Frequently Asked Questions

What does the “WJS” in WJS Canada stand for?

Our parent company,  W. J. Stelmaschuk and Associates Ltd., is named after our founder William (Bill) J. Stelmaschuk. For ease in our communications delivery and to identify that we are a national company, we use WJS Canada. Bill started his career as a corrections officer in British Columbia and established the company in 1983 by providing services to young offenders and individuals on probation. The Alberta branch, founded in1987 by Peter Farnden, started with services to individuals with developmental disabilities who have complex needs and challenging behaviour. WJS Canada has grown in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia and now has over 600 employees with 1200 clients.

How can I access WJS services?

Because of the way our programs are funded, our funders control access and all referrals must come from them. If you believe one of our services is appropriate for you or for a family member, contact your facilitator, social worker or probation officer. Attendance and open custody programs for young offenders also require a court order.

The WJS Acquired Brain Injury program, Integrative Behavioural Services and Spirit of Our Youth will accept self referrals.

I noticed that WJS Canada has services available in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. If I want to move, can WJS Canada make services available to me in my new area?

That depends on where you are going and the service you require.  We have many services available, and we’ve transferred people across services in and out of provinces on occasion.  If you wanted to implement a transfer, you’d have to help us write up your transition plan and agree to us giving information about you to the service you’d be transferring to.

Do I have to pay for services from WJS Canada?

There are no charges for base services that are contracted with government ministries or crown corporations. Community living/PDD clients are asked to pay a portion of their housing and support costs, something your referring worker will discuss with you.

What is the difference between a private service company such as WJS Canada and a non-profit agency?

As Canada’s largest privately owned social service provider, we take our role as an industry leader seriously. That’s why we’re always looking at process improvements, technological advances and optimal employee and client relations. As a business, we’re flexible, nimble and able get things done. Profit incentive ensures that we’re always looking for new and innovative best practices. Our clients ultimately benefit from our discoveries and efficiencies.

We’re service providers at heart. Our size allows for economies of scale and professional knowledge transfer within the organization. We compete for contracts and pay wages just like everyone else. In terms of the specific services provided, our clients are served very well. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t have been able to stay in business and grow for over 25 years.

How do I choose which WJS services to get involved with?

WJS promotes individual choice to the greatest extent possible. We’ll give you all the information about our services in words you can understand, give you names of reference people you can contact, and work with you to determine what you want to achieve through your involvement.  Your answers will determine the services you may wish to ask for.  If we can’t assist you with the goals you set for yourself, we’ll give you information about other agencies you can contact who may be better able to help you.


My family is involved in helping me with my service choices and with advocacy. Does WJS Canada support that kind of involvement?

WJS promotes the active involvement of all persons you consider significant and want to have involved in helping you. We have a family council that works closely with us to make sure people receiving service get what they want/need, and your family can be part of this council if they wish.

I might need to have some things in the living environment changed. How does WJS Canada accommodate such requests?

We work with individuals to determine what changes need to be made to accommodate people’s needs. These changes can range from changing door widths to accommodate a wheelchair to changing processes to make your individual plan easier to understand. Although some changes take longer to implement than others, we provide reasonable accommodations whenever possible.

Sometimes I have good ideas that I think might benefit an agency. Does WJS Canada have a way for me to share those ideas?

We conduct regular surveys, host groups and forums where you can talk about your ideas, discuss how you see your ideas benefiting others, and let us know what roles you might wish to play in making things happen.  We welcome input and feedback from everyone involved in our services.

If I’m not happy with your service, how can I tell you without being afraid?

WJS has a clear and simple complaints process which guarantees that your concern will be heard and dealt with quickly, and ensures you will not be punished in any way for bringing your concern forward.  We also give you information about how to contact advocates outside WJS if you’re not happy with what we say.  As well, sometimes we’ll ask an outside advocate to assist you.