May 15, 2008
The Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008
If passed, the Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008 would replace the existing Developmental Services Act, which is almost 35 years old.
Current laws deal primarily with the operations of provincial facilities for adults with a developmental disabiity and do not adequately reflect:
- the changes in society's knowledge about developmental disabilities, and
- the range of services and supports that help people with developmental disabilities to live as independently as possible.
The proposed Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008 recognizes that people with developmental disabilities can live much more independently in their communities with the right supports. If passed, it would lay the foundation for Ontario to build a new, more modern system of developmental services over the coming years.
The legislation includes:
- Updated language: for example, eliminating terms such as "facility" and "institution," to reflect how services have evolved over the years, as the last remaining Ontario facilities are set to close by March 2009.
- Authority for the province to create application centres for developmental services and authorize them to determine eligibility, assess people's service needs and conduct other case management functions. This would mean people would only need to go to one place to apply for service, instead of to several individual agencies.
- Authority for the province to provide funding either through community agencies or to application centres for direct funding. This could give people more flexibility to purchase services tailored to their needs.
- Authority to collect information from individuals and application centres to improve service planning throughout the province. Without this authority, forecasting future service needs and changes would be difficult.
- Accountability requirements for agencies and individuals/families who receive direct funding. This includes provisions that allow the province to take corrective action against agencies when there are serious issues concerning, for example, health and safety or financial administration.