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OUR HISTORY

History of the Special Services at Home Provincial Coalition (SSAHPC) from 1982 - 2020

 

1982:

  • Phase I & II of SSAH Initiated.

 

1987:

  • More requests than funding available.

 

1989:

  • Liberal Minister John Sweeney announced expansion of the program to adults with a Developmental Disability and to children with a Physical Disability and added $10 million.  

 

1989:

  • Provincial Coalition on SSAH formed to advocate for “Sweeney’s Promise” (January). 

  • 6000 families using $14 million (January). 

  • Liberal Minister Charles Beer released new Program Guidelines and implements “Sweeney’s Promise”, the $10 million is to be phased in over 3 years (July).  

  • Process and content of new Guidelines completely unacceptable to the Provincial Coalition on SSAH.  

 

1990:

  • NDP elected. SSAH Provincial Reference Group established by MCSS with 3 subgroups to study guidelines, monitor the program and look at future issues.

  • SSAH PC presented Position Statement focused on 5 main issues:

1. That the Special Services At Home Program be considered a primary home support option for individuals and families in Ontario.

2. That the funding base of the Special Services At Home Program be expanded.

3. That an option for longer-term annualized commitments of home supports be provided.

4. That the Special Services At Home Program be expanded to cover other people with disabilities who have home and community support needs similar to those provided through the SSAH.

5. That the Special Services At Home Program ensure that families or Individuals be given the option of controlling the funds allocated under this Program for services to them.

1991:

  • New Guidelines released, a collaborative effort. 

 

1992:

  • MCSS commissioned an external evaluation of SSAH.

 

1993:

  • Ministry receives 26 recommendations (best practices) to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and to enhance the consistency of delivery of the program from the MCSS Reference Group/Stakeholders Group and are accepted by the Operations Branch of MCSS (May) (not implemented).

  • Results of external evaluation of SSAH provided (March).

  • MCSS Stakeholder Group tables a report on the future of SSAH for the consideration by MCSS Senior Management (October).

  • SSAH Family Alliance formed to lobby to double the amount of SSAH funding from $26 million to $52 million (November)

  • SSAH Family Alliance holds successful Fax Campaign throughout the province for lobby effort to increase funds to SSAH

  • NDP Minister Tony Silipo announced $2 million additional funding, and excluded SSAH from the expenditure control plan

  • $28 million SSAH for over 9000 families.

 

1994:

  • MCSS SSAH Reference for SSAH Group (made of stakeholders) met with new Director of Developmental Services, Brian Lowe to discuss implementation of the October 1993 Report on the future of SSAH.

  • Ministry disbanded the MCSS Reference Group (to date, no action).

  • SSAH Family Alliance presents two briefs to MCSS:

    • “9000 Families Can’t Be Wrong” (April).

    • “Families Do It Better” (July).

  • Families meet with Minister Silipo (July 7, 1994).

 

1995:

  • Minister Tony Silipo announced $6 million more to SSAH; the program already served 10,000 families with $31 million (press release MCSS January 31, 1995) which meant the total SSAH budget $37 million.

  • MCSS responded to recommendations with improvements – portability to move from one community to another within Ontario, a review and revision of appeal process to ensure fairness & equity along with a timely decision and allowed families administer their own contracts.

  • MCSS provides breakdown of Special Needs Program Funding which included:

  • SSAH Phase I      1995/96 Total Allocation   $ 36,764 million.

  • Expenditure $ 36,911 million.

  • 1996/97    Allocation $35.837 million.

  • PC government elected (September.)

 

1996:

  • Ministry Directive June 12, 1996 - reapplications will not be guaranteed at the level of support previously approved. - SSAH will be time limited as it was originally intended. Family Alliance raised concern over these issues at the Minister’s Advisory Committee.

 

1997:

  • SSAH Strategy Sessions held at FAO annual conference April 26/97.

  • $36 million for 13,000 families receiving SSAH according to research from the Government Estimates Book (Winter 1997).

 

1998:

  • MCSS had not met with SSAH PC since 1995. SSAH PC participates in reviewing draft of new SSAH application; changes made to language, form structure, eliminated the need for supplementary information requests which families found very tedious (December).

 

1999:

  • MCSS under spent SSAH budget by $905,600 for fiscal year 1997/98.

  • Appeal to the Freedom of Information Commissioner, article The Compass, FAO newsletter (Spring 1999).

 

2000:

  • SSAH PC Met with Minister John Baird (December) presented.

  • Position Statement focused on 5 main issues:

1. That the Special Services At Home Program be considered a primary home support option for individuals and families in Ontario.

2. That the funding base of the Special Services At Home Program be expanded.

3. That an option for longer-term annualized commitments of home supports be provided.

4. That the Special Services At Home Program be expanded to cover other people with disabilities who have home and community support needs similar to those provided through the SSAH.

5. That the Special Services At Home Program ensure that families or Individuals be given the option of controlling the funds allocated under this Program for services to them.

 

2001:

  • SSAH program statistics received by SSAH PC. $56.4 million for 16,900 individuals Total Allocation  $59.1 for 2000/01 (October 2001).

  • Session At OACL Conference in Ottawa by SSAH PC, sharing stories, information and best practices (May).

  • Changes in Administration: SSAH divested from Southwestern Regional Center in the Southwest region. Local Community Group takes on the administration only of the SSAH program. Ministry retains approvals and allocation functions (October 2001).

  • SSAH PC takes part in “A Statement from Ontario Disability Organizations” asking the Ministry to allocate 25% of any new funding directly toward Individualized Funding arrangements.

  • MCFCS Minister announces new monies to SSAH along with announcement, agency/service revitalization dollars. Exact amount to the SSAH program is unknown as it is part of monies to day programming, and out-of-home respite care. (September).

  • $4.8 million added to SSAH (2001/2002).

 

2002:

  • SSAH PC makes Presentation to Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs highlighting the fact that there was $ 25 million more requested than funded (March 6).

  • Postcard Campaign to the Premier to increase the funding by at least $25 million to SSAH and to make it a First Choice option (Spring/Summer).

  • SSAH Actual 2001/02 year $61M for 18,500 individuals.

 

2003:

  • Families from Windsor Essex Family Network  met with Peter Steckenreiter SW Director at the government’s request to share what families want and need from SSAH (January).

  • Letter to SSAH PC from Cynthia Lees, A.D.M. for MCFCS (February 27):

  • Total SSAH funds $66M for 17,200 individuals.

  • That there are 1032 families/individuals on waiting list 

  • Families from Thunder Bay Family Network present petitions to Michel Gravelle, their local M.P.P. for presentation in the legislature (May).

  • SSAH PC meeting with ADM Andrea Maurice & Myra Wiener, Director of Developmental Disabilities and present Position Statement focused on 5 main issues:

1. A First Choice Program: That the Special Services At Home Program be considered a primary home support option for individuals and families in Ontario.

2. Enhanced Funding $25 million more: That the funding base of the Special Services At Home Program be expanded

3. Refinement and Streamlining Application Process: That an option for longer-term annualized commitments of home supports be provided; move to a 3-5 year application process; change from deficit language.

4. Disabilities are Lifelong: Funding mobility – when individuals move out of the family home; SSAH transition to IF; that SSAH be expanded to cover other people with disabilities who have home and community support needs similar to those provided through the SSAH.

5. It’s time for a substantive review of the SSAH Program: It’s time for the Ministry to do a substantive review of the SSAH Program – and time for a broad based stakeholder consultation process – hearing other voices from families and individuals, beyond the ones normally heard through regional offices.  Make sure that the ministry acts on recommendations – not like the inaction of 1993.

  • Families from Sarnia-Lambton Family Network hold information meeting re: Father's Day Fax Campaign and SSAH cutbacks to local families (June).

  • Families all over Ontario send faxes and letters of support to SSAH PC.

  • Father’s Day Fax campaign to Minister Brenda Elliott (June 10-15).

  • OFFICIAL launch of SSAHPC web site Sept 15, 2003. The SSAH program serves 18,500 individuals and families.

 

2004:  

  • Developed the Bill of Rights for Families who use SSAH in consultation with Family Alliance Ontario.

 

2005:  

  • Received a grant from the Regal Foundation /CACL to carry out "Kitchen Table Talks in London, Toronto and Ottawa

  • Over 2000 Families on the wait list for SSAH Support.

 

2006:  

  • $ 12 M funding added to SSAH . Many families who have long waited finally have received some SSAH support.

 

2007:

  • Co chair and 2 members of the SSAHPC working committee met with Minister Meilleur.

  • The Co Chairs, Beth French and Alison Ouellette received the Family Alliance Ontario Leadership Awards at the Family Alliance Ontario's annual conference April 28, 2007.

  • May 2007 - $3 M added to the SSAH program.

 

2008:

  • SSAHPC releases Position Paper, “ Keep it Simple, Keep it Flexible; 27,000 Families Deserve the Best”    January 17, 2008.

 

2009:

  • $99 M serves 28,637 families with SSAH support.

  • Families meet with the ADM, Alex Bezzina regarding the new protocols initiated in April 2009; SSAHPC believe these are UNFAIR to families.

  • Wait list climbs to 4000 families; families requesting enhanced respite are even on Wait lists!

 

2011

  • SSAHPC expands mandate to include Passport Funding advocacy.

  • name changes to Special Services at Home Passport Provincial Coalition.

 

2012

  • SSAH Guidelines were revised by MCSS with the following Service Principles which inform and guide developmental services programs:

• Integration into communities and participation in community life.

• Independence - supports that encourage greater independence.

• Individualization - supports that meet individual capabilities and enhance choice and self-direction.

• Quality of life - individuals who are valued for who they are and the role they can play in the community. 

  • June 2012 SSAHPC published a Position Paper titledSocial Exclusion ? - How Governments are failing Persons with Developmental Disabilities". 

  • According to the Auditor General’s Report, March 2011, almost 10,000 people are on the wait list.  All these families, found eligible for SSAH funding, but receive none at all. 2,500 adults received Passport funding as of March 2010 but there were 4000 adults on the wait list for Passport – all found eligible, but receive none.

  • April 2012……..People are cut off SSAH as of their 18th birthday and have to apply to Passport of which there is a wait list.

 

2013

  • July 2013 …still 4000 on Passport wait list.  We send a letter to Minister McMeekin to request statistics and a meeting.

 

2014

  • May 2014, write the Minister McMeekin again requesting statistics and to express our shock at the new MCSS Guide for Hiring Support Works which implies that people should use their ODSP to pay their support workers for day to day activities.

  • October 2014 Passport Guidelines were introduced.

 

2015

  • 18,000 families use SSAH.  SSAH budget $52M.  This statistic after adults are moved to Passport program funding. The average SSAH contract was approx. $2,889.

  • MCSS Budget for Developmental Services was $2 B.

  • From the Ombudsman Report :

    • Long-term care homes have also become providers of institutional care to adults with developmental disabilities, despite the fact that such settings can be wholly unsuitable.

  

2016

  • Beth French, our friend and advocate with SSAHPC, passed away in February. She co chaired and supported the SSAHPC since 2001 . Her leadership and wisdom will be sorely missed.

  • 42,000 adults in Ontario receiving developmental services and supports.  Of these people, 19,000 receive Passport funding in 2015/2016.  As of March 2016, there are 14,800 people on the wait list for Passport, many receiving no support whatsoever.

 

 2017

  • May 2017, there are 24,000 people now receiving Passport according to Minister Jaczek.

  • There are 11,000 waiting for Passport funding, with no guarantee it will ever come.

  • The Minister of Community and Social Services replied: "in terms of the Passport waiting list, what we do is we ensure that priority cases receive Passport funding first. They’re prioritized very carefully according to their unique needs and their risk factors. Individuals with the highest need receive funding in as little as seven days, with about 75% receiving funding within six months." The Minister also said: "We are proposing some $677 million in addition to the $2.1 billion we already provide."

 

2018

  • January 2018, we write MCSS to ask for their help by addressing the grave injustice that Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, has brought to families self-administering Passport funding, SSAH funding and Individualized Funding in Ontario.

  • DSO budget 2018/19 -  $1.35 billion in Developmental Services which serves 41,000 people and $ 450 million in ODSP budget.

 

2019

  • June 2019, around a kitchen table a core group of families- long time advocates  met to revive SSAHPC and form a new group with everyday life as their foundation for the Vision and Values of the new group.

  • The new name of the group to be called People for Personalized Funding.