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Ontarians with Developmental Disabilities Continue to Wait

July 23, 2014

Automatic-QualificationWith an annual budget of nearly two billion dollars, why do Ontario social services run so slow?

The answer is simple: demand outweighs supply. reports that there are so many children, teens, young adults and adults who need developmental disability services in Ontario that some wait lists span the next four years.

This is unacceptable to many people. Without social services like day programs, group homes, training for support workers, respite care and more, Ontarians with developmental disabilities are not able to engage in society and feel like they are part of the community. For instance, Gloria Noseworthy, mom to Zachariah, a 23-year-old with autism, has been waiting three years to secure adult support services for her son. She says, “I can’t have him sitting at home alone doing nothing. He needs to be in the community and actively engaged in something meaningful for him.”

Many Canadians can relate to Gloria. They find themselves or loved ones on long wait lists, too. In fact, at this time there are 9,000 Ontarians in Community Living Ontario group homes, and another 12,000 names appear on waiting lists for beds.

In April, Ontario announced, “direct funding for 21,000 people with developmental disabilities.” When all is said and done, this comes out to an 810 million dollar commitment over the next three years. When added onto the current annual budget of 1.7 billion dollars, it seems like Ontario should be able to ramp up social services in no time. However, recent reports say long wait lists will continue for another two to four years.

Now, only three months since the investment was announced, Community and Social Services Minister Helena Jaczek says changes laid out in the original proposal will take twice as long.

Many Ontarians wonder why. Andrea Horwath, an NDP leader tells The Star, “I don’t think it takes much to expand services when the infrastructure is already there . . . this is one of the things I think is frustrating for people.”


Frustrated. Tired. Tapped out. Broke. Feeling alone. Ontarians with developmental disabilities are justified in their feelings on this matter. They’ve been waiting for years to receive services in a province that is just now building up adequate support measures.

With a budget so large, why didn’t they start sooner? Who are the 21,000 people who will receive government support? Will agencies positioned to help people with developmental disabilities get a piece of the pie?

These are the many questions Ontarians are asking in response to the latest instalment of the Star’s Autism Project.

We only know a couple facts are certain. First, Ontarians with developmental disabilities are waiting for services. Now that the pledge has been made public, we turn our eyes to the Select Committee of Developmental Services and the Community and Social Services Minister. We hope they make great strides to help people with developmental disabilities by setting up strong systems of social service.

Second, we know Canada needs to make this right. We hope Ontario succeeds.

The National Benefit Authority always strives to promote people with disabilities. If you dislike this article or find it to be inaccurate, please share why in the comment section of this post.

11 Comments. Leave new

Peter Hastings
July 25, 2014 11:46 pm

Government administered safety net programs appear to be slow and inefficient. Are they under funded or under staffed or both?

Shelley Stanley
July 26, 2014 12:42 am

Provincial govt says I am no disabled
Federal says I am. Heart disease 4 stents in heart. One stent in abdomen
Diabetes. Peripheral artery disease
And vascular dementia.

Andrew Tankus
July 26, 2014 1:01 am

In 2005, the Ontario Liberals passed into law the AODA. This law was supposed to remove all bariers preventing all Ontarians with any type of disability from being included in society.
Unfortunately, the government itself is the largest discriminator of all. Many reports have been commisioned by the provincial Liberals and Conservatives, at our cost by the way, to study this and other issues pertaining to improving the system. All of these reports had the same conclusion, that not only would it benefit those of us waiting for support because of a disability, but that it would greately help to reduce the provincial defecit as well.

Why has the government chosen to ignore these reports?

Go figure.

kevin krimmer
July 26, 2014 1:02 am

I am on long term disability and as promised by you service I have yet to receive any funds. I have paid your enrolment fee and was told it would only take 6 weeks to process. I have a mental illness and now a physical life altering injury. I have been suffering and unable to make ends meet each month. I have bills that have only gotten bigger and bigger. It seems each week phone calls from debt collectors continue and am unable to commit to repaying them because I cant even feed myself. What can I do. I don’t have any family left for support. I have been doing everything on my own. The stress of not being able to look after myself properly just compounds things. not being able to work is hard enough. being able to earn money to put away for my older years is disappointing. Realizing that I will have nothing when I get older with regards to funds makes me feel like my future is bleak. sometimes I feel like I don’t want to be here because what I see in other people the struggles they are encountering now how will it be in 10 yrs or fifteen years. when I am to old to work. I sure feel helpless?

I notice most of your online conversations have to do with Ontario and little to do with Canada as a whole! When I look at my health problems it has more to do with my provincial government then my national one. Seeing as how I live in BC I’m wondering if my comments can be related to Ontario the province or Ontario as a part of Canada? Are our health issues as federal as they are provincial?

Hi John! We cover disability news in all parts of Canada. In fact, we’ve been covering a lot about the BC since the BC Disability Consultation Report was just released. We welcome comments from all Canadians because we believe balanced conversations will benefit the entire disability community of Canada. Since health issues are both federal and provincial concerns, we need to hear from people in every province. Are social service waiting lists long in your neck of the woods?

My husband had to have decompression surgery he had pressure on his lower back (c4 and c5) also had to put 2 rods in his neck and 2 screws( due to nerve damage) and he limps (limped prior to surgery) we applied for a handicapped sticker and right away received one. We applied for disability tax credit and we were approved, my husband is still able to work. Our question is , Is there anything else we should apply for?

cecilia laceese
July 28, 2014 3:36 pm

i was told because i live on reserve i m not eligible for this

joseph p costa
July 31, 2014 7:29 pm

I spent a decade applying for ODSP with no success until 2009; one wonders what is wrong with the system or with people? Has compassion been completely discarded? Just because a person does not have a distinct visible disability does not mean that person is not disabled; from my own experience i have lost faith in mankind. I really do pray i never become dependand on anyone; especially these days, people seem to be getting colder.

joepsh richard doucet
August 15, 2014 10:28 pm

i believe the conservatives and made so many cutbacks and regulations that it made it harder for It is my belief that all Canadians will benefit from a broader, more effective approach to transparency and accountability that does not unduly single out a particular group. Read my Op-Ed to learn how a Liberal government will support First Nations accountability.

Justin Trudeau on fairness and transparency in Canada’s First Nations
Liberal Party of Canada categorically supports greater transparency and…
to get the proper help they need. the liberals well are more liberal with social programs and we need to find out who will help us more and i believe the liberals will give people on disability

As far as I’m concerned the Conservative government is intentionally delaying any hearings etc. for one reason: if they wait long enough us disabled may not be alive and they won’t have to pay a dime! yet, we won’t be around to pay taxes either! Backwoods intelligence or what?

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