Community Council Members’ Handbook

Community Councils encourage, inspire, lead and support community inclusion and participation of people with developmental disabilities in all aspects of community life. The Community Council Members’ Handbook provides information about Community Living BC, the role of Community Councils and how they do their work, and what is involved in your job as a Council member.

Status of this version of the Community Council Handbook

Please note that this web version of the Community Council Handbook is ALWAYS the latest version. When changes are made to the Handbook, these will be communicated by CLBC’s Director of Individual, Family and Volunteer Engagement to all Council members, Community Planning and Development Managers, Directors of Regional Operations and Supervisors of Administrative Services and will be highlighted on this webpage.

Help with or questions about this Handbook

If you need help reading or understanding anything in this handbook, please contact your Community Planning and Development Manager in your local CLBC office. To find Manager contact information, please click here. You can also reach your Manager by calling toll-free to Enquiry BC at 1-800-663-7867 and ask them to connect you to the CLBC office in your community.

We want to make the Handbook as reader friendly and useable to Community Council members as possible. If you have suggestions to help achieve this, please send your ideas to

To learn more about the work of Community Councils, click here to visit the Video Library.

Community Council Members’ Handbook

Click here to download the full Community Council Members’ Handbook in PDF Format or you can view the different sections of the Handbook below:

  • CLBC Staff responsibilities in supporting Councils

    This document sets out responsibilities that CLBC staff have in supporting Community Councils to carry out their Terms of Reference.

    Click here to download CLBC Staff responsibilities in supporting Councils

  • Welcome from the CLBC Board of Directors Chair

    Dear CLBC Community Council members,

    On behalf of the Board of Directors of Community Living British Columbia (CLBC), I join the Provincial Advisory Committee Chair in welcoming you as a CLBC Community Council member.

    CLBC Community Councils play an important role in helping CLBC to achieve its vision for supporting individuals with developmental disabilities in British Columbia to have lives full of possibilities in welcoming communities. As described in this handbook, Councils provide important feedback on issues facing those we serve and their support services. They also have a role to play in partnering with communities on projects that advance inclusion.

    We have continued to work on ways to strengthen the contributions of Community Councils. Through the Provincial Advisory Committee, Councils helped identify the top goals for CLBC’s Strategic Plan 2017-2020. CLBC is actively seeking ways to have Councils contribute to the implementation of important strategic plan projects.

    Councils are also planning and organizing many exciting events with community partners that include recognition awards for inclusive employers, local community asset mapping, housing forums and self advocacy leadership conferences.

    Welcome to your Community Council. Your dedication, enthusiasm and time are valued by the CLBC Board of Directors. Thank you for partnering with us at CLBC and for your commitment to help build more welcoming communities for everyone.


    Tom Christensen, Chair

    CLBC Board of Directors

  • Welcome from the Provincial Advisory Committee Chair

    Thank you for volunteering to be on your Community Council. Whether as a family member, self-advocate, service provider, or other community member your contribution will be highly valued in helping CLBC break down the barriers that prevent people with developmental disabilities leading full and meaningful lives in their communities.

    No doubt you will have good insights and ideas about how to build inclusion in your home community and how to strengthen the various support systems that are available to people who qualify for CLBC services. Both the positive, and also the challenging, experiences you have encountered are opportunities – to help improve things, and provide perspective on what is happening in the front line in our efforts to build community inclusion.

    On behalf of the Provincial Advisory Committee I would like to welcome you, and we look forward to working with you to make a difference not only for your community, but province wide, in helping CLBC fulfil its mandate.


    John McCulloch, Chair

    CLBC Provincial Advisory Committee

  • Speaking of Developmental Disability

    This section introduces some of ideas about community, belonging and inclusion that will be talked about in this Handbook. It also talks about the power of language and how labels can make people feel. The authors explain how they came to use the words around developmental disability for the purposes of this Handbook.

    Speaking of Developmental Disability

  • 1. What you need to know about Community Living BC

    In this section you will learn about the role of CLBC as a Crown agency. You will find out who CLBC supports and the kinds of services CLBC pays for. You will also find out how CLBC staff work to build inclusive communities and promote individual choice.

    1. What you need to know about Community Living BC

  • 2. Community Councils: Champions of inclusive communities

    This section explains why Community Councils were set up and how they are organized across the province. You will learn about the role of Community Councils in building communities where everyone belongs.

    2. Community Councils: Champions of inclusive communities

    You can read the contents of this section below:

    2.1 Terms of Reference – This section explains the Councils’ Terms of Reference (what they focus on in their work) and the different ways Councils work to bring about positive change in their communities.

    2.2 Linkage to the CLBC Board and management – This section shows how Councils are connected to the work of CLBC as a whole organization. You will learn about the role of Provincial Advisory Committee and how the ideas, concerns and successes of Councils are shared with CLBC Board and management.

    2.3 Council membership – In this section you will learn about the members who make up the Council and why it is important to have people from different parts of community participate.

    2.4 Recruiting new Council members – This section talks about the importance of always thinking about who to invite on to your Council next. You will hear ideas on how to make sure you always have a full Council with members from different backgrounds, and where in your community you can look for new members.

    2.5 Appointment of the Chair and Vice Chair – Here you will learn how someone becomes the Chair and Vice Chair of a Council.

    2.6 Expectations of Council members – This section talks about the commitment Council members make when they join a Council, including how they will treat their fellow Council members.

    2.7 Member nomination and appointment process – This section explains how someone gets invited to be a Council member, how long they can participate on a Council, and the kinds of things they agree to do when they become a member.

    2.8 Council Self-Evaluation – Councils complete an annual self-evaluation at the end of the fiscal year (March 31st). Members discuss the results as a group, and take action, if this is indicated, to improve how the Council works as a group to achieve its goals.

  • 3. How Community Planning & Development Managers support Councils

    Here you will learn about the role of the local Community Planning and Development Manager in making sure Councils have what they need to do their work. You will also learn about other CLBC staff that are available to support the work of Councils.

    3. How Community Planning & Development Managers support Councils

  • 4. Community Council Work Plans and Annual Reports

    This section outlines the responsibility of Councils to develop a work plan and an Annual Report.

    4.1 Work Plan – In this section you will find a sample work plan. You will learn about the importance of a good work plan, the kinds of things that need to be included and when they should be written.

    4.2 Community Council initiatives flowing from annual work plans – This section talks about some examples of things councils have done as a result of goals they have identified in their work plans.

    4.3 Annual Report – This section talks about what needs to be included in the Council’s Annual Report and how the report is shared with other Councils and with CLBC.

  • 5. The business of Community Council meetings

    This section talks about how Councils run their meetings, like where and when they meet, as well as how they work together to make fair decisions.

    5.1 When Councils meet – Here you will hear how Councils decide when and for how long to meet.

    5.2 Where Councils meet – This section gives you some ideas about what to think about when deciding where to hold Council meetings.

    5.3 Decision-making – This section explains how Council members work together to make fair decisions in a way that is respectful of everyone’s ideas.

    5.4 Council meeting agendas – This section explains who is responsible for putting together and sending out Council meeting agendas. It also talks about making sure information is sent out with enough time for everyone to get the support they need to be prepared for the meeting.

    5.5 How Councils communicate with their members and with their communities – Here you will learn how the good work of Councils is written down and shared with their members, other Councils, CLBC staff and the broader community.

    5.6 Council committees – This section explains why a Council might decide to form a committee to focus on a specific part of the Council work plan. You will also find examples of possible committees a Council might want to consider.

    5.7 Council activities and budget – This section explains the way that Councils are given money each year to help them get their work done. You will learn about the kinds of things that Councils spend their money on, and the support they get from their Community Planning and Development Manager in managing their budget.

    5.8 Orientation of new Community Council members – This section explains how new members are welcomed and introduced to their Council. It includes a list of information and resources they will receive when they become an official member.

  • 6. Council Resources

    Here you will find links to resources, videos and articles to support the work of Councils in building welcoming and inclusive communities, and in strengthening the way Councils work together across the province.

    6. Council Resources

  • 7. Appendices

    Appendix 1 – Supporting adults with developmental disabilities on Community Councils – Appendix 1 focuses on the opportunity of Community Councils to highlight the contributions and expertise of all its members. You will learn about the self-advocacy movement and different ways Councils can work with their local self-advocacy leaders to achieve a common vision. You will also find tips for making sure everyone feels included and understands what they have to contribute

    Appendix 2 – CLBC’s Mission, Vision and Values – Appendix 2 explains how CLBC fits into the structure of government and what our responsibilities are. It outlines CLBC’s Mission, Vision and the Values that guide our work as an organization.

    Appendix 3 – Bringing an issue of concern to the Provincial Advisory Committee – Here you will find the official steps to take when a Council wants to bring an issue of concern to the Provincial Advisory Committee, or make a recommendation about policy or practice. You will also learn about the Provincial Advisory Committees’ responsibility to follow-up and communicate with the CLBC Board and management around the issue of concern or recommendation.

    Appendix 4 – Community Council Terms of Reference

    Appendix 5 – Provincial Advisory Committee Terms of Reference

    Appendix 6 – Community Council Membership Agreement – Here you will find a copy of the Community Council Membership Agreement. It includes a bulleted list of responsibilities that every new Council Member must agree to.

    Appendix 7 – Criminal Record Check Process – This Appendix provides information about the Criminal Record Check process that all Community Council nominees are required to complete. There is no cost for Community Council nominees because criminal record checks for volunteers at non-profit organizations are free.

    Appendix 8 – Membership Recruitment Strategies – This Appendix gives ideas about where and how to look in community for new Council members. It provides examples of experience and skills to look for when recruiting new members. You will find a membership grid that can help in making sure your Council has a mix of different people with different skills.

    Appendix 9 – Responsibilities of the Council Chair and Vice-Chair – Here you will find a list of responsibilities of the Council Chair and Vice-Chair. You will also learn how the Council Chair work closely with the Community Planning and Development Manager and the kinds of things they do together.

    Appendix 10 – Community Council Nominee Questionnaire – Here you will find the form that needs to be completed when Council members have found someone they would like to join the Council.

    Appendix 11 – Nominee Reference Check – This Appendix explains how and why Councils need to check the references of any person who has been nominated and would like to join the Council. It also gives an example of the kind of information and questions to go over when calling the references of a Council nominee.

    Appendix 12 – New Member Appointment Checklist – Here you will find a checklist of things that need to be completed before a new member can become officially part of a Council.

    Appendix 13 – Community Council Self Evaluation Form – Here you can read the annual Council self evaluation form. This is something that Council members complete each year to see how well they are working together as a group.

    Appendix 14 – Provincial Resource Staff Who Can Assist Your Council – Appendix 11 describes the different CLBC staff that work around the province who are available to support the work of Councils. You will learn about their roles within CLBC and how to get in touch if you would like their assistance.

    Appendix 15 – Best Practices for Supporting Community Councils – The Appendix sets out different ways that Community Planning and Development Managers (and their staff) can support Councils to be successful in their work.

    Appendix 16 – Guidelines for Developing a Community Council Work Plan – This Appendix is a tool for when Community Councils are putting together their work plan. It gives ideas on how to decide work plan goals, timelines, the kinds of activities and events that need to be organized, and how to measure whether the goals have been reached.

    Appendix 17 – Examples of Planning Templates – Appendix 14 provides a planning template (a way to organize or set out a plan) to help Councils put together a well thought out work plan that includes things like goals, strategies, activities and timelines.

    Appendix 18 – Community Council Initiatives – This Appendix provides different example of things Community Councils have decided to as a result of the goals they have established in their annual work plans.

    Appendix 19 – Annual Report Template – Here you will find a template for writing the annual Council Annual Report. It will help Councils organize their report in a way that includes information like goal outcomes and learning, highlights, challenges and future plans.

    Appendix 20 – Guidelines for Meeting Minutes – Appendix 17 explains what is meant by ‘meeting minutes’ and why it is important that someone records and distributes minutes from each Council meeting. You will learn what needs to be included in the minutes and what doesn’t. You will also find a template that can be used for recording meeting minutes.

    Appendix 21 – Expenses for Individual Council Members – Here you will learn what expenses are covered and how you can apply to be repaid for money you have spent on being a Council member.

    Appendix 22 – Orientation for new Council members – This Appendix provides information for new members and includes things like a summary of the history of the community living movement, the role, duties, responsibilities and rights of Council members, examples of community building activities, CLBC’s vision, mission and values and how Councils fit within the CLBC vision, and current Council goals and interests.

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