Lieutenant Governor proclaims historic legislation for people with developmental disabilities

Archived Release

Lieutenant Governor proclaims historic legislation for people with developmental disabilities

Ministry of Community and Social Services

TORONTO, Nov. 30 /CNW/- Lieutenant Governor Hilary Weston, joined by Community and Social Services Minister John Baird, today signed the proclamation to repeal the Homes for Retarded Persons Act (HRPA). The signing ceremony was held at the annual Federation Day conference hosted by the Ontario Association for Community Living (OACL).
"Just as the Association for Community Living has brought persons with developmental disabilities out of institutions and into the midst of community life," said Mrs. Weston, "I am pleased to have been invited here today to proclaim new legislation at a community event outside Queen's Park for the very first time."
By signing the proclamation, Bill 71, the Homes for Retarded Persons Repeal Act, becomes law. Bill 71 has changed the wording in more than 30 acts government-wide to remove language that is outdated and offensive to people with developmental disabilities, their families, and their support workers.
"Families and caregivers had continuously expressed to me that the act was inappropriate and demeaning," said Baird. "As part of our commitment to people with developmental disabilities, we have updated laws to make them current, clearer, and more sensitive to the people they serve."
The HRPA was enacted in 1966 to regulate group homes for adults with developmental disabilities. Legislation to repeal the HRPA was introduced by Baird in June. The important aspects of the HRPA to ensure the health, safety and personal well-being of people with developmental disabilities have been preserved in the Developmental Services Act which was enacted in 1974.
"John Baird has demonstrated once again his strong, personal commitment to the developmental services sector," said David Barber, president of the OACL. "We're especially grateful that the Minister and the government have recognized that the stigma of such outdated language and legislation was a significant barrier to people. This repeal law goes a long way toward ensuring that people with intellectual disabilities get the dignity and respect they deserve as full members of our society."
The Ontario government has recently made significant contributions to help people with developmental disabilities. This year's budget includes a multi-year plan of $55 million this year - growing to $197 million annually - to enhance services and attract more quality caregivers. This is the single largest investment Ontario has ever made in the developmental services sector. The province is also making an additional investment of $67 million over five years to build new places to live in the community for people with developmental disabilities.

Backgrounder
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November 30, 2001

INVESTING MORE THAN EVER BEFORE IN DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES

The Ontario government is taking a long-term approach to improving services and enhancing the independence of people with developmental disabilities.
Funding has begun to flow to local communities to serve people with developmental disabilities and the individuals who provide them with care and support. With the single largest investment ever made in developmental services in Ontario, funding will grow to $197 million annually by the year 2006-2007 to expand services for clients and attract more quality caregivers.

2001/2002
$31.7 million More than 260 agencies across Ontario are receiving
funding for salaries and benefits, training and staff
development.

$12.8 million The ministry's nine regional offices are working with
the developmental services sector to allocate funds to
expand day programs, Special Services at Home, and
out-of-home respite care. Some of this funding will be
used to address historic service pressures that have
been managed on a year-to-year basis.

$7.3 million The ministry is supporting new places to live for
people with developmental disabilities.

The new funding will bring spending by the Harris government for people with developmental disabilities and their families to over $1 billion this year.

This total investment also includes:
- $8.6 million annually in capital funding for the construction of
more places to live in the community for people with developmental
disabilities (announced May 2001);
- $50 million annually to address a range of funding needs for people
with developmental disabilities and their families (announced May
2000); and
- $35 million annually for more supports and services for people with
developmental disabilities and their families living in the
community (announced April 1999).

Improving legislation

In June 2001, the Minister of Community and Social Services introduced legislation to repeal the Homes for Retarded Persons Act (HRPA).
The HRPA was enacted in 1966 to regulate group homes for adults with developmental disabilities. However, the language in this act became outdated, and sections of the act became obsolete and redundant with many of the sections already included in the Developmental Services Act (DSA) which was enacted in 1974. The important aspects of the HRPA to ensure the health, safety and personal well-being of people with developmental disabilities have been preserved in the DSA.
Bill 71, the Homes for Retarded Persons Repeal Act, has changed more than 30 acts containing outdated and offensive language.

Creating new living spaces in the community

Expansion of community-based group homes is consistent with the government's goal of community living for all individuals with developmental disabilities. There is a need to increase the number of places to live in the community for adults whose aging parents can no longer care for them, individuals with changing and multiple special needs, and young adults leaving the child welfare system.
Five million dollars in capital funding is flowing to communities this year, allowing for the creation of 64 new living spaces.
The Harris government is investing a total of $67 million over five years to build new places in the community where adults with developmental disabilities can live.

Building Foundations

In May 2000, the government announced $6 million annually to create innovative day program options for young adults with developmental disabilities who are leaving the education system.
The Foundations program helps participants develop the skills they need to move toward employment or other community activities. The ultimate goal is for participants to be able to make informed choices about future life directions.
In June 2001, an additional $6 million in annualized funding was allocated to Foundations to increase day programs for even more people with developmental disabilities who are over 21 years old.

Providing supports for vulnerable people

The Ministry of Community and Social Services is committed to ensuring that people with developmental disabilities receive the assistance they need to support their independence and strengthen their families and communities.
The ministry provides funding for a range of services and supports for people with developmental disabilities. Services are delivered largely through community-based agencies that provide supports to help adults live independently, help families care for adults and children at home, and help people contribute to and participate in their communities.

Disponible en fran├žais

For more information visit http://www.gov.on.ca/CSS.
For further information: Richard Berthelsen, Lieutenant Governor's Office, (416) 399-7680; Dan Miles, Minister's Office, (416) 325-5215; Richard Van Dine, OACL, (416) 447-4348 ext. 224; Dianne Lone, Ministry of Community and Social Services, (416) 325-5156