History of Developmental Services

Between 1975 and 1986, Ontario witnessed a blossoming of community-based services and supports which enabled more and more people to live in the community. The number of people receiving community-based services grew from 4,600 to over 25,000.

During this time, the Ontario government:

  • increased spending on community-based services from $10 million to $181 million
  • closed five provinciall-operated institutions, and
  • reduced the size of several others.

In 1982 the government introduced the Special Services at Home program to help children with a physical or developmental disability live at home with their families. In 1990, the program was expanded to include adults with a developmental disability.

In 1987, the Ministry of Community and Social Services published "Challenges and Opportunities: Community Living for People with Developmental Handicaps". In this document, the government announced its plans to close Ontario's remaining facilities within 25 years (by 2012).


Learn more

About the evolution of Ontario's community-based supports and services for people with a developmental disability: