH’s capacity to serve francophone disability communities;

  • Continue to deliver workshops about legal services for persons with disabilities.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE #3:  Foster a Healthy Organization


  • Strengthen good governance of the Board of Directors;

  • Achieve broader representation of disability communities on ARCH’s Board of Directors;

  • Staff will improve communication methods to ensure meaningful and timely dialogue and information sharing;

  • Enhance opportunities for appropriate professional development for Staff;

  • Enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the use of technology in ARCH’s work;

  • Explore new and additional services for the community.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE #4:    Enhance ARCH’s accountability to the disability communities in fulfilling its mission, vision and values in response to those communities’ needs. 


  • Ensure that community, board and staff exchange information and ideas and  participate in decision-making regarding significant transformative initiatives;

  • Ensure that ARCH continues to be responsive to issues of greatest concern to the disability communities.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE #5:    Develop the capacity of the next generation of lawyers, paralegals, and community workers to promote the rights of people with disabilities.


  • Further develop ARCH’s academic profile, within faculties of law, social work, and other disability-related disciplines;

  • Develop an ARCH Student Program;

  • Enhance the effectiveness and desirability of the Disability Law Intensive, for current and former students;

  • Develop capacity of francophone students to serve people with disabilities. 


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