Mr. Speaker, the West Island of Montreal recently lost one of its most caring and dedicated advocates for the mentally disabled.
Fay Bland was the visionary founder of AVATIL, a non-profit organization that promotes independent living for the mentally disabled, and was the recipient of many awards, including the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award for her decades of volunteer work.
Throughout her life, Fay was an inspiration to all who knew her. She had a rare gift for motivating people to get things done. Fay saw things that needed to change and then worked to change them.
In the 1950s, Fay realized that the West Island's services for children with intellectual disabilities were woefully inadequate. So with an audacity of spirit that one can only say was typical of Fay, she set out to ensure our community offered more and better services for these children.
Fay's legacy will live on in the institutions she helped create and foster and in the lives that are now better because of her kindness.