Changes to Passport

In the fall of 2012, we asked individuals, families and agencies to comment on proposed changes to Passport. We heard what you said and have made two major changes to the program:

  • making caregiver respite an eligible expense, and
  • removing restrictions to give individuals and families more choice in the supports and programs they can access.

Change # 1: Caregiver respite

Caregiver respite is now an eligible support under Passport. Examples of caregiver respite are:

  • Supporting the person with a developmental disability while the caregiver is taking time away from caregiving to take care of personal or household needs; or
  • Helping the person with a developmental disability with activities such as eating, grooming, tending to health care needs.

The primary purpose of caregiver respite is to give the main caregiver relief or a break from caregiving.

Indirect respite is not an eligible Passport expense except in extenuating circumstances if approved in advance. Depending on the situation, Passport agencies can approve the temporary use of Passport funding for indirect respite. Talk to your Passport agency for more information.


Under the new rules, you can use your Passport funding to arrange a break from caregiving in your own home, or at a different location. This could include hiring someone to help with personal care of the person with a developmental disability.

You cannot use your Passport funding to pay for expenses that are not directly related to supporting the individual with a developmental disability (e.g., care for other children in the home, housekeeping, property maintenance, etc.) unless you get approval from the Passport agency in advance. (This is called indirect respite.)

Grace period for adults who transitioned from Special Services at Home to Passport before April 1, 2013

If you transitioned to Passport from Special Services at Home (SSAH) before April 1, 2013, and have been using your funding for indirect assistance/respite, you can still use your Passport funding for these purposes until March 31, 2014. After that date, you will not be able to spend it on indirect respite unless your Passport agency has approved your request as an extenuating circumstance in advance. You will have to spend the funds on other eligible Passport expenses.

Change #2: Removing restrictions

We have changed Passport so that people who are:

  1. Eighteen years of age may now be considered for Passport funding while they are still in school.
  2. Receiving (or eligible to receive) Ontario Disability Support Program Employment Supports may now be considered for Passport funding.
  3. Participating in a ministry-funded day program may now also receive Passport funding, if available, at the same time.

What lies ahead: New Passport guidelines

At this time, the ministry is not making any of the other changes to Passport that were proposed in the fall of 2012. However, we are continuing to work with stakeholders to revise the Passport guidelines to:

  • Clarify the kinds of expenses that are eligible for funding, as well as those that are not.
  • Streamline the process for reporting expenses.

We will post the new guidelines ahead of time to give individuals and families the time they need to learn about them.

Learn more

About Passport. Read the guidelines.

About the changes to Passport. Read the addendum to the guidelines.

About what Passport funding can be used for. Read the tip sheet. [text-only version]