The Ministry of Community and Social Services provides funding to more than 350 developmental services agencies. These agencies deliver a range of programs and supports to 47,000 adults with developmental disabilities living in Ontario.

In 2014, Ontario committed to an $810 million, three-year investment to expand support for adults with developmental disabilities with a view to supporting people to live as independently as possible in communities across Ontario.

The 2017 Ontario Budget included an additional investment of more than $670 million over four years for developmental services. This will bring annual funding for developmental services to more than $2.3 billion in 2017/18. This investment shows the government’s continued commitment to help individuals live and participate as inclusively as possible in their communities as well as help address situations of crisis involving people with urgent and complex care needs.

While there is more work to be done, progress has been made.

Easier Service System Navigation and Access

We are making it easier for people and families to get the information they need to work toward personal goals, needs and dreams.

  • $12.5 million investment aimed at improving access to services, including:
    • additional Adult Protective Service Workers (APSWs), who support adults with developmental disabilities living on their own by providing help with their everyday living needs, accessing community resources, and setting and achieving personal goals
    • funding Family Support Networks
    • expanding service navigation, which will help people and their families to find services and supports available within their community

All of the initiatives in this investment are aimed at better connecting people with developmental disabilities and their families to local supports, programs and resources.

  • Making access to services easier - Young people with developmental disabilities seeking government-funded adult developmental services and supports, as well as employment and income support from Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), were once required to prove their developmental disability twice. The application process for young people and their families applying for ODSP has now been simplified. So once a person is deemed eligible for ministry-funded adult developmental services, they will no longer have to go through a second process to verify their disability to qualify for ODSP.
  • Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) funding for MyCommunityHub - an online registration space for people and their families to browse various community activities including, employment readiness training, recreational classes and  programming, workshops, respite and camps offered by developmental service agencies.

Collaboration and Cross-Sector Partnerships

We are working with ministry partners to improve service coordination, transitions and planning within and across sectors.

  • Joint MCSS/MOHLTC dual diagnosis framework - We are working to address the need for greater coordination and integration of health and developmental services supports for people with a dual diagnosis (a developmental disability and mental health challenges).
  • Joint MCSS/Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) Long-Term Care Home Guidelines -Launched in October 2017, the Guidelines improve knowledge, planning and service coordination within and between developmental services and the long-term care home sector.
  • Addition of 40 mental health workers - working with MOHLTC to increase the number of mental health court support workers in the province. These workers will provide services to vulnerable people, such as those with mental illness, developmental disabilities or dual diagnosis who are in conflict with the law.
  • Caring for adults with developmental disabilities with complex needs - in collaboration with MOHLTC, we’ve taken steps to better protect the health and well-being of those with complex and urgent needs, in addition to providing them with improved supports and services.
  • Updating Ontario’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy - introducing legislative and policy measures, and investing $178 million over three years, to ensure that all Ontarians, including those with developmental disabilities, have access to affordable and adequate housing.

Prevention Services and Supports

We are working to ensure safe and secure environments and experiences for adults who rely on Ontario’s developmental services system.

  • Advocates Against Abuse - province-wide educational program where people with disabilities educate other people with disabilities about protecting themselves, knowing when to report or communicate that an incident has occurred.
  • Policy Directives for the LifeShare (Host Family) Program - improved requirements for agencies funded to provide the LifeShare Program, aimed at promoting the safety and security of adults with developmental disabilities who live with a host family.
  • - a 24/7 telephone line, email address and TTY service to provide the public with an avenue to report allegations of abuse and/or neglect of adults with a developmental disability. ReportON was launched in March 2016 and since that time has received over 200 allegations of abuse and/or neglect reported by people with lived experiences, health and education professionals, first responders, DS workers, family members, and concerned citizens.
  • Developmental Disabilities Justice Toolkit - Ontario funded the expansion of an innovative toolkit that will educate the justice sector to improve their interactions with people with developmental disabilities.
  • Introduced the Compliance Inspection Framework (2016) - Strengthening of our inspection oversight for residential services and other developmental services delivered by agencies that are funded under the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act (SIPDDA). This includes enhanced follow-up timelines, annual inspections, more resources and a requirement to post the results of inspections at agency locations. Since the framework was introduced, the number of non-compliances identified during annual agency inspections has decreased by approximately 65% and the amount of time needed for agencies to come into compliance after an inspection has gone down approximately 87%.

Flexibility, Choice and Inclusion

We are moving towards building communities where all people are respected, included and empowered to achieve their full potential by:

Engagement and Community Partnerships

Working with people, families, caregivers and agencies to create inclusive opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities.

  • Making the Shift from Sheltered Workshops - MCSS has introduced a new web page that supports the transition away from segregated sheltered workshops, towards more inclusive options, including community participation supports and competitive employment for people with developmental disabilities.
  • ConnectABILITY - a website and virtual community dedicated to lifelong learning and support for people who have a developmental disability, their families and support networks.
  •  Access Talent, a provincial employment strategy for people with disabilities - breaking down employment barriers for people with disabilities through astrategy to connect more people with disabilities to rewarding jobs and more employers to new talent to help grow their businesses.
  • Employment and Modernization Fund (EMF) Phase II & Launch of Phase III - 76 projects have received support through Phase I and Phase II of the the EMF. The Fund is intended, through collaborative solutions, to promote greater inclusion and independence for adults with developmental disabilities. A call for applications to the third phase of the EMF was launched in October and closed in December 2017. A review process is currently underway.
  • Developmental Services Housing Forum - Housing Forums offer the opportunity to share ideas on how to remove barriers, improve opportunities and support the creation of innovative housing solutions. The ministry is planning future sessions which will focus on specific areas of residential supports and services..
  • Regional Engagement Sessions - "What We Heard" - a summary of all of the important ideas, suggestions, and comments from people, families and service providers who attended these sessions.
  • Developmental Services Housing Task Force - The Ministry provided approximately $5.6 million to fund 18 demonstration projects recommended by the Task Force, which provided housing for 76 people. The community-based projects - provide creative, inclusive and cost-effective housing solutions for adults with developmental disabilities. The report from the Task Force, which will inform the ministry’s decisions on which of the projects can possibily be expanded in other parts of the province, will be released later this year. In September, the province announced its commitment to annualized funding, that support people who are now living in their new, individualized housing arrangements.
  • Developmental Services Performance Measurement Framework - A quality improvement tool intended to help the ministry assess whether services and supports are achieving their goals, as well as where improvement is needed. Diverse perspectives, including those of people with developmental disabilities, families, caregivers and service providers, were incorporated in the development of this framework. The ministry will continue to engage broadly across the sector as data collection tools are developed and implemented.
  • Developmental Services Research Grant Fund - The Developmental Services Research Grant Fund was established in 2012 by the Ministry of Community and Social Services as a way of enhancing research capacity across the developmental services sector that helps inform policy making. In total, the 2017 DS Research Grant provided $400,000 per year over two years for research in priority areas. Recipients were announced in our November edition of the DS Spotlight.