April 20, 2010
Hon. Madeleine Meilleur
Minister of Community and Social Services
Hepburn Block, 6th Floor
80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto ON M7A 1E9
The Ontario Human Rights Commission recently had an opportunity to review your Ministry’s draft regulation for application entities and service agencies that is being considered for enactment under the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008.
We agree that the quality assurance measures in the draft regulation reflect positive ways to support adults with a developmental disability. In particular, the requirement for service agencies and application entities to promote inclusion, individual choice and independence reflects important human rights principles.
While the groups we have heard from are generally supportive of the new legislative and regulatory direction, concerns and constructive recommendations have also come forward. The Commission is particularly supportive of the amendments to the draft regulation being proposed by the ARCH Disability Law Centre including:
- Requiring service agencies to develop human rights policies and procedures specific to the unique circumstances of people with developmental disabilities based on minimum rights and entitlements prescribed in the regulation. This would include the right to live free from discrimination, harassment, abuse and neglect, as well as freedom of choice regarding service decisions and activities of daily living
- Prescribing detailed requirements for agencies to establish complaint mechanisms in accordance with section 26 of the Act, as well as defining an external appeals mechanism
- Amending the definition of police record checks to avoid adverse effects on individuals with mental health issues who are in contact with police, as such contacts are not an accurate indicator of safety risk
- Requiring agencies to “fulfill to the maximum extent possible” rather than simply “consider” (as the draft regulation reads now) the needs, goals, preferences and choices of the individual
- Ensuring that service agencies respect individual privacy and dignity while monitoring the health concerns of peoples with intellectual disabilities
The OHRC recommends that prescribed minimum rights and entitlements also include the right to accommodation short of undue hardship, and apply to all protected grounds of discrimination including race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, disability or the receipt of public assistance.
The OHRC applauds the objectives of this draft regulation and we look forward to reviewing the next version. In the meantime, please contact me if you wish to discuss this matter further.
Barbara Hall, B.A, LL.B, Ph.D (hon.)