Outline of Ontario

In 2014, the Ontario government announced an additional $810 million in funding over three years for developmental services1. While this was welcome news to families and service providers, a number of concerns remain. Wait lists for services in Ontario are long and the funding may not be enough to eliminate them. The support system is also very fragmented, with supports delivered through four different ministries and virtually no support to help individuals with developmental disabilities transition between critical life stages such as youth to adult.

There have been two recent investigations looking into the crisis in Ontario:

  • The Ontario Ombudsmen released a report in August 2016, titled “Nowhere to Turn”, after a 4-year investigation into services for adults with developmental disabilities. The report notes: “The present demand for services far outstrips the supply, leaving thousands stranded on waiting lists.” The Ombudsmen produced 60 recommendations for reform. (The report was scheduled to be released in 2013 but was severely delayed due to the high number of complaints received2.)
  • The Ontario Select Committee on Developmental Services was formed in May 2013. The Committee’s interim report, released in March 2014, highlighted a number of issues raised during their consultation process: long waiting lists for services, poor support through transition stages and lengthy re-application processes, lack of client and family involvement in decision-making and lack of appropriate housing options3. The Committee’s final report, released in July 2014, is available here.


[1] Ministry of Finance. Government of Ontario. (2014, Apr 11). Eliminating Waitlists for Government Services [Press Release]. Available online http://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2014/04/eliminating-waitlists-for-developmental-services.html
[2] Reported the Hamilton Spectator on September 19, 2013 (“Dundas residents bid in Queen’s Park spotlight” by Teviah Moro. Available online http://www.thespec.com/news-story/4115769-dundas-residential-bid-in-queen-s-park-spotlight/
[3] Ontario Select Committee on Developmental Services. (2014). Interim Report. Available online http://www.ontla.on.ca/committee-proceedings/committee-reports/files_pdf/INTERIMREPORTENG-Final.pdf