Issue 18 - June 2010


Transforming developmental services

Questions and answers

Putting the spotlight on deinstitutionalization

The Human Resources Strategy

Person-directed planning 101

CORE's empowerment model takes to the streets: participants think big and walk tall for Jane's Walk

Art from ARC


Transforming developmental services

A new application process: where are we now?

Much like the successful closure of Ontario’s last residential facilities for people with a developmental disability, modernizing our developmental services system is a long-term effort and will require dedication, hard work and collaboration over the next few years.

We are continuing to make steady progress on our plan and are truly grateful for all of the valuable input and cooperation our community partners have given us through the process. We want to update you on the latest news about our future application process for developmental services.

An important part of Ontario’s new legislation – the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008 – is a new application process.

Right now, people have a lot of difficulty finding and receiving developmental services in many parts of the province. We have heard that the level and type of support provided varies depending on the community. The developmental services system needs to be more fair, transparent and responsive to individuals and their circumstances.

That’s why the ministry has been working with community agencies, individuals and families to develop a common application process for adult developmental services.

We are now inviting Expressions of Interest from Ontario corporations that are interested in establishing and operating application entities for developmental services. The entities will provide a single point of access to ministry-funded adult developmental services and supports in each of the ministry’s nine regions.

Expression of Interest

The Expression of Interest process will help the ministry in deciding which organizations will be designated as application entities. The application entities are one of the most important aspects of our long-term plan for developmental services. In fact, they are key to bringing our vision of a more equitable and accessible developmental services system to life. The application entities will also support choice. Equity, accessibility and choice: these were key themes we heard from individuals, families and stakeholders when we began our transformation journey. We continue to be focussed on these objectives.

Application entities

The future application entities will manage applications for adult developmental services and supports.

    The core functions of each application entity will include:
  • providing information
  • determining eligibility
  • determining service/support needs
  • service navigation
  • linking people to services and supports, and
  • administering direct funding agreements.

Sidebar : Community engagement

In fall 2009, the ministry held more than 155 meetings with people with a developmental disability, families, agencies and developmental services workers.

We heard many different perspectives on how the application entities should function in each region and the kinds of things we need to take into consideration such as geography, community factors and best practices.

Our thanks to everyone who helped us through this important phase.

Questions and answers

When is the deadline to apply?

Expressions of Interest will be accepted from June 8, 2010 until 5 p.m. on Friday, August 13, 2010. Applications submitted after this time will not be considered.

For more information, check out our website. Go to From our home page, click on “Developmental Services.”

How can I get a copy of the application entity Expression of Interest package?

You can get an Expression of Interest package from a designated contact in each of the ministry’s nine regional offices. It is available in both electronic and hard copy.

You can also find out details about upcoming information meetings for applicants that the ministry will be holding in each region between June 23-25, 2010.

Regional Office Contact Telephone Number
Central East Region 905-868-8900, Ext. 5603
Central West Region 905-567-7177, Ext. 247
Eastern Region 613-787-3270
Hamilton-Niagara Region 905-521-7314
Northern Region 705-564-6699, Ext. 527
North East Region 705-474-3540, Ext. 217
South East Region 613-536-7234
South West Region 519-254-5355, Ext. 2245
Toronto Region 416-325-0525

What will application entities do?

Each regional application entity will provide a single point of access for ministry-funded adult developmental services and supports. Application entities are an important part of transforming Ontario’s developmental services system, and will help to create a system that is easier to access and more fair and consistent across the province.

Each regional application entity will:

  • serve as a single point of access for ministry-funded adult developmental services
  • maintain current and comprehensive information on community-based services and supports that are available for individuals with a developmental disability and their families that will support their participation in community life
  • review submitted information to determine eligibility in accordance with the act and any policy directives set by the ministry
  • complete and/or arrange for the completion of the developmental services application package
  • administer direct funding agreements in accordance with ministry requirements, when available
  • work collaboratively with community planning tables
  • match people to ministry-funded adult developmental services and supports, when available
  • analyze data and develop reports to support forecasting and systems planning
  • establish linkages with other sectors (e.g. health, education, mental health, etc.) to inform those sectors on how individuals can apply for and receive ministry-funded adult developmental services, when available
  • provide information and assistance to people who are waiting for services
  • help individuals understand how the service system works in their community and, if necessary, across the province
  • link to, and help in the development of urgent response support strategies for individuals, when appropriate, and
  • match prioritized individuals to available services and supports in their region, where individuals are seeking agency services.

How many application entities will be designated?

Nine. The ministry will designate one application entity in each of its nine regions.

How did the ministry determine the functions of each regional application entity?

Ontario’s new legislation – The Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008 – sets out the functions of the application entities. The functions reflect the feedback that was received during public consultations on the act.

Who can apply to become the application entity in each region?

Corporations in Ontario are eligible to submit Expressions of Interest to establish and operate an application entity.

A corporation, for the purposes of this Expression of Interest, must have a board of directors with at least three members.

What needs to be included in a corporation’s Expression of Interest to become an application entity?

Ontario corporations interested in establishing and operating a regional application entity must demonstrate their capacity to deliver the required functions and duties of the application entity as set out in the new act (once proclaimed), and as described in the Expression of Interest package.

Specific requirements for Expressions of Interest are included in the application entity Expression of Interest package.

Can a corporation apply to be designated as an application entity in more than one region?

Yes, a corporation can apply to become an application entity in more than one region.

Corporations interested in applying in more than one region must:

  • submit an Expression of Interest to each region, and
  • show their capacity to deliver the required functions and duties of the application entity within the specific region.

Can more than one application entity be designated within a single ministry region?


Expressions of Interest that would establish more than one corporation as the designated application entity in a region will not be considered.

How will applications submitted through the application entity Expression of Interest be reviewed?

The ministry will review and evaluate each Expression of Interest against the requirements for the operation of application entities.

When will the application entities be designated and open for business?

Application entities will be designated once the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008, is proclaimed. A date for this is yet to be determined.

Why are we implementing application entities?

Application entities will be the foundation of the transformed developmental services system. They will help make Ontario’s developmental services system more fair and transparent for people who need help the most.

Developmental services application process Why change? Why now?
We are moving from: We are moving to:
Different ways to get access to services Single points of access at application entities

Benefit: people can apply for support through a consistent process, no “shopping around”

Inconsistent eligibility across province Clear eligibility criteria defined in legislation and regulations used by application entities province-wide

Benefit: increase fairness for those applying for services in different parts of the province
Inconsistent ways of assessing an individual’s needs

A standard provincial application form and assessment process used across the province

Benefit: allows developmental services agencies to focus on delivering quality services and supports to the individuals they serve and helps to create a more equitable and sustainable system
No information on an individual’s needs to plan for future supports A provincial information system to support planning and forecasting

Benefit: allows for better system planning within the ministry and throughout the community

Limited choice for individualized supports The ability to receive direct funding for defined services and/or the ability to partner with agencies to create individualized supports

Benefit: allows for greater choice and flexibility in the way individuals receive support

Putting the spotlight on deinstitutionalization

The ministry is working with two Ontario universities to gather detail on the experiences of former residents of the now-closed developmental services facilities.

Researchers from the Centre for Applied Disability Studies at Brock University in St. Catharines and from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay will be leading the Facilities Initiative Study. The goal is to study the outcomes of deinstitutionalization for former residents of Huronia, Southwestern and Rideau Regional Centres.

The study will examine health and well-being among individuals who have moved from the facilities to community settings. It will provide an opportunity for former residents, their families, current service providers, and former facilities staff members to tell the stories of their experiences with this shift towards community living.

Many other jurisdictions in Canada and elsewhere are looking to the Ontario experience as they develop their own policies on living arrangements for people with a developmental disability. The Facilities Initiative Study is an important opportunity, not only to tell our story of deinstitutionalization in Ontario, but to support other jurisdictions with information they can use to inform their own planning and policy.

The study is set up so that everyone can participate to their best ability, or to have someone who knows them well share information on their behalf. There are many different ways to participate – from group discussions held in central locations, to written surveys and even visits to former residents in their new homes.

The researchers are eager to hear the stories and experiences of all individuals who were former residents of facilities. So if you are a former resident, family member or facility staffer, we strongly encourage you to participate in as many aspects of the study as you are able. This will help the researchers understand people’s experiences so that the story of deinstitutionalization in Ontario can be told clearly and honestly.

For more information please contact Dr. Rosemary Condillac or Dr. Dorothy Griffiths at Brock University. They can be reached by phone at 1-877-688-8131 or email

The Human Resources Strategy

The Human Resources (HR) Strategy committees have done great work to date. The committees, which are made up of representatives from developmental services agencies as well as the ministry, have come together to transform human resources practices in developmental services across Ontario. Their goal is to ensure that people with a developmental disability are supported by excellent, well-qualified staff.

Here’s where the committees are at with their work plans:

The Core Competencies Committee has completed its work overseeing the development of core competencies for all developmental services staff. A pilot project is now underway which is focusing on implementing the core competencies in 16 developmental services agencies.

The purpose of the Core Competencies Pilot Project is to:

  • develop and implement tools and resources to promote the implementation of core competencies through the developmental services sector
  • provide critical guidance and analysis regarding the implementation and application of core competencies for seven key positions, as well as human resources processes, and
  • develop skills, knowledge and expertise for the implementation of core competencies province-wide.

The Core Competencies Pilot Project has four phases:

  • project planning and initial launch of pilot sites
  • identifying requirements for implementing competencies
  • training and coaching to assist implementation in pilot sites, and
  • developing and rolling out an implementation guide.

The core competencies implementation guide will start rolling out in January 2011.

The Agency-based Training Committee is analyzing the data that was collected through the training survey.

The Awareness and Marketing Committee is working with a marketing firm to develop a website for the HR Strategy. The site will feature a variety of marketing tools that can be used by agencies to promote working in the sector as a rewarding career choice.

The Best HR Practices Committee is analyzing the information that was collected through focus groups about HR practices used by developmental services agencies.

The Program Standards Committee has submitted an analysis report to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The report compares core competencies for developmental services staff with Developmental Services Worker (DSW) college program standards and DSW Apprenticeship program standards. The report will to be used in a review of standards for the two programs. The goal of the review is to ensure that new developmental services employees are job-ready and equipped with a high level of education.

Stay tuned for more updates on the HR Strategy in future issues of Spotlight.

Person-directed planning 101

March was a busy month with the Ministry of Community and Social Services hosting five events across Ontario focussed on person-directed planning.


Person-directed planning helps people with a developmental disability prepare life plans that lay out their distinct needs and goals. These plans help them outline ways they can create meaningful lives in the community and make the most out of funding.

Topics up for discussion at the symposiums included:

  • person-directed planning, its role, vision, principles and values
  • what’s working well in Ontario
  • the importance of partnerships in planning, and
  • how person-directed planning could develop and grow, building on success stories and what people have learned so far.

We were excited to have Jack Pearpoint and Lynda Kahn of Inclusion Press as keynote speakers at all five events. Using their wealth of knowledge and experience, Jack and Lynda helped participants gain a deeper understanding of what person-directed planning is and how it can enhance the quality of life for people with a developmental disability. For more information, visit

Adults with developmental disabilities and their families were also there to share stories about their experiences with person-directed planning. Participants were given the opportunity to comment and ask questions.

Our sincere thanks to the steering committee members who helped plan the events. The committee included people with a developmental disability, family members, agencies that provide direct services and supports, organizations that offer planning, agencies that provide adult protective and case management services and supports, and ministry staff.

Look for more information about the symposiums and other person-directed planning news in future issues of Spotlight.

CORE’s empowerment model takes to the streets: participants think big and walk tall for Jane’s Walk

By Mia Hunt, CORE Board member

On May 1, 2010, young adults from the Lifestyle Strategies program at the Centre for Opportunities, Respect, and Empowerment (CORE) led a community walk through downtown Toronto.

CORE Struts Big Through Queen & Spadina, part of Jane’s Community Walks, took CORE’s unique empowerment model to the streets, providing a platform for the participants’ voices and insisting the public take notice.


Jane’s Walks are a series of free community walking tours modeled after the teachings of Jane Jacobs. In May 2010, the walks took place in 68 cities around the world with more than 120 walks in Toronto over two days. Jacobs was an urbanist, activist, and longtime Toronto resident who believed the secrets of city building lay in the experiences of residents, not with its planners, architects or politicians. As such, the walking series champions residents and regulars as ‘local experts’; only locals understand what makes places meaningful and how they should change.

The local experts in CORE’s Lifestyle Strategies program are between 18 and 25 and are transitioning from high school to “real life”. The program helps these young adults recognize their unique talents, set goals, and find their place in the working and social community. The participants’ assertiveness, confidence, and the recognition of their own power, inspired the development of their own interactive Jane’s Walk.

Five tour guides led a group of 25, including members of the public as well as CORE staff, through the historic fashion district, to explore accessibility successes and challenges in downtown Toronto. At the outset, CORE participants distributed two sets of stickers to the group: one read “This is Accessible” and the other “This is Not Accessible”. The group was asked to see the physical and social environment through the eyes of the participants and mark accessible and inaccessible spaces along the tour. Besides a trail of stickers marking difficult curbs and favoured ramps, CORE and their guests marked the sidewalks of Queen Street with chalk, creating a two dimensional flower garden to note the limited access to green space in the downtown core.

The participants also chose to revive Toronto’s historic fashion manufacturing district by staging a public fashion show. While spectators threw confetti, CORE participants strutted their stuff on the red carpet.

While the fun of fashion was highlighted by the show, the participants also stressed the fashion industry’s inherent inaccessibility. One participant elicited empathetic nods and a few tears from the audience as she spoke: “Before I came to CORE I didn’t love myself. Now I do love myself. I want other people to love themselves and their bodies, and I want people to make clothes for different bodies and not just skinny people.” Participants presented earnest speeches that shared their experience at CORE and in the city, highlighting personal transformation, perspectives and social action. One participant, for example, discussed issues of safety on the TTC and his mission to advise TTC officials when safety stickers are missing on streetcars.

The participants devised creative ways to be inclusive not only during the walk itself but also through the planning process. For instance, less vocal participants were encouraged by their peers to select songs to punctuate the walk. The tour guides also shared the opinions of participants who had collaborated on the walk’s development but who were unable to attend.

The CORE participants used their Jane’s Walk to show their capacity as community leaders and active citizens. The walk was empowering to the participants, but ultimately just as empowering to the community, who were enlightened about their relationship with difference, educated about the capacity of individuals with unique challenges and asked to overcome their own prejudices. The Lifestyle Strategies program at CORE has helped restore the participants’ rights to share their opinions and find their voice. With this strength and by taking risks, they used the Jane’s Walk to give back to the community and reflect on their how far they have come.

Art from ARC

By Patti-Lynn Armstrong, Vocational Counsellor, ARC Industries Community Living South Huron

You never know where a good idea will take you.

That’s what the members of the ARC Art Club have learned over the past two years. While touring the Abilities Arts Festival in Toronto in 2007 and 2008, a group of people with developmental disabilities and staff from Community Living South Huron noticed that artists with developmental disabilities were not well represented. People with developmental disabilities were models featured in photographs and other works of art; however they were not represented as artists.

So the group started an art club of its own to showcase the work of people with developmental disabilities. The club made a presentation to Bruce Shaw, the Executive Director of Community Living South Huron to get funds for art materials, and before long, the artists were working in several mediums including paint, pen and ink, pencil, mosaics and collage.

In March of 2009, the ARC Art Club had its first gallery showing at the Goderich Co-Op Gallery. The show was very successful and several artists sold their work. In fact, one of the ARC Artists had the honour of having her work hang in the Frederick Horsman Varley Art Gallery in Unionville.

We were so pleased that the ARC Art Club shared images of its work with the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and we wanted to share them with all of you, our partners in developmental services. We look forward to many more opportunities to showcase the work of the people of ARC Industries.


New legislation for developmental services

We are making progress on our new legislation – the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008. Look for more information about the new act in the summer issue of Spotlight.