History of Developmental Services

Between 1987 and 2004, Ontario closed another six facilities and helped over 6,000 people make the transition from an institution to community living.

By September 2004, the government was spending more than $1 billion a year on community-based services to help people with a developmental disability participate in community life.

On September 9th of that year, Ontario announced a $110 million plan to strengthen community supports for Ontarians with a developmental disability. It also launched a major review of the province's developmental services system. As an important part of this plan, the government announced the closure of the remaining three facilities for people with a developmental disability by March 31, 2009 (Huronia Regional Centre, Rideau Regional Centre and Southwestern Regional Centre).

On October 8, 2008, Ontario's Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008, received Royal Assent. When it comes into force, it will replace the Developmental Services Act.

While the 1974 legislation was important for its time, Ontario's system of developmental services has changed since then. Today's system recognizes that:

  • people with a developmental disability can live much more independently with the right supports, and
  • individuals and families want more choice and control over the services and supports they receive.

The new legislation will give Ontario the framework it needs to continue to improve and sustain its system of developmental services over the long-term.

Learn more

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