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Developmental Services Ontario

Archived Backgrounder

Developmental Services Ontario

Developmental Services Ontario is the new single window to adult developmental services in Ontario. It opens in July 2011 and will:

  • provide individuals and families with information about community programs and resources
  • determine what services and supports people need, confirm if they are eligible and connect people to specific programs.

Province-wide service

Nine Developmental Services Ontario offices are opening across the province as of July 1, 2011:

  • Hamilton
  • Kingston
  • Kitchener
  • London
  • Newmarket
  • North Bay
  • Ottawa
  • Thunder Bay
  • Toronto

Developmental Services Ontario will serve people in every part of the province. In the coming months, videoconferencing, mobile services and satellite offices will make accessing services and supports even easier.

Business as usual for current clients

Adults with a developmental disability who currently receive service or are waiting for service will not have to reapply - they will be "grandparented" into the new system. Over the next five years, Developmental Services Ontario will assess everyone who is receiving or waiting for service to confirm their needs.  

It's as easy as making a phone call

People can call Developmental Services Ontario toll-free and staff will answer their questions, confirm if they are eligible for support and help them apply.

Transforming Ontario's developmental services system

Like other jurisdictions, the province used to operate residential institutions for people with a developmental disability. Then attitudes changed and the "community living movement" spread across North America.

Ontario started funding more services and supports in the community. By 2004, the province was investing more than $1 billion each year in these supports, including group and individual living arrangements, as well as day programs, specialized services and respite.

But the system was inconsistent, with different application processes and eligibility criteria across the province. Many people with a developmental disability and their families found it difficult to deal with this patchwork system.

In 2004, the government announced plans to modernize developmental services. Since then, Ontario has:

  • created Passport to help individuals transition from school into their communities.
  • introduced new legislation that lays the foundation for a more modern system.
  • closed the province's institutions. Ontario's system is now completely community-based.
  • put province-wide quality assurance measures in place to maintain high quality services and supports.
  • developed clear eligibility criteria and a standard application and assessment process. They are the same across Ontario so everyone with a developmental disability is treated fairly.
  • created Developmental Services Ontario - a single window to adult developmental services.
For more information

Visit the Developmental Services Ontario website.

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