Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs
Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs

LETTER TO SUE DOLAN

Letter to OASIS President, Sue Dolan, from MCSS Deputy Minister J. Fleming
August 16, 2001

Re: Homes for Retarded Persons Repeal Act, 2001

“The Homes for Retarded Persons Repeal Act, 2001 was passed by the Legislature on June 28, 2001 with unanimous consent and received Royal Assent on June 29th. The Act will come in to force on a date to be named by proclamation.

Ministry staff are currently reviewing the Developmental Services Act (DSA) regulation to ensure that it continues to contain the necessary provisions to protect the health, safety and personal well-being of people with developmental disabilities living in group homes. I appareciate your offer of assistance and can assure you that we will be consulting with you and other stakeholders on the draft regulation. The Homes for Retarded Persons Repeal Act, 2001 will not come into effect before the regulation is finalized.”

TO: OASIS Member Agencies
FROM: Sue Dolan
RE: Announcement from Minister Baird
DATE: December 3, 2001

The following is for your information.

November 30, 2001 LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR PROCLAIMS HISTORIC LEGISLATION FOR PEOPLE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES TORONTO

Lieutenant Governor Hilary Weston, joined by Community and Social Services Minister John Baird, today signed the proclamation to repeal the Homes for Retarded Persons Act (HRPA).

The signing ceremony was held at the annual Federation Day conference hosted by the Ontario Association for Community Living (OACL). “Just as the Association for Community Living has brought persons with developmental disabilities out of institutions and into the midst of community life,” said Mrs. Weston, “I am pleased to have been invited here today to proclaim new legislation at a community event outside Queen’s Park for the very first time.” By signing the proclamation, Bill 71, the Homes for Retarded Persons Repeal Act, becomes law. Bill 71 has changed the wording in more than 30 acts government-wide to remove language that is outdated and offensive to people with developmental disabilities, their families, and their support workers. “Families and caregivers had continuously expressed to me that the act was inappropriate and demeaning,” said Baird. “As part of our commitment to people with developmental disabilities, we have updated laws to make them current, clearer, and more sensitive to the people they serve.” The HRPA was enacted in 1966 to regulate group homes for adults with developmental disabilities. Legislation to repeal the HRPA was introduced by Baird in June.

The important aspects of the HRPA to ensure the health, safety and personal well-being of people with developmental disabilities have been preserved in the Developmental Services Act which was enacted in 1974. “John Baird has demonstrated once again his strong, personal commitment to the developmental services sector,” said David Barber, president of the OACL.

“We’re especially grateful that the Minister and the government have recognized that the stigma of such outdated language and legislation was a significant barrier to people. This repeal law goes a long way toward ensuring that people with intellectual disabilities get the dignity and respect they deserve as full members of our society.” The Ontario government has recently made significant contributions to help,people with developmental disabilities. This year’s budget includes a multi-year plan of $55 million this year – growing to $197 million annually – to enhance services and attract more quality caregivers. This is the single largest investment Ontario has ever made in the developmental services sector. The province is also making an additional investment of $67 million over five years to build new places to live in the community for people with developmental disabilities.