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Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Is In the Company of Friends and LIFE the same organization?

    No, In the Company of Friends (ICOF) is a funding model and LIFE is a non-profit organization. 

    ICOF is a funding model offered through the Manitoba Department of Families.    Individuals receive money directly from the Department, make their own decisions, hire their own staff and work towards living each day the way THEY want to.  

    LIFE is a non-profit organization that provides resources, supports AND ensures that each individual receiving ICOF funding has a strong and healthy Support Network to support them.

  • Is working for an ICOF employer the same as working for LIFE?

    No – If you are hired by an ICOF Employer, then you work for the individual.  If you are hired by the Executive Director of LIFE, you are an employee of LIFE.
    ICOF employers screen, interview, hire and supervise their own support staff often with the assistance of their Support Network.  If you are hired by an ICOF employer, you work directly for them. 
    LIFE is governed by a Board of Directors who hire an Executive Director to oversee the organization.  The Executive Director hires and supervises the LIFE team, including the Senior Coordinator, Resource Coordinators, Options for Services Coordinator, Financial Coordinator and Office Staff.

  • What is the role of the LIFE Resource Coordinators regarding an ICOF employer’s staff?

    The philosophy of the ICOF model is that each individual self-directs and self-manages his/her own life, which includes hiring his/her own staff.  The Support Network is in place to assist in this and other processes if needed.  LIFE Resource Coordinators are available to provide assistance if needed but do not have the authority or responsibility to make decisions including hiring. It’s why we often call individuals receiving ICOF funding – ICOF employers!

  • What is Supported Decision Making?

    The philosophy of the ICOF model is based on ‘Supported Decision Making.  .  Supported decision making is a term that is well defined in the Vulnerable Persons’ Living with a Mental Disability Act. 

    “Supported decision making is the process whereby a vulnerable person is enabled to make and communicate decisions and in which advice, support or assistance is provided to the vulnerable person by members of his or her support network.”

                                                                                                                The Vulnerable Persons’ Act, 1996

    Individuals who receive ICOF funding often lean on their Support Network members to ask questions, provide support and help work through the decision making process.  The individual may also ask their Resource Coordinators to provide guidance and information.  It is the individual’s right to be included in the decision making process and to be listened to, heard and respected.

    As with many people, through this process of learning, mistakes inevitably get made.  Many individuals have not had the opportunity to make their own life decisions before.  There may be a learning curve as the individual is included in decision making and understanding that choices have consequences.  LIFE is responsible for ensuring that the individual has a Support Network in place to assist in the decision making process and to uphold the philosophy regarding decision making.