October 16, 2014

The Southwestern Regional Centre

The former Southwestern Regional Centre was founded in 1961 as a residential facility for people with developmental disabilities. The facility was originally known as the Ontario Hospital School, Cedar Springs.

By 1971, the population was more than 900 residents. During the 1970s, provincial leaders and community living advocates encouraged inclusion for people with developmental disabilities within the community and worked to reduce the population in provincial facilities. The government closed the facility in 2008.

For more information about Ontario’s former residential facilities for people with developmental disabilities, visit Ontario.ca/DShistory.

Settlement Between Former Residents of the Southwestern Regional Centre and the Province

A settlement between former residents of Southwestern Regional Centre and the province was reached on December 23, 2013, and approved by the court on February 24, 2014. Under the settlement, the government agreed to:

  • Apologize to the former residents of the facility who were harmed.
  • Establish a fund of more than $12 million to compensate former residents who suffered harm while living at the facility.
  • Preserve documents produced in the course of the litigation at the Archives of Ontario for research purposes.

To date, the government has:

  • Transferred approximately 28,000 documents produced in litigation related to the operation of the Southwestern Regional Centre to the Archives of Ontario for the purpose of scholarly research.
  • Issued a formal written apology by Premier Wynne on April 17, 2014 to the former residents of the Rideau and Southwestern Regional Centres who were harmed.
  • installed a commemorative plaque near the former Southwestern Regional Centre.

The claims process is being administered by Crawford Class Action Services. For more information, visit southwesternclassaction.ca. 

Developmental Services in Ontario Today

Ontario’s developmental services system is now completely community-based. People with developmental disabilities live in a range of settings – from their family homes to community group homes – and take part in a wide variety of community activities.

The 2014 Ontario Budget committed $810 million over three years for community and developmental services. The government is working with individuals with developmental disabilities, their families and community partners to strengthen and modernize Ontario’s developmental services system so that people with developmental disabilities can live as independently as possible as valued members of their communities.