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Why do we need the new Act?

The government wants to improve services and supports for adults who have developmental disabilities and their families.

It wants services and supports to:

  • be fair, so that everyone gets treated the same way
  • be flexible, so that people's needs are addressed
  • be here for the future.

To make these changes, the government has created the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008. It will replace the Developmental Services Act, which is 35 years old and is out of date.

Adults who have a developmental disability want more choice and control over their lives. They can live independently with the right supports. The new Act will give adults with a developmental disability more independence and choice.

The new Act is not in effect yet. Before the new Act can become law, the ministry must develop policy directives and rules that are enforceable by law. Policy directives are the instructions that organizations have to follow in the work they do.

What does the new Act do?

The new Act gives adults with a developmental disability and their families more ways to get services and supports. It also defines what a developmental disability means. This helps explain who gets support and why. The Act is for people who are 18 years of age and older who have a developmental disability.

The new Act lists the services and supports that will be funded. These are:

  • Residential services and supports for adults who live in:
    • Intensive support residences - these are homes where one or two adults with a developmental disability live and get fulltime services and supports from an agency.
    • Supported group living residences - these are homes where three or more adults with a developmental disability live and get services and supports from an agency.
    • Host family residences - this is where one or more adults with a developmental disability live with a family that is not their own. They get care and support from the "host family". The "host family" is paid by an agency for the support they provide. Sometimes people call this living in a "family home" or "home share".
    • Supported independent living residences - this is where one or more adults with a developmental disability live on their own (they may share an apartment together, for example) and get some help from an agency.
  • Activities of daily living services and supports to help people with:
    • making meals
    • getting dressed
    • personal hygiene (like bathing, brushing teeth and using the toilet)
    • taking their medication.

    This also includes support for training to help people with life skills like:

    • managing money
    • banking
    • using the bus, cabs and the subway.
  • Community participation services and supports to help with:
    • social and recreational activities (like using community centre programs or joining a local club)
    • work activities
    • volunteer activities
    • other services and supports.
  • Caregiver respite services and supports to help:
    • the main family members or special friends who care for the adult with a developmental disability get some rest and support.
      • Professional and specialized services provided by a:
        • psychologist
        • social worker
        • speech language pathologist
        • other professionals.
      • Person-directed planning services and supports to help adults with a developmental disability:
        • identify their life dreams and goals
        • find and use services and supports in their lives to make their plan happen.

        The information and rules in the new Act make sure that people and agencies account for the money they get. This means that adults who get money to pay for the services they need have to show how they spent the money. It also means that the service agencies that get money from the government must follow standards. Agencies have to account for all of the money they get from the government.

        Changes in the new Act make it easier for the government to make sure that service agencies follow the government's rules. Everyone who gets services and supports from an agency will need to follow the same standards no matter where they are in the province.

How are developmental services changing?

In September 2004, the government said that it would change Ontario's system of developmental services. It wanted to make the system more fair and accessible so that it lasts for a long time. Since then, the government has done many things to make this happen.

The changes in the Act support adults with a developmental disability so that they are included in activities in the community. The changes cover many areas such as:

  • Deciding who gets funding from the government
  • Giving adults more flexibility about the type of supports they need and who can provide that help
  • Giving adults more choices for services and supports.
  • These changes will help us create a modern developmental services system that fits how people live today.

What key changes does the new Act bring?

The new Act will bring many changes. Here are some of the important ones.

New language and clearer definitions:

  • A new definition of "developmental disability" and new rules for deciding who gets services and supports from the government.
  • Language that talks about services and supports. It also does not use the words "facility" or "institution".

Person-directed planning:

  • This has been added to the list of services and supports the ministry will fund under the new Act.
  • Person-directed planning helps people plan for their future.

New ways people can get supports:

  • People can choose to get services and supports through community agencies.
  • They can choose to get direct funding.
  • Or they can choose to get a mix of some direct funding and some services and supports through community agencies.
  • When money is paid directly to an adult with a developmental disability or to someone else for that person, it is called direct funding. Giving money directly to individuals lets them manage their supports and make their own decisions.
  • These new ways to get funding give adults with a developmental disability more choice in how they meet their needs.

A new application process:

  • The new application process means that everyone follows the same steps when they apply for developmental services and supports.
  • It also means that the same rules are followed when decisions are made about who gets services and supports, what each person needs and the amount of support they get.
  • The new application process has two separate parts: "application entities" and "funding entities".
    • Application entities:
      • These are the places that people go to when they want to apply for developmental services and supports.
      • They give information about the application process, services and supports that the ministry pays for and resources in the community.
      • They also decide who can apply for services and supports, measure people's needs and manage direct funding agreements.
      • These organizations make sure that everyone gets treated in the same way. They have to use the same tools and they will all have to follow rules that are made by the ministry.
    • Funding entities:
      • These organizations make sure that decisions about the amount of support are fair.
      • They determine how much support an individual will get and how quickly he or she will get it.
      • Funding entities cannot be agencies that provide ministryfunded services and supports under the new Act.
      • They will have to follow rules made by the ministry.

Waiting list reports:

  • Funding entities will keep waiting lists for services and supports if there is not enough for everyone right away.
  • The ministry can write policy directives or instructions about how the waiting lists must be managed.
  • The funding entities must give the Minister a report each year that describes the waiting lists in their areas.
  • This report will include waiting list information for all services and supports provided by agencies. The report will also cover direct funding waiting lists.
  • The Minister has to publish a report on waiting lists within 60 days of getting the information.

Inspections

  • The ministry can inspect buildings owned or operated by entities or agencies.
  • There are rules that determine how and why an inspection can take place.
  • These rules respect an individual's right to safety and privacy.
  • They protect people from serious health and safety problems.
  • And they help to find any serious problems about how the government's money is being managed.

Qualitative Agencies

  • The new Act has rules to make sure that people and agencies show how they spend the money they get.
  • The Minister can name a person to immediately take over and manage an organization that gets funding when there is a serious problem with the way money is spent.
  • This can also happen if the health and safety of someone with a developmental disability is in danger.

A standard way for adults with a developmental disability and their families to raise concerns:

  • This complaint process will include the steps that individuals and families have to follow to make a complaint.
  • Service agencies will have to explain what they will do about the problem.

Where are we going from here?

The Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008 has been passed and given Royal Assent. Before it can become law, the ministry has to develop policy directives (or instructions) and regulations (rules that must be followed). The ministry will need the public's ideas about these rules.

Please check our website and bulletin, "Spotlight on Transformation", to learn more. We will update the website with information about when and how you can share your ideas as we move forward.

The Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008 will help the government to make the changes people want to see. It will improve the developmental services system over the long term.

How can I learn more?

For more information, contact us at:

Developmental Services Branch
Ministry of Community and Social Services
4th Floor, Hepburn Block
80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto ON M7A 1E9
Tel: 416-327-4954
Fax: 416-325-5554
Toll-free tel: 1-866-340-8881
Toll-free fax: 1-866-340-9112
E-mail: Dstransformation.mcss@css.gov.on.ca

You can also visit our website at: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/index.aspx.
Click on Developmental Services.

This brochure is also available online at:
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/publications/spotlight.aspx.

To read the Act, visit the e-laws website of the Ontario government at:
www.e-laws.gov.on.ca. Click on Source Law.