$110 Million to Strengthen Community Services and Close Institutions

DATE: September 9, 2004
TORONTO – The Ontario government is strengthening supports for Ontarians with developmental disabilities by investing in community services and launching a major review of the province’s developmental services system to make sure it is fair, accessible and sustainable, Minister of Community and Social Services Sandra Pupatello announced today.

“It’s time to take a fresh look at our approach to assisting people with a developmental disability,” said Pupatello. “Our society has changed, families’ expectations have changed and we have to change, too. We need a comprehensive plan for the future – one that will lead us for the next 25 years and beyond.”

To improve care for Ontarians with developmental disabilities, the Ontario government will:

  • Work to transform the developmental services system to better meet the needs of the next generation of adults with a developmental disability
  • Invest up to $110 million over the next four years to strengthen community-based services, including nearly $70 million to create new places to live for adults with a developmental disability who will be leaving provincially-operated institutions
  • Phase out the three remaining residential institutions for adults with a developmental disability by March 31, 2009.

In 1987, the Ontario government committed to closing the province’s remaining facilities within 25 years – a commitment that has been supported by successive governments since then. The phasing out of the remaining institutions completes Ontario’s evolution from an institution-based to a community-based system that promotes greater inclusion, independence and choice.

Ontario has already closed 13 of 16 provincially-operated institutions for adults with a developmental disability, and has helped more than 6,000 people successfully make the transition to community life.

“Those who used to live in institutions are now living in neighbourhoods throughout Ontario,” said Dr. Ivan Brown, Director of the Disability Support Unit at the University of Toronto. “The era of institutions has passed, and we need to help those still living in institutions move to neighbourhoods of their choice as soon as possible. I’m pleased to see the provincial government moving in this direction.”

“We have come a long way in understanding the needs of people with a developmental disability,” said Pupatello. “We still have a long way to go, but today, we start building the foundation for the future – a foundation that will help us build strong, inclusive communities that provide all Ontarians with a quality of life second to none.”