Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the late Joan Farley, a remarkable woman whose vision and actions transformed Montreal's West Island community in profound and lasting ways for the benefit of thousands of children and adults with special needs and their families.
Joan was a pioneer. She sought respect and recognition for the rights of the intellectually handicapped and those experiencing mental health problems. Among the organizations Joan helped establish are the John F. Kennedy School, the Gary Taylor Centre, the West Island Association for the Intellectually Handicapped, Omega Community Resources, and the Lakeshore Vocational Projects Association, now known as the Centre de réadaptation de l'Ouest de Montréal.
In 1976 she founded West Island Citizen Advocacy, a group that advocates for the rights of people with special needs, creates one-on-one matches between special needs clients and volunteers, and provides supervised housing for people with mental health challenges.
In recognition of her contribution to building a better Canada, in 2004 Joan received the Order of Canada from then Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.
Joan will be greatly missed, but her memory and spirit will live on and inspire future generations of community activists and volunteers.