Issue 19 - July 2010

Modern legislation for a modern developmental services system

Message from the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur
Minister of Community and Social Services

Dear Friends,

This month we have taken a major step forward in our transformation of developmental services. On July 1, 2010, various sections of the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008, were proclaimed in force. This legislation is our roadmap to modernize services and supports for adults with a developmental disability to make them more equitable, accessible, fair and financially sustainable.

The new act will be phased in over time, with the first phase of proclamation coming into effect July 1, 2010, January 1, 2011 and July 1, 2011.

A phased approach means individuals, families and service agencies will be able to see when the requirements under the legislation will come into force. And it gives the ministry time to work with service agencies and others for a smooth transition.

We have not yet determined the timing of the second phase. This phase will include sections of the act that allow for funding to be provided directly to individuals and their families. I know many families are excited about having more choice and flexibility in purchasing supports. You can be assured we are on track to making that a reality.

We should all be very proud of this significant turning point in the history of developmental services in Ontario. We have reason to celebrate. This is your legislation, and we could not have achieved this without your input and support.

I especially appreciate all the feedback you provided on our proposed regulations. The second regulation will set quality assurance measures for ministry-funded application entities and service agencies that provide services and supports. We are close to finalizing that regulation and will have more to tell you later this summer. Look for an update in a future issue of Spotlight.

Now that the legislation has been proclaimed and we have the cornerstone of our transformation officially in place, we can focus on our next move – making critical investments in infrastructure that focus on the future. Be sure to read the story in this issue on details about how we are investing some of this year’s Budget funding to help our agency partners manage transformation.

We have come a long way together since we first announced the transformation in 2004. There is so much more we can – and must – accomplish together in the years ahead. I look forward to working with you all as we create a developmental services system for tomorrow.

Vision and principles to guide transformation

Transforming how we deliver supports is guided by the over-arching principle that people with a developmental disability are people first. Our transformation focuses on promoting independence, dignity and self-reliance so that people can live and be included in their communities as full partners in society.

The future of developmental services in Ontario will incorporate six key principles:

  • Citizenship
  • Fairness and equity
  • Accessibility and portability
  • Safety and security
  • Accountability
  • Sustainability.

How Ontario’s new developmental services legislation will be phased in

New definition

The legislation includes a new definition of “a person with a developmental disability”. The new definition will not be based strictly on IQ. It will also consider a person's adaptive functioning.

Here is a timeline of when sections of the new law will come into force and the impact you will see when they do. We also encourage you to read our new regulation that outlines some important details, such as expanding upon which services and supports may be funded under the act and those which will be eligible for direct funding. The regulation also expands upon the definition of a person with a developmental disability and specifies who is qualified to conduct assessments for eligibility. The regulation mirrors the phased approach of the legislation. Both it and the new act can be found on the Ontario government’s e-Laws website


Phase 1

Sections proclaimed on July 1, 2010

These sections outline general definitions in the legislation and establish the powers and authorities of the Minister of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Essentially, these sections lay the framework for changes to the system that will be in effect starting in 2011. Sections coming into force July 1, 2010 allow the ministry to:

  • fund service agencies and fund services and supports;
  • enforce rules governing service agencies and the provision of services and supports including quality assurance;
  • issue policy directives on performance standards and performance measures for service agencies;
  • inspect agencies and issue compliance orders; and
  • appoint a manager to oversee the operation of an agency/entity.


What this means: People who are receiving services and supports will not experience any significant change as a result of these measures. The ministry will not begin to operationalize these parts of the legislation until January 1, 2011. This will give service providers the time needed to become familiar with the legislation and its related regulations.

Sections proclaimed on January 1, 2011

These sections of the act:

  • give the Minister of Community and Social Services authority to designate application entities and allow the ministry to issue policy directives for them; and
  • grandparent people currently receiving or waitlisted for services and supports.

What this means: Individuals receiving services and supports will not experience any significant change. The ministry will be able to outline the operational policies for the application entities.

Sections proclaimed on July 1, 2011

These sections of the act:

  • allow the minister to designate nine regional application entities.
  • bring the new eligibility criteria into effect; and
  • repeal the Developmental Services Act.

What this means: The new application entities will become the central point of access and application for developmental services in their respective areas. They will be responsible for applying the new eligibility criteria fairly and consistently across the province. Everyone will be assessed using the common application package to measure their support needs and inform support planning within the same provincial standards for service and application.

Phase 2

Timing to be finalized These sections of the act will allow the minister to:

  • designate funding entities and the ministry to issue their policy directives; and
  • introduce direct funding beyond the existing Passport and Special Services at Home programs.

What this means: People will be able to receive direct funding for specified services and supports. People with a developmental disability and their families will have more choice and flexibility in choosing the supports that meet their needs. They will be able to choose to receive services through an agency or purchase supports themselves.

The ministry is also finalizing a minister’s regulation on quality assurance measures for service agencies and application entities. Agencies will have time to familiarize themselves with it before it is implemented. Watch for more information in the next issue of Spotlight.

How this year’s Budget supports transformation

You’ll recall from our April issue of Spotlight that this year’s Ontario Budget set aside an additional $56 million for the developmental services sector. Of this total, $36 million is earmarked for people who have urgent care needs – that includes adult children with developmental disabilities whose elderly parents can no longer care for them.

The remaining $20 million will be used to support our agency partners as we work together toward a successful transformation. This funding will be used for:

  • Training agency and ministry staff on alternative ways to support people with challenging needs – this will help build capacity through training led by experts in the area of dual diagnosis to assist in supporting individuals with complex needs.
  • Training agency staff on new policies and procedures related to quality assurance measures – when agency staff are aware and informed on the new quality assurance measures, there will be greater accountability and improved service to individuals. The ministry will provide funding to cover the costs of back-fill staff so that staff who work directly with individuals can attend training.
  • Developing an information system for application entities – funding for an information system will allow for efficient and effective data collection, giving the ministry and the entire developmental services sector a better tool for service planning.
  • Building the capacity for person-directed planning – this will help further the work of the successful person-directed planning symposiums that were held across the province in March 2010.
  • Start-up funding for application entities – this funding is a key investment to ensure that designated application entities are operational when designated.
  • Hiring additional staff to assess application packages – this will allow for the completion of more application packages to assist with planning for targeted groups.

More details about this funding will be provided by the ministry’s regional offices in the very near future.