December 17, 2014

The Rideau Regional Centre

The former Rideau Regional Centre was founded in 1951 as a residential facility for people with a developmental disability. The facility was originally known as the Ontario Hospital School, Smiths Falls.

During the 1970s, provincial leaders and community living advocates encouraged inclusion for people with developmental disabilities within the community and worked to move individuals from provincial facilities to the community. The government closed Rideau in 2009, ending the era of institutionalization for people with developmental disabilities in Ontario.

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

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

A settlement between former residents of Rideau 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 $20 million to compensate former residents who suffered harm while living at the facility, and
  • preserve documents produced in the course of the litigation at the Archives of Ontario for research purposes.

To date, the government has:

  • transferred about 46,000 documents produced in the litigation related to the operation of the Rideau Regional Centre to the Archives of Ontario for scholarly research
  • issued a formal written apology by Premier Wynne to the former residents of the Rideau and Southwestern Regional Centres who were harmed, and
  • installed a commemorative plaque near the former Rideau Regional Centre.

The claims process is being administered by Crawford Class Action Services, an independent claims administrator. For more information, visit

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.