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Background

Since the government announced its commitment to transforming the developmental services system in 2004, the Ministry of Community and Social Services has met with individuals who have a developmental disability, their families and caregivers and various groups representing agencies that provide developmental services and supports from across the province. Their ideas and advice to the ministry play a critical part in the transformation and will help create a stronger system of services and supports that makes it possible for people who have a developmental disability and their caregivers to be self-reliant and live independently in the community with dignity and respect.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services has used the feedback it has received over the past year and a half to develop a plan for changing the way supports are provided to people who have a developmental disability. The strategies that make up this plan are outlined in our discussion paper, Opportunities and Action — Transforming Supports in Ontario for People Who Have a Developmental Disability.

As a springboard for further discussion and future policy development, the purpose of Opportunities and Action is twofold:

  • The first goal of the paper is to stimulate a broad public discussion of the elements of the transformation plan and to provide an opportunity for anyone who has an interest in the process to participate by sharing their views and ideas about the proposed changes and how to implement them.
  • The second goal is to introduce the new directions the ministry will be going in to deliver funding and supports to people who have a developmental disability based on what we have heard from our community partners, in particular individuals and families or caregivers of people who have a developmental disability.

Divided into two sections, the first part of Opportunities and Action — Transforming Supports in Ontario for People Who Have a Developmental Disability builds on the objectives of a transformed system. The goal is to create a fair, accessible and sustainable system in which:

  • People with similar needs in similar circumstances receive similar supports across the province
  • Funding and supports are more flexible and individually tailored so that people who have a developmental disability and their families/caregivers can make decisions about the supports they receive either by purchasing what they need directly from service providers, using existing agency programs or a combination of both
  • Access to a broader range of supports, including specialized services for people who have a developmental disability and mental health issues and/or challenging behaviour, is more streamlined and consistent across the province and
  • Clearer roles of individuals, families/caregivers, agencies and the government, on the one hand, and better information about support needs, on the other, contribute to greater stability in the system over the long term.