Standards for Canadian organizations

2020 Edition

Group Living Services (CA-GLS) 8: Group Living Program

Residents participate in the development of a group living program that is individually tailored to their age, developmental level, social and emotional needs, strengths, and interests.
2020 Edition




Group Living Services allow individuals who need additional support to regain, maintain, and improve life skills and functioning in a safe, stable, community-based living arrangement.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Sample of activity schedules
  • Procedures for involving residents in decision making
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Residents
  • Review case records
  • Observe the program

CA-GLS 8.01

Group living services are integrated with the resident’s daily living experience and include, as appropriate:
  1. treatment for severe emotional disturbance or mental health and substance use conditions;
  2. individual and group counselling;
  3. family therapy;
  4. educational and/or vocational programming;
  5. recreational activities;
  6. legal advocacy;
  7. opportunities to participate in religious observances in a faith or spirituality of choice;
  8. community cultural enrichment, shopping, volunteer and paid work activities; and
  9. independent living preparation.

CA-GLS 8.02

Program personnel provide predictability and structure by developing routines and rules with residents and their family members.

CA-GLS 8.03

Residents are given the opportunity for voice and choice in program activities, as well as to share feedback including dissatisfaction with aspects of care.
Examples: The establishment of resident councils is one way to involve individuals in all aspects of care and ensure that they have an opportunity to provide feedback on staff, activities, rules, food, their overall care experience, sense of safety and support, and the living environment. This type of activity can also provide opportunities for youth advocacy, self-efficacy, and leadership. For programs serving youth, family advisory councils can be established to involve families in the governance of the program.

CA-GLS 8.04

Program personnel provide residents with:
  1. a variety of nutritious meals and snacks;
  2. personal items such as clothing and an individual allowance;
  3. companionship;
  4. support and assistance needed to participate in group living and community activities; and
  5. a flexible daily schedule to develop and enhance positive personal and interpersonal skills and behaviours.


Special diets should be planned to meet the modified needs of individual residents.