In November 2012, the Ontario Ombudsman announced an investigation into whether the Ministry of Community and Social Services is adequately responding to urgent situations involving adults with developmental disabilities, and whether it is doing enough to co-ordinate, monitor and facilitate access to services for them.
The Ombudsman’s Office, whose role has traditionally been to speak for those who cannot and to give ordinary citizens access to justice through independent, impartial investigations of government services, investigated many individual complaints on this issue. A steady rise in complaints –35 in 2010, 45 in 2011, and 64 in 2012, led to the current investigation.
Investigators have conducted interviews across the province – with adults who have an intellectual disability, their families, officials from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Developmental Services Ontario, and other stakeholders.
In December of 2012, in conjunction with Brampton/Caledon Community Living, Community Living Mississauga wrote to Ombudsman André Marin to express our outrage that for a fifth year in a row, the developmental services sector received no increase in funding from the provincial government. The lack of funding has resulted in growing wait lists, young adults graduating from the school system with little or no meaningful post-secondary opportunities, and families having to relinquish care for their sons and daughters because they can no longer cope.
Hundreds of new complaints from families of adults who have an intellectual disability who cannot find adequate supports or programs, poured in after the investigation was launched – there were more than 500 as of March 31, 2013 and that number climbed to well over ,1000 by the time this report was scheduled for publication late last year..
Due to the high number of complaints and the complexity of the issues, the Ombudsman’s report is not expected to be made public until mid-2014.
When the report is released, Community Living Mississauga will strongly urge our MPPs to act upon the Ombudsman’s recommendations through face-to-face meetings and various media outlets.
We will continue to provide updates on this matter as they become available.