Temporary Changes to the Passport Guidelines for Adults with a Developmental Disability and their Caregivers (2014)

Overview

All levels of government are continuing to take significant action to contain the spread of COVID-19. This includes closing all non-essential services and recommending that people stay home and practise physical distancing.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, significant measures were taken by our government for the safety of all Ontarians. Individuals and families who rely on Passport direct funding to support their participation in the community, attend day programs and purchase caregiver respite no longer have the same access to the range of supports to meet their daily support needs.

To mitigate some of the limitations on individuals and families during this time and to continue to effectively manage the Passport program while adhering to physical distancing protocols, temporary changes to the Passport Guidelines for Adults with a Developmental Disability and their Caregivers (2014) (Passport Guidelines) have been put in place.

These temporary changes are effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. All other aspects of the Passport Guidelines remain in effect.

A. Temporary Expansion of Admissible Expenditures Under the Passport Program

In order to support Passport participants and their families during this time of physical distancing, some expenditures currently considered inadmissible and not reimbursed under the Passport program are temporarily admissible to support “at-home” activities.

These changes come into effect immediately and will remain in place until further notice. The following categorized list of items are now admissible expenditures on a temporary basis while communities are under COVID-19 restrictions, and until further notice is provided by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.

These changes are temporary. The regular program terms and conditions as set out in the Passport Guidelines will come back into effect upon the government providing notice.

Temporary Expansion of Admissible Passport Expenditures

  1. Sensory Items
    • To support recipients who rely on sensory items to alleviate anxiety/stress and/or support any clinical or behavioural plans.
      • e.g. multi-sensory related products and technologies.
  2. Technology
    • Provide program recipients the means and ability to stay safe, connected, and occupied and engaged at home, including in virtual and online learning and skill development activities. Examples include but are not limited to:
      • Laptops and tablets;
      • Online educational and e-learning activities and resources;
      • Videogames and videogame systems;
      • Webcams and microphones;
      • Media service subscriptions and platforms (e.g. Netflix, Xbox Live, Disney+);
      • E-readers (e.g. Kindle or Kobo); and
      • Remote monitoring devices and medical alert services and devices (e.g., to support people living in Supported Independent Living settings or independently).
    • The approval of technology will also support the virtual engagement of people with disabilities and connections for families, providing some relief from caregiving requirements and alleviating some of the impacts of physical distancing.
  3. Activities and items to support home-based recreation and fitness activities that would otherwise be accessed through day programs and other community-based programs:
    • Supplies to support home-based hobbies and activities. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
      • Arts and craft supplies;
      • Hobby supplies;
      • Puzzles and games;
      • Books for leisure/learning;
    • Supplies to support home-based physical activity and fitness. This may include but is not limited to:
      • Indoor items and equipment (e.g., skipping rope, yoga mat, resistance bands); and
      • fitness/sport equipment and supplies that may be used on the individual’s property (e.g., basketball net, frisbee, badminton set)
  4. Personal Protective Equipment and Supplies, When Available
    • This is intended to enable program recipients and their support workers to be supported more safely at home or, as required, in the community, which may be of heightened importance to adults who are immunocompromised:
      • Gloves;
      • Masks;
      • Gowns;
      • Cleaning supplies (disinfectant wipes, sprays, and hand sanitizer); and
      • Goggles and face shields.
  5. Essential Service Delivery Fees
    • Recipients and their families may be unable to easily leave their homes for groceries and pharmacy needs. To support households in this situation, delivery/service fees associated with the delivery of groceries or medication are deemed a temporary eligible expenditure.
    • Service delivery fees for essential items such as groceries and medication will be an admissible expense. (Note: this will not include the food and/or medication costs, just the service fee for delivery).
      • e.g., Instacart by Loblaws, pharmacy deliveries
  6. Behavioural Support Plans and Related Interventions
    • Development of behavioural support plans and recommended interventions (delivered in person or remotely/virtually) and/or support strategies to reduce challenging behaviours or potential crisis situations intended to assist families to more safely support their family member at home.
      • Note: This does not include physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

All other inadmissible expenditures as outlined in the Passport Guidelines remain in effect but may still be approved under the guideline’s extenuating circumstances clause on a case-by-case basis.

B. Temporary Changes to Passport Administrative Requirements

In response to the administrative challenges arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, the following temporary changes to the Passport program administrative requirements have been implemented effective immediately. These temporary changes support the on-going administration of the program for families and agencies while physical distancing requirements remain in place.

The regular program terms and conditions set out in the Passport program guidelines will come back into effect upon notice provided by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. Program participants and families will be given as much advance notice as possible to prepare them for the return of business as usual protocols once the ministry provides notice.

  1. Claim and Invoice Signature Requirements

    As physical distancing is currently mandated by all levels of government, and as many individuals/families may not have access to technology to support an e-signature process, the signature requirements for Passport invoice and claim forms are now suspended until further notice. This includes support worker signatures to confirm that a service was provided.

  2. Other Signature Requirements

    In order to support the mandated physical distancing protocols the following signature requirements are temporarily suspended until further notice. This includes documents that require the signature of program participants or their caregivers such as:

    • Passport Service Agreements;
    • Onboarding documentation for new funding recipients; and
    • Inter-regional transfer documentation

    This means that until further notice, email or documented verbal acceptance of new funding approvals are acceptable to on-board new program participants into the Passport program.