22 July 2008
An electronic bulletin for adults who are vulnerable because of disability
and for their families, friends and supporters who care about them
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Please note that we (or OAARSN or the University of Guelph) do not necessarily endorse announcements or opinions that may be posted in this bulletin. We will make reasonable efforts to check sources.

More about this series of bulletins may be found at the end, including links to past bulletins.


Canada's Mental Health Crisis: Globe Special Report
"The mentally ill are not different; they are us. As a society, we have thrown off many of our social stigmas, but not yet those surrounding mental illness." One in five Canadians experience some form of mental illness during their lives.

Bill 77: a New
Ontario Act to Govern Developmental Services
How Goes the Transformation?

In mid-May 2008, the Minister of Community and Social Services introduced new legislation covering services and funding the Ontario Government may provide for persons with a developmental disability. The last full act on the subject was passed in 1974. One reason for the legislation is to wind up the Government’s direct management of “Schedule 1” facilities which are due to close within the next year.

The new act could also crown more than four years of consultation devoted to “transforming” Ontario’s system of developmental services, begun in May 2004 by the newly elected Liberal Government of Ontario. Various stakeholders--family members, persons with disabilities, volunteer members of supporting organizations, and staff of funded agencies--were involved. People who had been advocating more choice and control by those with disabilities have welcomed the Government’s initiative in opening up conversations about ways to improve Ontario’s supports and services. For once, there was intensive public discussion of the vision, values, principles and objectives of transforming developmental services, including citizenship, fairness and equity, accessibility and portability, safety and security, accountability and sustainability. In the Ministry’s words, the transformation agenda set out to achieve greater independence, dignity and self-reliance for individuals with a developmental disability, and offers more choice and flexibility for families and stimulates innovation and creativity.

During this process, the Ministry convened special advisory panels, invited submissions, and funded pilot projects of various kinds.
We have reported most phases of this process, including the partial implementation of some new initiatives such as Passports (created from 2006 to provide opportunities for individuals who have a developmental disability and who have left school to find more ways to participate in their communities”) and the Innovative Residential Model Initiative. Some changes are still being tested and others have yet to be evaluated. The following links may provide more information on the consultations and demonstration and pilot projects:

Opportunities and Action - Transforming Supports in Ontario for People who have a Developmental Disability (May 2006)
Spotlight on Transformation (A Developmental Services series of electronic bulletins from the Ministry of Community and Social Services: February 2007 to July 2008)

In introducing Bill 77, the Minister declared again that the new system would be "based on citizenship, fairness, accessibility, accountability and sustainability.” Click to read Bill 77, as submitted for first and second readings:
A “plain-language compendium” version of Bill 77 has also been produced, which may be found at this link:

We welcome the stated values and scope for more choice and control, as very appropriate for people we know who can be so vulnerable and are so different from one another. As John Lord said of one of our adults with autism in 1998: “The more complex the needs, the more individualized the supports must be.”  You might study another of John's statements, distilling the essence of the "New Story," to see how well Bill 77 measures up. Click on New Story Principles

However, a close reading of Bill 77 leaves us puzzled and disappointed that so little of the vision and values of the transformation language and strategies are reflected in the legislation as drafted. Here are some of the points that concern us.

The title could better describe the goals of changes in the legislation. So could a preamble that might refer to the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as part of its commitment to realizing universal human rights for all, which Canada signed earlier this year (but has not yet ratified).

The draft act allows for a “direct funding” option, more or less as advocated by the Individualized Funding Coalition of Ontario for at least ten years. But to be effective, this option needs some other supports that are not mentioned in Bill 77. One is recognition of the legal capacity of a person with a developmental disability, together with close family supporters as needed, to make a direct funding agreement and direct how funds will be used. People who choose to direct the use of their funds also need access to independent planning and facilitation, as well as support with human resources and administration of the funds. Funding allowances for individuals who choose to self-direct would have to be equivalent to levels approved for staff in agencies.

A prominent new feature in Bill 77 is its detailed provision for application centres in each region, to be funded but not directly administered by Government. The functions of these centres are all-encompassing, ranging from determining the eligibility of any persons with a developmental disability to receive funded services and supports, providing information about how to find such resources, and decisions about to whom and how much funds should be granted, to monitoring and accountability. We suspect that such centres are not likely to be really helpful to persons who choose direct funding, as the staff cannot be independent of other pressures and interests to be able to working for and with each person with a disability. There is concern also that funding the application centres will be at the expense of supports and services to people who need them. An associated concern is the official sanction of waiting lists, as it is assumed there will always be a greater demand that the Government has funds available.

The bill gives Ministry officials quite sweeping powers to enter homes or take over service agencies, but it lacks any mechanism to protect vulnerable individuals who may suffer the consequences of the actions of others or who may want to speak up for their rights.

While some provisions are spelled out in detail, a good many topics and functions are left to be decided later by senior administrators of the Developmental Services Branch and to be implemented through regulations. We are concerned that there should be consultation on the scope and likely effects of these future regulations.

What can we do now?
Various groups have developed responses to Bill 77, including Community Living Ontario and a Province-wide Ad Hoc group convened by Judith McGill of Families for a Secure Future. We hope to provide links to these and other responses. FSF is hosting an information night in Guelph on Thursday, 24 July on Bill 77. Anyone interested should email Joanna Goode for details:
It is possible to submit comments and concerns to Hearings of the Standing Committee on Social Policy in early August (at four different locations, including Ottawa, Toronto and London), or to send your written submission to the Clerk of the Standing Committee on Social Policy by August 12. The Clerk’s address: Room 1405, Whitney Block, Queen's Park, Toronto, ON M7A 1A2.



Please send submissions for this news bulletin or for the OAARSN Calendar and Bulletin Board in plain text format by email to with "announcement" at the beginning of the subject line.
Please provide details of the following as BRIEFLY as possible: 
Name of Event
 Main Speakers and Topics of Event 
 Date of Event 
 City and Location of Event
 Contact information to learn more about event
 URL Link for more information/registration 

 Please Do Not Send Files Or Brochure Attachments


Announcing Series of Events

Fall 2008, between October 18 and November 29, in Oshawa
Compassion in Action: Open Mind, Open Heart, Skilful Means
an 8-part introductory seminar series in compassionate practices with Felicia Jervis.
THE HEART OF THE MATTER: Some children and adults express themselves through actions that are at times difficult to understand and support safely. These actions may include: occasional withdrawal or aggressive acts towards self, others and property. These actions must be understood not as challenging behaviors that need to be controlled or eliminated, but rather as communicative acts that often speak of the pain of humiliation and rejection, and a yearning to belong....
Click for full brochure and how to register in the workshop series

Click to read "When children hurt themselves"
by Felicia Jervis in BLOOM magazine on the Bloorview website

Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) Workshops & Seminars

Within BC or online.
To help you in planning a safe and secure future for your relative with a disability, PLAN offers a variety of seminars and workshops on topics of interest to families. For a list of upcoming events, go to PLAN's website:

Read PLANfacts for Spring 2008
Leading article on "The RDSP: Opening doors to our dreams" illustrating how the new RDSP would help several sample people and families in British Columbia, where the provincial government is allowing people to have the RDSP on top of basic disability payments.

Would the new RDSP work for you?
Visit PLAN's special site to try the new RDSP Calculator (Version 1.0). Enter the appropriate data for your family and see the growth of the plan, the value of future payments and a summary of contributions.


Announcing Individual Events

"ISAAC 2008 - The 13th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication"
August 2 to 7, Montreal, QC
The conference theme is Leadership. Individuals who use AAC for their daily communication have increasingly taken on leadership roles in many different ways. Examples of leadership will be showcased as part of the 2008 conference program. 2008 is the 25th anniversary of ISAAC. They will be celebrating the history of ISAAC and AAC, which has changed enormously in the last 25 years, and will continue to evolve in the future. For more info visit .

September 4-7, 2008

US Autism & Asperger Association presents
2008 International Conference in San Antonio, Texas
featuring Paul Shattock and Doris Rapp
Conference Theme: Treating Autism as a Medical Disorder:
Bringing Biomedical Treatments and Behavioral & Developmental Therapies Together

Click for overview and early registration

October 22, 23, 24, 2008, in Toronto
Autism 2008 – Geneva Centre for Autism International Symposium
The Symposium will provide a cross-section of perspectives on the most recent research and information on evidenced based best  practice.  All topics of importance to autism intervention will be addressed including bio-medical and neurobiological research, ABA, intervention, social skills, behaviour, communication, first-hand accounts, Asperger’s Disorder, and more.  Featuring speakers from Canada, U.S., Great Britain, and Australia.  For registration information, visit or contact Eva Finna at or 416-504-4500 ext. 208.

November 10, 2008, in Toronto

Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services,
Employer Outreach Secretariat:
Symposium on Disability and Employment

Contact: Tim Hilliard


3rd Floor, Hepburn Block

80 Grosvenor Street

Toronto, Ontario M7A 1E9

Tel: (416) 325-5352

FAX: (416) 212-4704


Employer Outreach Secretariat contacts:



Special Services At Home Provincial Coalition
Check out all this website's resources, including the March 2008 First Choice Newsletter.

Visit the new MukiBaum Treatment Centres website

"MukiBaum Treatment Centres is a treatment organization devoted to providing compassionate services for children, adolescents and adults, who have dual diagnosis, to allow them to lead a life filled with dignity and integrity.
We use in-depth individualized humanistic treatment modalities, which focus on the person as a whole and his/her strengths, abilities and needs." Note the many features of this organization.
Please also note the feature "Match Muki: if Muki can do it, so can you! Mukii  is the epitome of ability beyond disability. Born with Cerebral Palsy and deafness, Muki has single-handily raised more than $450,000, dollar by dollar, over the last 20 years for people with complex disabilities."

We are often asked for help in finding professionals who can assess disabilities, and thus are glad to know of this professional organization, whose members are distributed around Ontario.
of Psychologists in Disability Assessment

The website description is as follows:

CAPDA is an organization of senior psychologists who practise primarily in the areas of psychological or neuropsychological assessment of disability and impairment.

There are strict requirements for membership and all members are bound by comprehensive standards which guide their practice and outline their obligations to the individual assessed and to the referral source.
The intent of the website is to promote the great resources within Waterloo Region and to make the information concerning those resources within the Community Connections booklet more accessible. This website is the first step in creating a unique resource for the Region of Waterloo for those living, working or supporting someone with a disability. It offers an easy way to search for options and make decisions about programs that may meet needs and interests.

The new website was released in May 2008. What is it?
A bilingual online directory with authoritative information about more than 56,000 community, social, health and related government services and programs in Ontario
    • Location, keyword, subject and advanced searching available

    • Sophisticated mapping interface
    • Proximity searching finds the service closest to the user
    • French language interface for Francophones in Ontario  
A regularly verified and updated database of information collected by local community agencies
Access to accurate and timely information can empower people to successfully cope with life’s challenges and be productive, active and engaged.
Contact: Kathy Kelly | Project Manager | 416-392-4658 is funded through a strategic investment of $3M from Strengthening Our Partnerships, a program of the Ministry of Finance, with support from the Ministry of Community and Social Services. The 211 Ontario newcomer services partnership is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Ontario Region

Guide to Personal Care and Property for Adults with a Developmental Disability

Published by The Ontario Partnership on Aging and Developmental Disabilities, the guide provides information about: Substitute decision-makers, power of attorney for personal care, power of attorney for property, Guardianship, and Income and Taxation issues. The Guide can be accessed and downloaded at or ordered at a cost of $5.00 from: Ontario Partnership on Aging and Developmental Disabilities, C/O Toby and Henry Battle Developmental Centre, 927 Clark Ave, Thornhill, On L4J 8G6

A Place Called Home--second edition now available

Alison C. Ouellette is happy to announce the newly updated and revised second edition of “A Place Called Home”.  It describes the journey of the Ouellette family and their son David’s quest for an everyday life, and contains new stories of a life unfolding, photos and contributions by friends and family.
If you are interested in this new release, you can order copies through Alison’s or David’s web site. There is an order form there for you to download. or

Thinking creatively about new opportunities
for person-centred and self-directed lives..........

Strategies and formal agreements developed by
Services for the Autistic in its role as housing trust
GSA has functioned as a housing trust since 1997, its mission to help adults with "Autistic Disorder" to live in their own homes with dignity and safety, supported by family and friends--and with self-directed planning, individualized funding, and infrastructure services as needed. Other families and organizations, concerned with persons who have other special needs, are interested in following the paths pioneered by GSA, so we have compiled this 120-page guide to the various agreements and procedures, with some explanatory text.
A new resource that is valuable for anyone who is trying to direct their own person-centred life, and for their families and friends.  Please click on this link for the flyer




We know that some vulnerable adults and their families and caregivers are heroically using what resources they have to achieve some successes with their challenges. Some can report remarkable progress. We invite you to share your challenges, dreams and success stories, if you think others might help or benefit. If you wish, we will not publish your name or email address. You may send a message to


This bulletin is for everyone who is vulnerable because of any kind of disability, and for their families, friends and supporters. We can share dilemmas and difficulties as well as bright ideas and successes. There are announcements of events and special projects, discussions of issues and concerns, and links to useful books, websites and other resources. Our focus is mainly on Ontario, but we have wider contacts as well.

You are receiving this bulletin because you attended the Guelph Spring Conference on Creative Supports in April 2005 or expressed interest in resources coming out of that conference. Or you may have been a member of our PLN Listserv, for people concerned with Personal Support Networks. Or someone on the List has suggested that you could be interested. We hope you will continue on the Aroha Listserv, recommend it to others, and contribute news and ideas that we may share. Please click for a technical note on how to maintain your membership of the Aroha Listserv and how to unsubscribe if you wish.

Please send news, announcements and comments to We welcome news items, announcements of events, new information, discussion questions and comments, and accounts of experience.

The Aroha Listserv and Creative Supports Bulletin are linked to the OAARSN website (Ontario Adult Autism Research & Support Network) which is hosted at the University of Guelph. Click to reach OAARSN's main page

Gerald & Elizabeth Bloomfield
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
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