Demand Full, Uninterrupted Funding for Individuals With Developmental Disabilities in Ontario
  • Petitioned Hon. Ted McMeekin

This petition was delivered to:

Minister of Community and Social Services
Hon. Ted McMeekin
Minister of Children and Youth Services
Hon. Teresa Piruzza

Demand Full, Uninterrupted Funding for Individuals With Developmental Disabilities in Ontario

    1. Cameron Dearlove
    2. Petition by

      Cameron Dearlove

      Kitchener, Canada

Changes over the last several years to the way that funding is provided for individuals with developmental disabilities has created significant upheaval for many families. Special Services at Home (SSAH), which once followed the individual for life, no longer does so. Families benefitting from the SSAH are getting significant jolts as their children turn 18 and fall into deep system gaps.


As of April 1, 2013, at age 18, as the programming shifts from one ministry to another (Children and Youth Services to Community and Social Services), families need to reapply for service through the “Passport” program. At this point some people are being told that the original assessments which made them eligible for SSAH as children are no longer valid, even though the disability hasn’t changed. Vulnerable families have to pay out of pocket for new psychological assessments, costing thousands of dollars. These costs are significant for a middle-income family; for a lower-income family they can be impossible.


Should the new assessment make the individual eligible for ongoing SSAH or Passport funding, they are then entered onto a waiting list for service. The waiting lists that people find themselves on are daunting. The waiting list for a child to receive service through SSAH can stretch to 5 years – which seems even longer now that they are losing this funding at age 18. 1-3 year waiting lists for Passport funding is common, with both waiting lists growing.


In hard numbers, what does the current wait list situation look like? According to Community Living Ontario, there are 7000 families on the waiting list for SSAH, and 4000 more on with waiting list for Passport funding. Community Living states that the current funding for SSAH “is spread so thin that the average allocation to families is $4,200 a year. That translates into $350 per month or approximately 8 hours of support a week.” This funding, of course, is only for those who have made their way through a years-long waiting list.


There is very little movement in the SSAH waiting list. According to the Auditor General, “as of March 31, 2011, there was a waiting list of almost 9,600 people who met the eligibility criteria but were still waiting for SSAH funding.” The number of eligible people on the waiting list for Passport funding has consistently been greater than the number of people actually receiving funding.


With our aging population, many seniors are spending their golden years providing primary care. Community Living Ontario, through a random sampling of ridings across Ontario, found that over 1,450 parents over the age of 70 are still providing primary care to their adult child or family member. “80% of parents are between 70 - 79 years of age, 17% of parents are between 80 - 89 years of age, and 3% of parents are over the age of 90.”


The lack of support and service in Ontario is not only unconscionable; it also ignores the commitment Canada made to people with disabilities upon signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. A couple of examples include:
• Article 19 - Living independently and being included in the community. Section B states: “Persons with disabilities have access to a range of in-home, residential and other community support services, including personal assistance necessary to support living and inclusion in the community, and to prevent isolation or segregation from the community.” SSAH and Passport would fulfil this requirement, were people able to access them in a timely fashion. Waiting 1, 3, 5 years for these supports are counterproductive to preventing “isolation or segregation to the community.”
• Article 26 – Habilitation and Rehabilitation, section 1 states: “1. States Parties shall take effective and appropriate measures, including through peer support, to enable persons with disabilities to attain and maintain maximum independence, full physical, mental, social and vocational ability, and full inclusion and participation in all aspects of life. To that end, States Parties shall organize, strengthen and extend comprehensive habilitation and rehabilitation services and programmes, particularly in the areas of health, employment, education and social services, in such a way that these services and programmes: a) Begin at the earliest possible stage, and are based on the multidisciplinary assessment of individual needs and strengths; b) Support participation and inclusion in the community and all aspects of society, are voluntary, and are available to persons with disabilities as close as possible to their own communities, including in rural areas.” Again, it is obvious that our significant wait lists fly in the face of the spirit of this article.


Saying that we aren’t living up to our international obligations may seem to be an abstract statement, but what this means in reality is that our children and families are not receiving the supports they desperately need. We must do better.


Tell the Ontario government that they must eliminate the waiting lists for supports through Special Services at Home and Passport.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 5,000 signatures
    2. Ombudsman's Annual Report Released Today

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer

      See what the Ombudsman had to say about services for adults with developmental disabilities. Sections start at pages 26 and 49.
      http://www.ombudsman.on.ca/Files/sitemedia/Images/Reports/AR-EN-Web.pdf
      “ Some of these caregivers are on the brink of emotional and physical
      breakdown. We have investigated past cases where people with
      these severe disabilities have been sent to shelters and even jail.
      What is particularly troubling is that our complaints have only gone
      up, despite new legislation and changes made by the Ministry in
      recent years. ” Ombudsman André Marin, press release launching investigation, November 28, 2012

    3. Campaign asks public to ‘challenge your own assumptions’

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer

      KITCHENER — Civic square was a sea of purple on Friday evening as over 300 community members gathered to promote the message that everyone deserves dignity and respect.

      The group was out to support the "I Choose Dignity" campaign launched by Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region, an organization that supports families and individuals with special needs.

      http://www.therecord.com/news-story/3841105-campaign-asks-public-to-challenge-your-own-assumptions-/

    4. Cheri DiNovo's speech on developmental services

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer

      m.youtube.com/#/watch?feature=share&v=hdG7dZ0m0gw&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DhdG7dZ0m0gw%26feature%3Dshare

      Cheri DiNovo on Developmental Services in Ontario

      Uploaded by Cheri DiNovo on 2013-05-16.

    5. Mind the Gap

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer

      Provincial legislation meant to ease the burden on social welfare is leaving individuals with developmental disabilities in limbo
      http://www.community.thecord.ca/mind-the-gap/

    6. Province needs to do more to address wait list

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer
    7. People with disabilities matter

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer

      From The Record: http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/3254945-people-with-disabilities-matter/

      I am moved by people like Subeer Bhandari and Cameron Dearlove who advocate for those who need government-funded services to radically improve their lives.

      This is why we must not ignore the larger context in which this kind of struggle over funding is a struggle over those who matter.

      The recent version of government austerity measures seeks to cut back education, health, and social services, as if there are no other government programs and ministries to consider.

      But there are other government services that can be changed, depending on a person's values. These include: continuing to reduce taxes on corporations; ignoring tax havens for the rich and corporations; creating free trade agreements in which governments may have to pay fines to corporations through dispute settlement mechanisms; and allowing currency speculation...

    8. Don’t put those in need at risk

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer

      "In addition, the waiting list for young adults seeking Passport funding is onerous. Cameron Dearlove, one of two men who have initiated a petition now circulating in Waterloo Region calling for the elimination of wait lists for support funding through the two programs, estimates 4,000 people are on the list for Passport, so obtaining funding could take years."

      http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/3254402-don-t-put-those-in-need-at-risk/

      Don't put those in need at risk

      Waterloo Region Record One of the casualties of Dalton McGuinty's decision last October to prorogue the Ontario legislature was a newly formed all-party committee designed to develop a strategy to address the needs of Ontarians with intellectual disabilities and mental illnesses.

    9. Pair petition against funding changes for people with developmental di...

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer
    10. See the child – before the disability, UNICEF says

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer
      UNICEF - Press centre - See the child - before the disability, UNICEF says

      Press release See the child - before the disability, UNICEF says Inclusion of children with disabilities benefits society as a whole Da Nang, Viet Nam, 30 May 2013 - Children with disabilities and their communities would both benefit if society focused on what those children can achieve, rather than what they cannot do, according to UNICEF's annual State of the World's Children's report.

    11. Reached 4,000 signatures
    12. Government is working to reduce support funding waitlist, says Milloy

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer

      Another local story on this issue, and on this petition. Thanks to the Morton family for telling their story.
      http://www.kitchenerpost.ca/news/government-is-working-to-reduce-support-funding-waitlist-says-milloy/

    13. Please help us keep this up!

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer

      We have had great momentum on this petition. Please keep helping to get the word out there so that we can hit our goal of 5000 signatures and bring this petition to Queen's Park! Only 1700 more signatures to go!

    14. Reached 3,000 signatures
    15. Families face financial crisis as provincial funding for adults with...

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer

      The issue, and the petition, has hit the local media in Kitchener!

      http://www.kitchenerpost.ca/news/funding-furor/

      Funding furor

      Families face financial crisis as provincial funding for adults with developmental disabilities changes Like many other teenage girls, Fiona Whiteside, 18, spends her days at school and enjoys activities such as swimming, choir and attending camp. But Fiona, who has cerebral palsy with both developmental and physical disabilities, needs help to do all those things.

    16. Reached 2,000 signatures
    17. Ontario minister defends funding for developmental disabled

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer
      Ontario minister defends funding for developmental disabled - Ottawa - CBC News

      Ontario's Minister of Community and Social Services responded to criticism his department wasn't doing enough to help families with adult children with developmental disabilities, saying it is working to improve services in difficult economic conditions. Ted McMeekin said the proposed Ontario budget sets aside $42-million for people with disabilities, a three per cent increase over last year.

    18. Reached 1,500 signatures
    19. Parents of autistic children battle bureaucracy of health system

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer

      Another day, another article exposing the struggles families face every day without adequate support:
      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/05/03/f-autism-parents-government-support.html

      Parents of autistic children battle bureaucracy of health system - Canada - CBC News

      An Ottawa mother's decision to leave her severely autistic son in the hands of a provincial services office has highlighted frustration among parents with the governmental support system. One Ontario woman sank $80,000 of her own money into building a business to help disabled individuals and their caregivers navigate the health care system.

    20. Reached 750 signatures
    21. SSAH and Passport Funding on CBC Power & Politics

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer
      Power and Politics with Evan Solomon

      Get daily access to the movers and shakers when Evan interviews the country's most influential figures.

    22. Reached 500 signatures
    23. Parents of autistic children 'exasperated' by financial costs

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer

      Devon is unlikely to have a job after he graduates, and Pearce is dreading the possibility that he may be left without any government support come the fall of 2015.

      “I have a countdown on my phone that tells me that in 860 days, we’re going to be completely screwed because that’s the day the school bus stops coming to the front door,” she says.

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/05/01/f-autism-parents-costs.html

      Parents of autistic children 'exasperated' by financial costs - Canada - CBC News

      Amanda Telford's decision to leave her severely autistic son at a provincial developmental services office in Ottawa this week was a drastic step for a frustrated parent. Telford says caring for her 19-year-old son, Philipp, without sufficient government support had become unmanageable.

    24. No more waiting: Saskatchewan clears list for intellectually disabled pr...

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer
    25. This morning on CBC's The Current: Ottawa family says they can't care fo...

      Cameron Dearlove
      Petition Organizer

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Gordon Dyck PICKERING, CANADA
      • 3 months ago

      2 family members with Downs Syndrome

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Marcia Veldman HAMILTON, CANADA
      • 3 months ago

      Extended family with disability

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Dena Purvis OTTAWA, CANADA
      • 3 months ago

      My son has ASD

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • M. L. CANADA
      • 4 months ago

      My brother has autism.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Tammy Hutcheson NORTH YORK, CANADA
      • 4 months ago

      I work in the sector, I've seen the hardships felt by the families.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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