May 15, 2008

More Choice and Flexibility for People with Developmental Disabilities

McGuinty Government Moves To Modernize Developmental Services Legislation

With support from people in the developmental services sector, Minister of Community and Social Services Madeleine Meilleur tabled new developmental services legislation on May 15, 2008

With support from people in the developmental services sector, Minister of Community and Social Services Madeleine Meilleur tabled new developmental services legislation on May 15, 2008

Front row, left to right: Geoff McMullen, Provincial Network; Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community and Social Services; Ann Kenny, Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs; Helen Vale, Reena; Peter Marrese, Community Living Toronto.

Back row, left to right: Bruce Rivers, Community Living Toronto; Christy Barber, Family Alliance Ontario; Rick Strutt, Community Living Toronto; Chris Beesley, parent; Paul Burston, Christian Horizons; Janet MacMaster, Ontario March of Dimes; Orville Endicott, Community Living Ontario.

Ontario introduced legislation today that, if passed, would lay the groundwork for the province to modernize and improve service delivery for adults with a developmental disability.

Ontario's current Developmental Services Act is almost 35 years old. During that time, services for people with developmental disabilities have changed dramatically. People who previously would have lived in large, government-run institutions now live and participate in communities across Ontario.

The proposed new legislation recognizes that people with developmental disabilities can live independently with the right supports. It also recognizes that people with developmental disabilities want more choice and control over the supports they receive.

The new legislation would lay the foundation for better services and supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families, including:

  • Better service: people would only have to go to one place to apply for services and support.
  • More choice: people could receive funding directly for supports tailored to their needs.
  • Improved fairness: everyone would use the same application and assessment package, and people who need service and support the most would have priority.

Quotes

"The current Developmental Services Act is out of date. It's from a time when we supported people in institutions. A year from now, these facilities from a bygone era will be closed," said Minister of Community and Social Services Madeleine Meilleur. "This legislation will help us to build the foundation for the next generation of people with a developmental disability."

"I would like to congratulate the Ontario government for introducing legislation that will bring disability issues into the 21st century. This bill will foster strong partnerships between the Ontario government, families and agencies in order to better serve people with developmental disabilities and provide them with a brighter future," said Executive Director of Reena Sandy Keshen.

Quick Facts

  • More than 40,000 adults with a developmental disability live in Ontario.
  • Since 2003, the Ontario government has committed an additional half billion dollars for services for people with developmental disabilities.
  • The total annual budget for developmental services is $1.57 billion.
  • In 1974, at the height of institutionalization, there were approximately 8,000 people with a developmental disability living in government-operated facilities. Today, there are fewer than 180 adults living in the three remaining facilities which are set to close in 2009.

Learn More

  • Read the history of developmental services in Ontario. It goes back more than 100 years.
  • Learn more about the major changes Ontario is making to improve services for people with a developmental disability.
  • Read real life community stories about people with a developmental disability.

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Julia Sakas,
Minister's Office,
416-325-5219

Erika Botond,
Communications Branch,
416-325-5760

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