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Opportunities and Action: Transforming Supports in Ontario for People Who Have a Developmental Disability (Government of Ontario, Ministry of Community and Social Services also known as Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2006) and Journey to Belonging: Choice and Inclusion Developmental Services Reform Framework (2021)

This document is gradually disappearing as a file that is available online, so we are preserving it here for the historical record. The 2006 Opportunities and Action: Transforming Supports in Ontario for People Who Have a Developmental Disability is of particular interest in the context of the 2021 document and Development Services Reform process known as Journey to Belonging: Choice and Inclusion.

See also “A Home That’s Right For Me” Valuing Choice, Evolving Individualized Residential Options: Summary Report of Policy Forums
Sponsored by the Ministry of Community and Social Services, 2009.

To pique your interest with exploring and comparing these policy announcements that are approximately 17 years apart (the 2006 Opportunities and Action document came as the result of a process that started in 2004, and this can be reasonably compared with the preliminary announcements of Journey to Belonging in 2021) here are some of the fundamentals from the two documents:

Opportunities and Change (2006)

Delivering on the transformation involves new ways of working in more effective partnerships. Together, it will support Ontario’s vision of full inclusion of people who have a developmental disability in all aspects of society and achieve the objectives of:

  • Independence, dignity and self-reliance for people who have a developmental disability
  • Strong families supported to care for their family members who have a disability with the help of strong communities
  • A fair and accessible system and
  • A sustainable community-based service system.

Our plan will:

  • Support continuous improvement in services for people by introducing a performance measurement approach across the province over the next two years
  • Help people better understand and choose quality services through a transparent quality framework
  • Promote healthy competition among providers and reward innovators

Journey to Belonging (2021)

  • People receive support based on their needs – Greater equity through individualized funding and budgets tied to people’s assessed needs.
  • Services build on the strengths of people and supports provided by families, support networks and communities – Supports complement services available in the community and are culturally appropriate to reflect the needs of Indigenous people, Francophones and diversity within our communities, while also reflecting regional differences across the province.
  • Supports are person-directed and flexible – People have more control over directing and managing their funding and supports.
  • Supports are proactive and responsive to people’s changing needs across the course of their lives – Greater focus on early intervention and prevention for people, with supports that are better integrated with other sectors.
  • Services are driven by evidence, outcomes and continuous improvement – More emphasis on outcomes and quality services that are responsive to feedback from people using them.
  • Services and supports promote health, well-being and safety – Services promote positive health and wellness outcomes and a high quality and meaningful life experience. Supports help address systemic barriers (for example, discrimination, racism, ableism) that prevent people from accessing supports and fully participating in their communities.
  • System is sustainable – Improving the ability of developmental services to help people now and into the future.

These documents are not laid out in exactly the same way, but if you read them in their entirety, it is an objective conclusion that they are highly similar, and these leads to the key question: why will the journey commenced in 2021 actually produce movement in ways that the transformation that commenced in 2004 did not?