Our Story

Our story starts in 1966 when Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger embarked on a project in the United States to assist individuals with intellectual disabilities move from institutions back into community life. At that time there was a growing realisation that institutionalisation was rarely the best solution and that individuals with disabilities could, with support, be valuable contributing members of society. The citizen advocacy project was started as a response. The project’s aim was to find volunteers from within a local community who would offer help on a one-to-one basis to an individual who lived with an intellectual disability. 

The citizen advocacy concept spread to Canada in 1971 and in 1974 was established in Ottawa by David Hall. At that time ABLE2 was known as Citizen Advocacy of Ottawa-Carleton and Eileen Scotton was the first Executive Director. 

From 1985 to 2018 the organisation was led by Brian Tardif. During this time support was offered to more people across the disability spectrum and other programs and supports were added such as Lifetime Networks (now Build Community), Independent Facilitation & Person-Directed Planning (now Person-Directed Planning & Facilitation), the Fetal Alcohol Resource Program and Sibling Groups. 

In 2020, under the leadership of Heather Lacey, the organisation was renamed and rebranded. Other programs were added such as the Funding Brokerage and the Education Series. The Communications, Engagement and Fundraising team was also formed with a mandate to diversify and solidify the agency’s funding and to increase awareness of the agency, its work and the impacts on the community.

Throughout the years, ABLE2 has directly supported more than 5,000 people with disabilities to build lives of meaning and joy. It is estimated that support has been indirectly given to three to four times as many people – family, professionals and community members.

In Ottawa, there are more than 600 people who volunteer their time and skills with ABLE2, contributing more than 40,000 hours each year.

The work of ABLE2 is funded by a network of national, provincial and local governments and foundations. However, that funding is not secure and ABLE2 relies heavily on generous donors  and fundraising. Its signature fundraising event is Evening in the Maritimes. This event has been in existence for more than 25 years and has raised more than $3,000,000 for ABLE2.

Other key events held by ABLE2 include:


Email Address: info@able2.org

Phone Number: 613-761-9522

TTY: 613-752-6175

Toll Free: 1-866-222-2138

Address: 1Community Place, 312 Parkdale Ave, Ottawa, ON K1Y 4X5

Staff Team

Administrative Team

  • Heather Lacey, Executive Director [Extension 225]
  • Kathleen Lee, Executive Assistant & Database Manager [Extension 226]
  • Helen Yu, Finance Officer [Extension 247]
  • Min Li, Finance Assistant [Extension 233]

Matching & Support Programs Team

  • Thony Jean-Baptiste, Manager: Matching & Support Programs [Extension 228]
  • Julie Lamoureux, Social Service Worker (Matching Program) [Extension 230]
  • Vacant, Social Worker (Matching Program) [Extension XXX]
  • Azra Alibhai, Social Worker (Matching Program) [Extension 224]
  • Hélène Courchesne, Coordinator: Planning & Funding Brokerage [Extension 229]
  • Lenka Stevanovic, Coordinator: Family Support | Social Worker Matching Program [Extension 223]
  • Jessica Franklin, Administrative Assistant [Extension 201]

Fetal Alcohol Resource Program Team

  • Michael Song, Manager [Extension 231]
  • Sabrina Peacock, FASD Worker [Extension 416]
  • Sara Rafiei, FASD Worker [Extension 408]
  • Tara Cummings, FASD Coordinator [Extension 411]
  • Joyce Hamelin, FASD Clinical Lead
  • Jessica Franklin, Administrative Assistant [Extension 201]

Communications, Engagement & Fundraising Team

  • Maria Redpath, Manager [Extension 222]
  • Susan Campbell, Community Engagement Coordinator [Extension 243]
  • Sinead Shortt, Fundraising & Partnership Coordinator [Maternity Leave]
  • Elsbeth Farrell, Events Coordinator [Extension 221]
  • Lianna Byrne, Fundraising & Administrative Assistant [Extension 235]

Our Values-Driven Workplace

ABLE2 Staff’s Workplace Commitment