About Us

Kootenay Society for Community Living is a non-profit organization that supports and promotes the inclusion of all residents in and around the West Kootenay with developmental disabilities into the fabric of community life.

The Kootenay Society for Community Living (KSCL) was started in the 1950s by a small group of parents in Castlegar who had a strong desire to develop community resources for their children with special needs. They opened the Silver Birch School and, as a result, KSCL was formed and registered as a non-profit organization under the Societies Act of British Columbia.

As the first children who attended that school became adults there came a need for additional services. That same group of parents opened the Program Centre, offering support for adults as well. When the large B.C. institutions (Glendale, Woodlands, Tranquille and Endecott Centre) were closed down, the Society purchased residences and began supporting people in homes.

Today, the Society provides a wide variety of support programs and services for children, youth and adults with developmental disabilities and their families in and around the West Kootenay.

Our Philosophy

Every individual, regardless of their ability, should be given the opportunity to live an independant and dignified life in their community.

Guiding Principles

  • Planning for services is most effective when the individual and/or their family is involved.
  • Our services depend on, welcome and respect everyone’s involvement.
  • To be successful, services need to be responsive to each individual’s unique strengths, needs, desires and dreams.
  • All individuals have the ability and potential to grow and develop.
  • Our services focus on teaching individuals the skills and knowledge they need to live as independently as possible in the community.


In April of 2021, the Kootenay Society for Community Living was accredited for a period of three years for the following services:

Community Services

  • Community Housing
  • Community Integration
  • Host Family / Shared Living Services
  • Services for Children and Youth: Child and Adolescent Services

Community Employment Services

  • Employment Supports
  • Job Development
  • Employee Development Services
  • Employment Planning Services

Governance Standards Applied

The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) is an independent, non-profit organization that reviews and grants accreditation services nationally and internationally on request of a facility or program. Their standards are rigorous, so those services that meet them are among the best available.

This is CARF’s highest award. It means that we satisfy each of the CARF Accreditation Conditions, demonstrate substantial conformance to the standards and use continuous quality improvement practices.

Code of Ethics

Community, Social and Legal Responsibility

  • To be aware of the continual support of our community resources and opportunities
  • To maintain a sustainable business model that reflects social responsibility
  • To comply with local, provincial and federal legal and regulatory requirements
  • To be responsible to our employees, clients, funding bodies and other stakeholders
  • To report waste, fraud, abuse, fiscal mismanagement or misappropriation of individual’s or KSCL’s funds as outlined in the policy and procedures
  • To protect the right to be free of reprisal
  • To avoid marketing activities that knowingly misleads or misinforms the public
  • To not sign or witness documents for persons receiving supports

Corporate Responsibility

  • To ensure all accounting practices are accurate and reflect KSCL’s transactions
  • To maintain adequate business insurance
  • To have respect and responsibility for the property of KSCL’s assets and equipment
  • To fairly represent KSCL’s quality of service in any contractual agreement

Respect for the Profession

  • To maintain the health and safety of those supported and employed by KSCL
  • To be dedicated to ongoing performance improvement and ensure identified outcomes are being met
  • To distinguish clearly between the roles of private citizens and responsibilities as an employee
  • To avoid any conflict of interest situations
  • To refuse any gift, favour or compensation that might be influential in preferential consideration
  • To strive for objectivity and maintain professional boundaries

Respect for the Workplace

  • To create and maintain a climate of loyalty, trust and mutual respect
  • To speak to everyone in a friendly, positive, respectful and courteous manner
  • To understand and appreciate diversity among colleagues
  • To respect possessions and property of clients, colleagues, family, friends and visitors

Violation of Ethical Codes

  • To comply with KSCL’s Code of Ethics
  • To be knowledgeable of and abide by KSCL’s policy and procedures
  • To never retaliate against anyone reporting something that goes against KSCL’s Code of Ethics
  • To carry out investigations in a timely manner and complete confidentiality
  • To resolve ethical dilemmas using a guide for moral decision-making
  • Respect for the Person Served
  • To safeguard the rights, dignity and worth of those supported by KSCL
  • Recognize the vulnerability of people we support and our professional obligation to protect them
  • To protect clients from abuse and neglect and actively seek to educate others
  • Recognize a client’s right to refuse, or express choice regarding their service
  • To actively seek input from clients to develop relevant program plans and individual goals
  • To inform clients of their rights, service delivery, confidentiality and access to records
  • To advocate on behalf of clients
  • To maintain confidentiality

Respect for the Employee

  • To uphold social justice and diversity
  • To respect the individuality of fellow employees
  • To commit to lifelong learning and upgrading to uphold our quality of service

Client Rights & Responsibilities


Your rights as a person receiving our services at the Kootenay Society for Community Living are:

  • To be treated fairly
  • To have a job
  • To health care
  • To see your client binder
  • To safe places
  • To a home
  • To get the information you need to make choices
  • To be free from abuse

To choose:

  • Where to live
  • What to do in a day
  • Your own goals
  • What to eat
  • How to spend your money
  • Where to worship
  • Who to marry
  • Your own friends
  • How to have fun
  • To have your own things
  • To have someone to love
  • To marry
  • To parent
  • To vote
  • To get legal advice
  • To speak up
  • To say NO if you want
  • To an education


  • To respect others
  • To be honest
  • To be a trustworthy person
  • To show love
  • To be a good daughter/son
  • To be a loving father/mother
  • To be a caring sister/brother
  • To care for my children
  • To ask for help when I need it
  • To be kind to the people helping me
  • To be thankful
  • To learn to speak up
  • To say NO
  • To have courage
  • To fight prejudice
  • To stop hurt
  • To take care of myself
  • To participate in planning my services
  • To make good, safe, informed choices
  • To be a good friend
  • To give people their personal space
  • To educate myself
  • To be a good learner
  • To look for a job
  • To be a good employee
  • To take care of my home
  • To vote
  • To be good citizen


Quality services should reflect the opinions and views of the membership. As a result, the Kootenay Society for Community Living relies heavily on its membership for input and direction. It is important for all individuals receiving support and their families to have a voice in the organization. While the Society circulates surveys and questionnaires and holds forums to assist with specific issues, it is still critical that it have a strong and diverse membership in order to ensure all perspectives are heard and considered.

Members are encouraged to communicate with the Society regarding services whenever they need to.
To become a member please contact the KSCL administration office at 250-365-2624 extension # 3.

Our Board

Board Information

The Board of Directors is elected by the general membership at the annual meeting, and the Board is responsible for electing its own executive.

The role of the Board of Directors is to establish and govern policies that provide direction to the Executive Director of the Society, who is then responsible for implementation. In most cases, the Board of Directors makes decisions as a whole. In some instances, a few Directors will form a committee to perform a specific function or address a specific issue and make recommendations to the full Board. The Board’s role and function is defined by the Constitution and By-Laws of the Society which are approved by the general membership of the Society.

The following are the most commonly agreed upon roles for the Board of Directors as an entity:

  • To establish and maintain the legal and corporate existence of the Society.
  • To be accountable for the assets of the Society and the actions undertaken by it.
  • To take responsibility for formulating goals, objectives, policies and guidelines for programs both in the long and short-terms and establish properties.
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of actions taken and the appropriateness of the planning process as they relate to the needs of the individuals being served.
  • To provide continuity of experienced leadership so that major staff changes will not weaken the Society and to employ the Executive Director with whom the Board shares leadership.
  • To set policies for the Executive Director to implement and achieve and to allow the Executive Director to make day to day decisions without interference.
  • To work as a team with the Executive Director to accomplish the Society’s objectives.


The Kootenay Society for Community Living (KSCL) is a non-profit society registered under the provincial Society Act. The business operations of KSCL is guided by the Constitution and Bylaws of the Society, actions requiring membership approval, various government laws and regulations, union contracts, and other third party contracts.
The Board of Directors of the Society (the “Board”) has adopted these Governance Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) to assist the Board in the exercise of its responsibilities. The Board may modify or make exceptions to the Guidelines from time to time in its discretion and consistent with the duties and responsibilities owed to the Society and its Stakeholders.

KSCL current Board Members for 2022 to 2023:

Tim Smeltzer- President
Tim is a retired business owner of Midwest Mechanical, Castlegar and now is a consultant.   Tim has resided on the KSCL Board for 8 years from 2014-2022. Tim will provide a wealth of knowledge and familiarity to the operations of KSCL.
Bruce Gerrand – Vice President”I am a long time Castlegar resident, coming here in September 1969, and starting a career as a teacher/administrator. My wife Clara and I raised two children, Michael and Lisa both of whom have families of their own. When I retired from the public school system, I taught at the UBC Teacher Education Program at Selkirk College. My family and the amazing recreation of our area have been large parts of my life. I am privileged to be part of KSCL and all the great things the organization does for the Community”


Judy Madelung – Treasurer
“I am pleased to be a member of the Kootenay Society of Community Living board and bring my career experiences of thirty plus years that was dedicated to administration/finance/management disciplines to complement the KSCL board.  My current board positions with the Kootenay Gallery and Castlegar Arts Council and as a former board member of the Castlegar Golf Club has instilled a strong understanding of the responsibility of being a board member.  I am committed to work collaboratively with KSCL board members to ensure KSCL continues to be a progressive service provider advocating for the best opportunities for members of our area communities while maintaining necessary resources and being financially sustainable.”

Brian Reiter – Director
“I was employed as a Power Engineer in industry in Saskatchewan and BC for 40 years and am now retired. I am a parent of a son with Special Needs who is serviced by KSCL. I have served on a similar board in Saskatchewan as KSCL is here. I bring an interest in advocating for people serviced by KSCL and filling a need as a volunteer for the KSCL Board.”
Joseph Nevoral – Self Advocate
Joseph is a Self-Advocate that lives in Castlegar. Joseph has many hobbies and interests and he’s excited to be part of the Board of Directors. Joseph is also a participant at our Community Options Day Program.
Irene Preto – Secretary
Irene Preto is a Professional Engineer (Chemical Engineering) and certified Project Management Professional. As the Manufacturing Manager at Mercer Celgar she leads a team of about one hundred workers. At Mercer Celgar she has also held the positions of Operational Excellence Manager, Manager of Asset Strategy and Operations Specialist in Digester & Brownstock Screening.  Previously, Irene worked for Natural Resources Canada at the Canadian Forest Sector (CFS) and in the CANMETEnergy bioenergy research laboratories. At CFS Irene helped create the Investment in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) Program and led the Carbon Footprinting analysis for FPAC’s BioPathways Project.  Irene lives in Castlegar with her husband and best friend Fernando.  They are passionate about food, gardening and traveling.
Maggie Williams – Director
“As an individual who was classified as “Learning Disabled” in my youth, which I prefer to recognize as a “Learning Difference”, I know what overcoming those difficulties and intricacies meant to me. With this understanding, I am proud to serve as a member of the Kootenay Society of Community Living Board and all that they do to support our beautiful community. I am eager to bring my background and experience to contribute to the wonderful and various services they provide. Originally from Toronto, ON, I moved to the Kootenay’s in 2016. My arrival was supposed to be a short visit but I never left, instead I found the place I call home. My professional background is providing operational and administrative support in the Financial and Insurance industry. What brings me the most joy is spending time with my loved ones, being up the mountains or on the water, reading and cooking.”


Stewart Doney
Stewart is a Senior Account Manager at Innov8 Digital Solutions in Nelson. He is passionate about helping local businesses leverage technology to control costs, secure their data and make their people more productive where they work. Stewart sits on our local Castlegar Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and wants to help our organization in any way he can, and he would love to give back to his community. 


Stacey Miller
“I moved to the Kootenays in 2000 from Victoria. I play slo-pitch, pickleball, curl, enjoy playing guitar, travelling and being a realtor. I’ve got two dogs and a cat and a partner of 25 years.” Stacey specializes in Property Management, Relocation, new Construction and many more aspects as a successful Realtor in Castlegar. Stacey is looking for a volunteer position and KSCL fits the bill. Housing and fair rental standards for our community is something that greatly interests Stacey. 


Verna Chernoff
Verna is a retired teacher from Castlegar and has lived here for many years. Verna has vast experience in understanding and running a Non-Profit Society Board as she was President of our local Castlegar Golf Club for a few years and previously as a Board of Director. Verna is a generous, caring person who loves to do crafts, physical activities, including golf and walking. Verna believes in respecting others self worth and sense of accomplishments. 


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