Baird announces intent to repeal the Homes for Retarded Persons Act
TORONTO, June 5 /CNW/ - Responding to the concerns of the Ontario Association for Community Living and other developmental disability groups, Community and Social Services Minister John Baird will introduce legislation today that, if passed, will repeal the Homes for Retarded Persons Act.
"Our government is committed to updating its laws to make them current, clearer, and sensitive to the people they serve," said Baird. "Bringing this bill forward to remove terms such as 'retarded persons' is one more step this government is taking to help people with disabilities and their families receive the respect and dignity they deserve."
The bill introduced today also seeks to change more than 30 acts that contain outdated and offensive language. "It's important to our government to repeal the Act because it contains offensive language and does not reflect the current philosophy of moving away from institutions into the community and closer to home," said Baird. "Families and caregivers who live and work with people with developmental disabilities every day have told me the Act is paternalistic and a relic of past attitudes. It's time for it to go."
It was first enacted to regulate group homes for adults with developmental disabilities. However, it includes outdated language, obsolete sections and is redundant with many of the sections included in the Developmental Services Act (DSA). The important aspects of the old Act, such as health, safety, and the personal well being of people with developmental disabilities, are preserved in the Developmental Services Act.
At their 2000 annual general meeting, the Ontario Association for Community Living passed a resolution to call on the government to repeal the act. "We felt the Act was inappropriate, intrusive, restrictive, and demeaning," said David Barber, President of the Ontario Association for Community Living. "We are very happy that the Minister wants to repeal the Act and is listening to our concerns."
Last week, Baird announced details of the government's five-year plan to help people with developmental disabilities. Providing $55 million, growing to $197 million annually, this is the single largest investment this province has ever made in the developmental services sector. The province will also make an additional investment of $67 million over five years to build new places in the community for people with developmental disabilities to live.
For more information visit http://www.gov.on.ca/CSS.
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For further information: Dan Miles, Minister's Office, (416) 325-5215; Dianne Lone, Ministry of Community and Social Services, (416) 325-5156