January 23 2019
Mr. Randy Pettapiece, MPP
55 Lorne Ave. E
Stratford, Ontario N5A 6SA
Dear Mr. Pettapiece,
I have been given notice that Facile is going to lose their funding. I am not happy that I’m losing my independent facilitator. My life was mess when I first met Diane, my facilitator about 8 months ago. It’s hard describe back then and how difficult my life was.
Where will I go now? Having an independent facilitator has been a lifesaver because I have hope that didn’t have before. I feel listened to without judgement. Since I got involved with Facile, my ideas matter and my facilitator has helped me put these ideas into action;
Please help save this great service in our community. Other need this too and what a loss in my life and in other people’s lives including many many families in Perth County.
Our son is a client of Independant Facilitation (IF), a service which is scheduled to be discontinued March 31, 2019..
We wish to provide our perspective as parents of the value of Independant facilitation, in three ways:
- our sons Darryl's journey to live semi-independently in his own apartment;
- comment on the "Evaluation of the Independant Facilitation Demonstration Project" by Power Analysis Inc conducted for the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS), dated September 2016; and
- Our Conclusions and Recommendations
Darryl is a 32 yearly man with intellectual disabilities. In August 2017 he was living at home when we received from Renfrew Housing Corporation the offer of an apartment. While we had been preparing for this for along time, the reality that it was actually going to happen was a huge shock to Darryl, mom and dad. We than received a call from Ruth Ann to inform us that she had been assigned to be Darryl's Independant Facilitator, good fortune and luck were definitely on our side. Ruth Ann initially concentrated on getting to know the three of us and what our dreams, concerns and fears were, In particular she focused on developing a bond of trust and understanding with Darryl so that she could be an effective advocate for him. Ruth Ann assisted us with the practical tasks of finding and hiring case workers, signing a lease agreement. Her biggest contribution however was on the personal support side of ensuring Darryl could express what he was experiencing and his needs, she for example helped us prepare picture board calendars which Darryl could refer to to determine "what do I do next", and "how do I leave my apartment in a secure state". In addition she assisted us to set up "Darryl's Support Network " she prepared agendas, chaired the meeting on Darryl's behalf, and prepared minutes, a most successful endeavour. Ruth Ann also serves as our primary communication conduit into the world of the intellectually disabled organizations, we are not members of Larch or Community Living. We participated in the Safe and Secure Book Club which Ruth Ann organized for her clients, as a result we subsequently established Wills, Henson Trusts and Powers of Attorney, all important steps in securing Darryl's future.
Did Ruth Ann make a difference for Darryl and our family? A resounding YES!
Please note as life changes at some point in the future Ruth Ann will be of great value to deal with those challenges. The need for IF is an ebb and flow scenario.
Comments on the Evaluation of the Independant Facilitation Demonstration Project
A parents perspective of this report as detailed in the executive summary:
- no actual clients or their families were consulted to provide the concrete benefits as detailed in Darryl's story or other being submitted by Independant Facilitation Matters Coalition. Bureaucrats and service providers were the only people interviewed.
- hiring and training IF personnel understandably was a major challenge for the first few years, the good news a reasonably mature IF network now exists;
- the DSO client referral process does not filter clients to see if they actually require IF, it is simply who is next on the list based on seniority. The original program design was to include screening processes but DSO refused to do this. The Evaluators were correct when they noted "this eliminates the most appropriate referrals: those currently transitioning from child to adult service".
- another key consideration when referring a client for IF is do they have the Passport Funding or financial ability to achieve their objectives.
- The Evaluator raise the question "What is IF?" My response is IF is flexible enough to provide individuals the supports required whether it is for housing, employment, socializing or a variety of other important needs. It is client needs driven, todays challenge may be moving into an apartment, in a few years the challenge may be dealing with the passing of your parents.
- The Evaluator correctly notes that the IF spends more time in the planning phase and less as the person transitions into the action phase. As a parent my key observation is if you have no "planning or dreaming phase" you will never know what potential you missed to improve your life. A key part of IF is thinking out of the box to look at possibilities.
- Recommendation 5 addresses the issue of offering group work in addition to individual focused work. Our experience both are of value, economies of scale can be achieved via the Safe and Secure book club and family retreats to introduce relevant topics such as RDSP, Wills, Henson Trusts, employment. It also provides families an opportunity to share experiences with others in a similar situation to dream and grow.
Conclusion and Recommendations
IF is a most valuable service, it has the flexibility to address the needs of the specific individual in the appropriate timeframe. That is difficult to quantify, the proof is the difference it makes for individuals such as our son Darryl and his family.
IF assists families to effectively utilize scarce Passport Funds. Utilizing Passport funds to hire IF services is a nonstarter, as the funds are required for ongoing daily supports.
IF was a complex project to implement, the hiring and training curve was immense, it is now approaching a more mature status. There are obvious problems such as the DSO client referral service which needs to fine tuned.
- IF be continued on a permanent basis, failing that it receive at least a 2 year extension.
- Conduct another evaluation with the focus on how IF benefits clients and their families.
Thank you for your consideration, it would be our pleasure to provide any further clarification required.
Lorne and Gail Clark
5843 Loggers Way
by Wendy Newbery and Doug Allgeier
We have learned that the Ontario Government is unlikely to fund the infrastructure to keep Independent Facilitation growing in the province. This is a huge and costly mistake for vulnerable youth and adults. Our daughter, Evie is one of the people who relies on her Independent Facilitators to build a life that works for her.
Evie is 26 years old and has always been our “square peg” because she has rarely fit into the round hole of school, group activities, community. She was never able to attend school full time, struggles with social gatherings of more than a few people, and needs careful planning to try new activities. While we dream of a community where she feels like she belongs, finding ways for her to engage has been stressful and at times traumatizing for her and for us.
Our Independent Facilitators brought hope, encouragement and change to our lives when Evie graduated from high school to community seven years ago. We work with two Independent Facilitators who have helped Evie to build and nurture a network of committed and supportive friends, plan for time with her precious boyfriend, find places she loves to go and things she loves to do in her community, and hire and train workers. They have supported and amplified her adult voice and facilitated the growth of her self advocacy skills.
In a broader sense, our Independent Facilitators have helped the community around Evie carve out spaces where her “square peg” fits, where she is valued and where she can build a safe and secure future.
When vulnerable people are supported in this way, they are less likely to lean heavily on the costly mental health and medical systems. In addition, senior parents like us also feel better supported in our care-giving and we are less likely to need additional costly supports. Ontario needs to make space for the practice of Independent Facilitation to grow and flourish – it makes good sense.
My name is Nicholas Cleroux from Ottawa, ON and my supporting Independent Facilitator is Manon Leblond-Leduc.
The Independent Facilitation support has provided crucial assistance to my family providing guidance in the complexity of the system and answering all our questions in a clear professional manner. Due to the various programs available, my family was ensured that assistance was provided when required even when it was not evident that it existed and/or apply.
Having an independent facilitator supporting my family has provided us with the confidence that my personal needs are fully met and without any prejudice or stress. The experience in my facilitator has proven a great asset at becoming more independent from my family and helping me become more confident. Knowing that I can reach out and count on her removes an enormous amount of stress and anxiety off me and permits me to live a “normal” life outside my family which is something I would not be able to have or experience if it was not for this program.
My family and I are extremely happy that I can reach out to my facilitator and be able to obtain an unbiased opinion regarding life situations. I often feel anxious and suffer from severe stress when faced with difficult situations, and I feel comfortable now with my facilitator and can discuss personal issues when faced with them and this is something I cannot do with family.
My family are very satisfied with the program as it provides me with confidence and independence. They oversee matters as required and have noticed significant changes on how I deal with issues. This program has permitted my family the ability to see my developments, changes in my confidence and attitude in life in general and this is something that would not be possible without this specific program. As parents, they tell me that someday they will no longer be there and that this program provides the necessary tools and guidance required in preparing me to cope on my own.
Having a younger brother, if this program would have existed earlier, would have given my parents more time to concentrate on him even though he didn’t have a disability. Valuable time that many parents face when trying to cope with a family where one child has a disability. They are forced to divide their time unequally amongst their children in order to help the one child leaving others aside unintentionally.
What has concretely changed in Nicholas’ life is the noticeable increase in independence and confidence which has facilitated his sharing of thoughts and emotions with his worker and spreading through all aspects of his life both personally and professionally.
My son’s support through this program has reflected on all aspects of his life including but not limited to his work, volunteer programs and leisure activities. As an employee, Nicholas has learned that inappropriate comments to other co-workers and supervisors were not always acceptable. Through coaching and discussions with his facilitator, Nicholas has learned when and how to discuss sensitive issues and how to address them when speaking with a supervisor. With the growth of confidence, this was easier for him as positive feedback was provided therefore growing in other aspects of his life. As a continued volunteer with the Ottawa Mission, Nicholas gives his time with the less fortunate helping in food preparation, serving and dishwashing two to three times a month. This has proven to be a great reward and something that would have been impossible without the encouragement of his facilitator.
In addition, Nicholas remains in a long term relationship and is very happy even though at times faced with difficult situation, he reaches out to his facilitator when he is unable to deal with situations and where family are unable to do so. Nicholas even with great difficulty in eye hand coordination has joined a dart league and has been an accepted active member for the past few years not missing a game. He is enjoying an activity like all should with his maternal grandfather. His league is aware of his limitations and have no issues with picking him for their team and coaching him as the season unfolds. His confidence and growth as a young man has increased tremendously with the program. The expertise and knowledge of Manon Leblond-Leduc was crucial to his development and confidence which we didn’t believe was possible.
The obstacles my Independent Facilitator helped me overcome as mentioned above are, confidence in myself and being able to open up to her extending to members of my family and girlfriend on personal issues and knowing Manon would be able to help me without feeling judged or embarrassed. Manon has shown me that being different is not a bad thing and that other people are like me. Without this program I would have never been able to achieve everything that I have so far. The program also partnered me with a friend with same interests and monthly we go out for dinner and a game of pool on occasion.
This program has helped me think differently about how people see me and understand how we are all different in our own way. My facilitator has always taken the time without making me feel important and not a bother. She has always listened to me with regards to my feelings of insecurities and worries and has always provided me with advice on how to handle the situation which I would do without hesitation because I knew it would be work.
The Independent Facilitation program is different from any other support/service my family or I have ever encountered in the past because of their resources and knowledge available to them.
The importance for MCCSS to provide secure and adequate funding to Independent Facilitation Organizations after March 2019 is essential to ensure the independence of young adults preparing them for the future. The investment provided today will provide the information and knowledge to become active members of the community and not rely on the system in the future.
It is critical for other families across the province to have the kind of support that I have had as I have never had such great support. The knowledge transferred with my facilitator has relieved other programs for other types of support required for many. This program is crucial to help young adults like myself be more independent without relying on family and obtaining the necessary coaching on life and work skills to help continually grow.
Dear Lindsey Park:
We are writing to voice our concerns about the provincial government’s decision to cancel funding for Independent Planning Facilitators.
We live on Ambleside Drive on Scugog Island and voted for you in the last election. Our 22 year old daughter Cristina was diagnosed early with a speech and language disability, epilepsy, and a developmental disability. Thankfully she was a candidate for brain surgery at Sick Kids and the surgery was a success and she is now seizure free. After High School she gradually withdrew and became depressed and suicidal. We reached out to get Cristina help and she saw councillors at Frontenac, Lakeridge Oshawa Psychology Outpatient services, Catholic Family Services, Durham Family Counselling in Uxbridge, Community Living Durham North. None of these people were able to help Cristina and she was getting more depressed. From Aug 2017 to Mar 2018 she spent a total of 15 weeks in Lakeridge Oshawa and Ontario Shores…. How much would that have cost?
Through DSO we were connected with Darlene Douma , an independent facilitator from “Families for a Secure Future”. She took the time to get to know Cristina (not easy) and was able to build trust with her. She worked with her on her goals and dreams. She found her 2 jobs in areas that Cristina was interested in. She took the time to talk to the employer, she coached Cristina on interview skills, then she job shadowed her until she felt comfortable. Periodically, she would check back with the employer to see how she was doing.
Darlene came to us last Aug when her Mgr. Judith McGill asked Darlene if she had any clients that would like to share a 2-bedroom apartment in Whitby with a woman that she had been working with for 10 years. It was a slow process. The girls came to our house and went out on the kayaks, had a few dinners together. Cristina moved in Nov. 1, 2018. We will have follow up meetings with the girls , Darlene and Judith and both sets of parents regularly to smooth out any problems that might arise. Darlene helped Cristina land a job doing prep work in a restaurant which is what Cristina wanted. She job shadowed her again and Cristina loves her job. Cristina learned the bus system quickly. She is doing her own banking and ordering her medications. She likes to eat healthy. She looks up recipes on the internet, researches ingredients online and walks or takes transit to shop for the ingredients.
Cristina has applied to Durham College in the Culinary Arts program starting next Sept. It is called the CICE program and they only take 20 students with developmental disabilities. We are not sure if she will get in, but Darlene is taking her to her interview Feb 4. Darlene really goes above and beyond to help these kids! Cristina has blossomed so much and is so happy now; we are so happy for her and us too.
During this time Craig was paralysed in hospital with Guillain- Barre Syndrome, which thankfully he recovered from. Anne went through a complicated knee replacement, after having 7 hip replacements previously. We were also dealing with our Son Andrew going through mental health issues at Ontario Shores and Waypoint Mental Health Hospital.
Having an independent facilitator like Darlene was a lifeline. We don’t know where we would all be now without her.
There are a lot of families like ours that have been helped by “Families for a Secure Future”.
Please help to get the funding restored for this program!
Craig and Anne Hucal
January 22, 2019
To whom it may concern,
I have been made aware that the ministry has decided to cut their funding province-wide, for independent facilitation services. I as a client, oppose this decision, not only for myself but for others, who require these services.
I moved here from St Catherines Ontario into unknown territories and did not know where or how to start to get connected with the services in this area. Previously I was connected with; March of Dimes, Mainstream, Community Living, Progressive Effectiveness Training Program and Home Care Services. In August of 2018, I receive a phone call from Developmental Services Ontario asking if I would be interested in being connected with Facile and meeting with Heather. Within four months of our first meeting I was connected with Brydon from Passport, a local doctor, Wingham and District Community Living, psychiatrist, and social worker. Every third Wed. of the month I go to a book club at my Public Library in Teeswater. I tried to take up drumming with the local pipe band, which didn’t work out.
My facilitator allowed time and showed empathy.
Without these services, I am going to be lost, confused and dangling off a thin thread.
Laura Lynn Bowden
My name is Karen Balind and I am writing this on behalf of my son, Dan. We live in Harrow.
We have been receiving support through an independent facilitator through Windsor-Essex brokerage for the past 5 years.
It has made a difference by helping us find strengths Dan had that we were not able to see. Seeds were planted to help him realize there were more opportunities for him. This was done through the personal support from Brokerage.
It has made our family life better because we have been given encouragement and we feel enlightened in ways we can empower Dan to be the best he can be. He feels he has the strength and confidence to do things he could not do before. This came through the facilitator talking and meeting with him one-on-one .
We need Brokerage to continue with Dan as he is now planning to move out on his own and looking for a place to,live. We need them to help Dan to grow more confident and realize that this journey not just a dream anymore....but is real.
Some of the obstacles we have had were finding Dan’s place in the community. He now works and volunteers and is a valuable member of our town! Brokerage was able to help us with all that as well as finding support workers to help Dan succeed.
brokerage has always been valuable to us answering questions and finding ways to overcome obstacles. They are always available, and find answers to any questions we may have.
If we don’t have brokerage we are unsure as to what will happen in Dan’s future. Will he move out on his own? Will he have the strength and confidence?
Dan has told us so many times.....I do not want to live in a group home! Please do not cut the funding for independent facilitators! People like Dan and so many others need to have the right to choose the life they want to,live!
Good afternoon Mr. Pettapiece,
I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the information my family has received about the project funding ending as of March 31, 2019 for Facile.
It is truly disturbing news to families such as mine in the community who have been blessed with such wonderful support from this organization to help us provide services for our family members with developmental disabilities.
My siblings and I have a brother in Stratford with a developmental delay. Although he has some support from Community Living, we were so very fortunate to have a support person from Facile assigned to Steve as well, and the time she has spent with Steve has helped him become a vital citizen in the community and made him feel more independent, and more importantly, helping his mental health status improve to provide him with a fuller life all around.
She has helped him gain employment, join groups, introducing him to wonderful people in the community and have so much more confidence.
Only one of our siblings is located in Stratford close to Steve and the rest of us are out of town and can only get to Steve as much as possible. Our parents are no longer able to be a part of his support group. It gives us much peace and appreciation to have Facile assisting us in such an important role!
Please do what ever possible to change this situation- we desperately need these organizations in the Community!
Thank you for your support.
Dear MCCSS Members of Government,
I would like to address the above subject of Independent Facilitation and the funding that had been granted under the previous government to the seven organizations under the umbrella of the (OIFN) Ontario Independent Facilitation Network.
I have a daughter who has autism and our family has been using the services of one of these seven OIFN organizations: Families for a Secure Future (FSF) in the Durham Region area. Independent Facilitation has been a God-send to us! This organization’s ‘personal approach’ and willingness to work to understand our family situation as a whole, and to set goals for my daughter to achieve what she likes to do has truly helped to create a sense of acceptance in society for her. She’s now making a contribution to community by way of being gainfully employed. She has two part-time jobs and one volunteer position. This would not have been possible without the support we have received.
Independent Facilitation has provided our family with encouragement and shown diligence in working toward a specific goal with perseverance and constant dedication. Independent Facilitation has been a win-win situation for everyone and should be available to anyone wanting it. Families should be enabled to request assistance from any of the OIFN organizations and not have to sit on a DSO wait-list. Many families whose children are still in school will need this assistance in the years to come. Families are going to need this form of support for issues that are cognitively/mentally/behaviourally challenging. This is a great service and a viable or ‘real results’ means for the Government to support families that is absolutely crucial to us!
Not everyone is able of pay for this service via a ‘fee-for-service’ model, in fact, most people can’t. I believe that ‘fee-for-service’ does not work as evidenced by the many reports/statistics that have been provided to the Ministry by the OIFN for due consideration. My family was one of the lucky ones that was able to access Independent Facilitation from the DSO (for a demonstration project) and the results have been amazing to say the least! Many families working with FSF and the other Ontario organizations providing Independent Facilitation have been blessed in knowing that our ‘disabled’ or ‘developmentally challenged’ young adults are now finding opportunities to flourish and be gainfully employed. They are not only enjoying their work, but paying taxes just like other citizens in our society!
Why would your Government cut off funding ($3 million or so) when the fact is, our young adult sons and daughters are actually working, paying taxes, and contributing back to society as a result of the assistance provided by Independent Facilitation. Independent Facilitation has helped people who are often cast aside and treated differently to feel and experience acceptance within society. Why take away something that is working?
It will always remain to be the responsibility and burden for parents to bare, knowing that in these times of medical and technological advances, that our children will most likely outlive us! The fear of knowing what our daughter’s life will be like when we are not longer alive is a constant stress. Independent Facilitation should be ‘government funded’ so that the individuals and families served can continue to be supported and guided in preparation for ONGOING life changes and for what matters most, not only to us and our daughter, but also for those who will need these services in the future. Although Passport 1, and ODSP help with our daughter’s finances for the needs of everyday living we need Independent Facilitation so that she can have a real life in community! It’s rare that you can find an organization like those under the OIFN, that actually makes a difference in the lives of those they serve! You cannot put a value on it!
To us, as parents of a daughter with a developmental disability and to other parents in our same situation this service is so needed and appreciated. I understand that approximately 1,400 families across Ontario are using the services of Independent Facilitation and that the funds consumed are a minuscule amount of the overall MCCSS budget! My earnest request from my family and on behalf of others families who have been rewarded in so many different ways from using this government funded assistance is that you will re-think the intention to cancel Independent Facilitation and re-evaluate and renew it.
Thank you for reading,
Parent from Durham Region
Our daughter has been non-verbal for 22 years. This has led to behaviour issues and frustrations due her ability not to express hers wants and needs. As a result of Independent Facilitation especially Erin at Citizen Advocacy; our daughter was introduced to an app called Proloque2go. Erin went above and beyond not only to train our daughter but as well the group home staff on how to use the product..
Our daughter standard of living has increased as a result of being able to express her emotions and needs through the tablet and proloque2go.
During dire situations, Erin facilitated desperate respite for us; if if wasn’t for Independent Facilitation and Citizen Advocacy we would be at a loss.
This organization has been crucial to our daughter’s daily living asa well as ours. It would be a great loss to the special needs community to see this organization disappear.
I have a 44 year old daughter, with mild developmental issues. associated with this are ADD, OCD, and significant learning disabilities, all this has led to bouts of depression, poor self esteem and fear of her future.
The 2 plus years of Facilitation have been very helpful, in a positive way. The presence of another adult in my daughters life who has confirmed faith in positive qualities and a sense of areas in her life to look forward to. As her (single) parent . I of course try to endorse positive aspects, but her tendency to negative thinking leads her to place me in a non credible category, simply because I am her parent. .
Since it has taken time for her to place value on this relationship, it would be disastrous if this relationship is abruptly terminated due to lack of funding. I also want to emphasize how important the relationship of an independent facilitator is to me as an elderly parent.
Not having to look for all the answers on my own, being able to share some of my care and worries with another knowledgeable person means a lot to me.
Being myself a retired family physician with experience of many patients in my practice in similar situations, who often did not have adequate support systems, I can confirm this is a very worthwhile service to marginal people who just thrive to become people with a satisfying sense of belonging and contributing to society.
The result is people with a sense of their own dignity, I do believe this is a human right, I sincerely hope this service will continue to be funded and the clients will not be abandoned
I am an active volunteer with Bridges to Belonging, and have seen what independent facilitation can do.
I am amazed and humbled by the change that this can make in the people's lives that we serve. With the help of independent facilitation, these individuals can be active, contributing members of our community.
Their dreams and goals become a reality. The financial support of the Ministry is essential to allow this process to be an integral part of the lives of so many.
Please continue to recognize that everyone has the right to full citizenship in our community, and offer the financial support needed so that independent facilitation continues to impact people's lives in such a positive way.
I believe independent facilitation makes both budgetary and humanitarian sense.
I have many friends with loved ones who are involved in individual facilitation or are involved in it themselves. I also have many co-workers who are independent facilitators.
Through hearing about the experiences of all of these people, I have come to appreciate many things about independent facilitation. For one thing, I love that independent facilitators see the people that they work with as whole, distinct individuals.
People who work in independent facilitation are not concerned with fitting their focus people into a system, they want to help them improve their individual life, according to their, and/or their loved ones specifications. This inherently means that people with disabilities have choices about the trajectory of their lives. As a person with a disability myself, I know how dehumanizing it can feel when choices are taken away.
I also know that many times the reason this happens is that parents are afraid that their loved ones with disabilities will make the wrong choices. People who work in independent facilitation are wonderful at balancing the concerns of the parents with the dreams and goals of the focus people.
I cannot stress enough how the people I know who work in independent facilitation are kind, compassionate, creative, determined individuals who take their work incredibly seriously. It would be a tragedy to take individual facilitation away from people with disabilities and their families.
I had the privilege of working with Independent Facilitators when I worked in a vocational program for transitional-aged youth with a dual diagnosis.
Independent Facilitation is a crucial component of a holistic community support team. I can still remember my first meeting with an Independent Facilitator.
One of the individuals that I worked with had developed a visual map of their goals, dreams and aspirations for the future. The IF played an important role in identifying the appropriate community supports to help this individual accomplish their goals.
Recognizing, validating and encouraging the dreams of those with a developmental disability is the most important part of any service provision, and this importance should never be minimized.
Although I now live in the UK, I am deeply disheartened that such a vital service will no longer be funded. I know the community will continue to mobilize and demand that this decision be overturned.
We first met our Facilitator when Calvin was still in High School at Ross McDonald School for the Blind. He had been living there during the week in residence since he was in grade 9. We did not have any connections in our community since he had been at The Ross McDonald School since grade one.
I had gone to many meetings organized through the DSO regarding group homes and programs, but I was left feeling overwhelmed and was not sure where Calvin fit in all this or how to even start. I was left sifting through a lot of information that was not relevant.
Our Facilitator met with us in our home. She took the time to get to know Calvin and I and to understand what Calvin's hopes, dreams and needs were. She asked questions like what makes you happy? What keeps you safe? What puts a fire under your butt? Our main goal always is for Calvin to be safe and happy.
Our Facilitator walked with us through the transition from high school to adult life. She shared programs and ideas specific to Calvin and introduced personally to the people and places.
I am pleased to tell you that Calvin has been out of school now for almost 2 years and he has rich and fulfilling life that is centred on what makes Calvin happy and keeps him safe. The biggest gift that the opportunity of facilitation gave to us the strong friendships that Calvin has developed. Without the one on one help of a Facilitator none of this would have been possible.
We have many more dreams and goals for Calvin and know that a Facilitator will walk with us and without facilitation we don't know how we will take our next steps.
Dear Ms. MacLeod,
We are writing to voice our concerns about the provincial government's decision to cancel funding for Independent Planning Facilitators.
In October of 2018 my son Joseph, who has multiple disabilities, received funding from Developmental Services Ontario (DSO). It took four years for our application to make it through the bureaucracy. The role of advocator, therapist for skill development and resources research has until this point been done mostly on our own. In November, we met our Independent Planning Facilitator, Emerald. In three visits she has helped Joseph to identify goals and recreation options, reviewed his resume, brainstormed places to volunteer this summer, and recommended lawyers experienced with disability planning. Wow. One can only imagine what else could be accomplished with continued service.
You cannot begin to imagine the relief and gratitude my husband and I felt to discover a resource that would help Joseph plan for his future, especially when the time comes that we are no longer able to do so. Now imagine how we feel to have it taken away so abruptly.
A representative from your ministry recently said that families could use the money from the Passport program to pay for a facilitator. The additional expenses related to having a disability far outstrip the $5000 allotted. While waiting four years for DSO funding, we paid to hire and train individuals to help our son learn how to safely navigate the community, the transit system, and work on a variety of life skills. We have paid for speech and language pathologists to provide monthly lessons and assessments, paid for psychological assessments and therapy to help him develop tools to deal with social anxiety, and paid for recreational programs to reduce his social isolation. We have done this because he is our son, and he deserves to develop to his potential. We have gone without many things as a family, so that he could have the best chance to survive and thrive. We are currently using the passport funding to help pay for a bus pass, to be part of supported social groups and organizations that assist with job finding, and perhaps,if there is anything left over, a little respite for us sometime in the future.
“Attacking people with disabilities is the lowest display of power I can think of.” Morgan Freeman
Your government and your ministry has cancelled funding for Independent Planning Facilitation as of March 31,2019. This news has not been released on your ministry website. The DSO agency in Ottawa has just informed us of the cancellation and that you are only accepting public feedback until February 8.
Many families, mine included, spend a considerable amount of energy to assist and better the lives of their disabled child. There is not a lot of extra energy left over to fight this decision, and perhaps that is what the Ontario PC government is counting on.
“The moral test of government is how that government treats... the children; ... and... the handicapped.” Hubert Humphrey
Where are the morals of the Progressive Conservative government? Shame on you for abandoning those who cannot advocate for themselves. Where will you be when they fall sick, become homeless because they need help to manage independent living, or become socially isolated and neglected by their community? The financial costs on our medical and social support system as the result of leaving some of our most vulnerable citizens to fend for themselves will far outweigh the possible cost savings realized by the cancellation of Independent Planning Facilitators.
We urge you to revisit this decision. This program is making a difference in enabling those with disabilities to have a life that has purpose, to have a sense of pride, to be an integral part of the community, and to make a life worth living. Isn't that what life is all about? Isn't that what you are called to do within this ministry?
As our provincial member of parliament and the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, we hope you will reconsider this attack on some of our most vulnerable citizens.
Karen and Stephen Halchuk
So you can put a face to a name and to show you just one of the people that the government's decision to cancel funding will impact, here is a photograph of our son Joseph.
As the sibling of an adult with a disability, independent facilitation has been immensely valuable to my family.
My sibling has been supported to choose her own life path, which in turn has supported her family to help her and to have the confidence that she is living a fulfilled life, so that we may also pursue our own fulfilled lives.
I worked part time at the College in Sarnia, part of my job was to go to classes with students with disabilities. One of my students was high functioning autistic and he was a remarkable individual. His capacity for learning was immeasurable.
He loved anything to do with computers and because I had done a 2 yr program at the College to become a Computer Systems Technician we got along very well. His parents were very grateful that he trusted me and that when he was in my care that he was well cared for every minute. This time that I spent with him enriched my life as well.
I eventually had to withdraw from working because of a physical disability so I know what it is like not being able to work and stay at home all the time. Boredom sets in pretty quickly and it can be depressing at times. I am now of retirement age so I am no longer on Government assistance.
These students need this funding to continue because it gives purpose to their lives being able to be part of the community and feel like they are worth something and contributing to society as a whole. Please don't take away this funding, I would sign any and all petitions to support anyone with disabilities, no matter what it is, so they can live a stress free productive life.
Please stop the needless suffering of these individuals by cutting of the much needed funding in Ontario. This should go across the whole country, not just Ontario. We need to support and respect these peoples wants and needs. They should not have to be put on any waiting list that could go on for years.
The longer they are waiting for funding from the Government the worse it is for them. They don't understand why they have been cut off, sometimes they think they are being punished. It is hard to say exactly what goes through their minds, each individual is different. I implore everyone who reads about this to contact their local MPP and send direct messages to the Liberal Government that they need to reconsider the harm that they are inflicting on these people who really need our help. Become a volunteer to help them with their every day needs. We need to be their voice and support them however we can. I am happy to share my story to show that I know what it is like to be in their shoes.
Dear Christina Mitas
My name is Susan Beayni and I live at 8 Fairway Dr., in your riding. I am a mother of a 36 year old daughter named Rebecca who requires 24 hours a day support. She is totally dependent on others and lives at home with us as an integral member of her community. Because of the assistance of a facilitator who believes in the importance of people with an intellectual disability being full members in their community sharing their gifts, Rebecca has lived an amazing life where she actively contributes to society by volunteering at the ROM, Rosalie Day Care, our local library and in our local elementary school listening to grade 1 students read.
With facilitation, a support circle/network was created around Rebecca to assist her plan and implement her plans to follow her dreams. None of these things would have happened if it weren’t for independent facilitation.
I also have been part of parent support groups and have heard the amazing stories of what their sons and daughters with disabilities are contributing to their communities because of the involvement of independent facilitators. Not only does the community benefit from all being able to contribute their gifts, it has also been shown that in the long run, it is much more economical for the government to provide funding for independent facilitators to enable people to reach their full potential in the community, rather than paying for group homes and day programs.
I feel very strongly that it is vital for the government to continue to fund independent facilitation for individuals who have an intellectual disability.
It would be helpful for you and anyone in the government who is making these decisions re: independent facilitation funding to watch a film about our daughter called “Dance in the Shadow” at
What you see in the film, would not have happened without independent facilitation.
I strongly encourage you to represent our point of view on this very important topic at this time. As well as reading this letter, I would be happy to speak in person to whoever is involved in making decisions on this topic.
Thank you very much
Susan, Simon and Rebecca Beayni
8 Fairway Dr.
• Facilitators are very skilled, attentive and caring. In only a couple of meetings, they allowed my daughter to discuss some issues that I as a parent was not even aware of. This helped my family and it would not have happened had the facilitators not had the experience and sensitivity to keep this delicate conversation going and support my daughter and I.
• My facilitator helps to really see my son, to get feedback from him, to navigate the DSO, provide support and keep the focus on my son, facilitators have insight.
• I like my facilitator a lot. I am very happy with her and I think eventually I can live on my own when my mom needs to leave the city.
• We have been looking for facilitator for 7 years, we have been perplexed, confused and now somewhat enlightened since we met our facilitator in September. The facilitators perspective is refreshing approach to understanding my daughter’s needs. We’ve had a lot of input, but none of these have resolved her life goals. I would like to see Independent Facilitation evolve. A group with this experience really takes the pressure off of the parents, it really makes a difference.
• I have really grown as a person with the support of my facilitator.
• I just started recently with a facilitator, she has already helped me with my fear of what will happen to my son when we are gone.
• When I met my Independent Facilitator, my daughter was on the couch for months. She’d graduated high school but had nothing to do. My facilitator showed me how to apply for Passports, the school had only helped her apply for ODSP. Now, she is very happy, she goes to an employment support program and just started back at George Brown College in December! Our facilitator lets us know about free events and resources we can use in our family. We didn’t know about any of this before. Young people need a life, they are frustrated, they need friends. Without this support of a facilitator, my daughter will go into crisis again. I cannot work full-time because I will need to accompany her to learn routes on the TTC, our passports funding won’t cover the number of hours of support she will need in the community.
• I like my facilitator – she has helped me a lot and I don’t want her to leave.
• After my daughter left high school I tried to find her volunteer work and paid work. It often didn’t work out, and I have no experience in this field. We were grasping at straws. Our facilitator found a support worker for my daughter, a paid work position and a regular volunteer role. There are a whole lot of other families floundering without the support of Independent Facilitation and we will be floundering again without it.
• I am not equipped to ask for things nicely. I have spent too much time fighting to get basic needs for my son met. I know that my son wants Independent Facilitation, so I can help figure out what he wants, not just what I think is best. I want him to dance through life, not just walk. And I don’t have the time as his parent to teach him how to dance. I think a facilitator could find those things to enrich his life.
• We got some support when my son was young, when it ended we were supposed to be discharged into services. We got nothing until now, when he’s an adult. The doors seem to open briefly and let us in, only to be slammed in our face once again. This is the impact if we lose our Independent Facilitator at this point.
• The officials know that this works, but they have no control over programs and finances. They are not decision-makers. If the cabinet says no to something, they cannot change it and we are too far away from the next election to put on that kind of pressure. What is important is what we are getting now, what is going to be taken away and what will be the impact of that.
• What it means is that people like me and others won’t have support, we don’t have the money to pay fee-for-service and cover people’s time, gas mileage and insurance to come and support us. I believe this government may make cuts to all kinds of supports and people like me may end up on the streets. I believe this government does not have the interests of the whole Province at heart. Usually if someone has a grievance they can go to their MPP and they will take it forward and get something done about it. But not in this government, they only care about big businesses. I need the help of my facilitator to exist as a productive member of society, to do what I want, to collect what I want, to be who I am. She helps me advocate for more shifts with my employer so that it doesn’t have to be my mom. She gives me advice – on anything. I can use her as a reference to get a new job.
• Independent Facilitation has been essential to my son this past few years, to help him imagine what’s possible for his life. He has a job at Canadian Tire and once a week volunteers at a bike store repairing bikes. We don’t have funding to pay fee-for-service for Independent Facilitation. There seems to be an assumption that families have money for this. A case manager is not going to get to know my son, to help him make decisions. Without facilitation my son will be missing work opportunities, volunteering at the bike shop, help to hire support workers to go to the library together
Hi my name is justin I am a 29 Male who has a disability when I first met the worker I have been involved in the community like going out for coffee and talking about my goals for the near future this is a great opportunity for people that have a disability to go out with someone to talk about there dreams and goals in the community I have here story's about people likening the support they have from them it help them with anger achievement and meet there goals for there near future I believe we should have funding for these support worker again it helping familys and people who live on there own .
Please understand that we would like to continue with this support please allow the government approve more funding to help with other people who need it .
We have an adult son with a developmental disability and autism. After school was finished, we, as so many other parents, felt sucked into this dark void of nothing.
Our son's needs were and are significant and the sparse resources available did not align with his needs. He needed a unique plan to be successful in his community.
We have had two plans done over the last 5 years and most have been very helpful to find out what strengths and interest he has and how to help him employ these in his home community. We found out that we needed more than a plan, but help implemented it.
Our present facilitator Wendy has been and is continuing to be amazing. She has many contacts in the community and never shies away from calling on someone cold turkey. She is motivated, energetic and never gives up.
Thanks to her, our son now washes windows at a local restaurant. He will also start volunteering in a daycare, as he loves little people.
He is also being able to give back to the community by volunteering for meals on wheels.
We are most grateful to Wendy for working with us and our son's support staff. Success is truly contagious.
My son, Mitchell has benefited enormously with the FACILE program.
When he is with his worker they talk about the future, goals, responsibilities etc. They are planning his future when I am not long around to look after him.
I think everyone parent would agree that is "money well spent".
Help them now so they can be more independent later.
Independent facilitation has made a difference in our lives, because without Brokerage we wouldn’t have known where to start.
We began talking with Amanda being out in her community more, making connections and contracting self-employed workers to enable her to do that.
Through independent facilitation, we have contracted 5 people to work with Amanda. We were able to do this by working with Jessica from Brokerage who helped us get the most out of our government funding by getting good information about contracting workers at a lower rate, compared to an agency’s rate which enabled us to utilize the maximum amount of support hours possible.
I understand that there needs to be cuts, however the needs of developmentally disabled people should not be one of them!
This service enables my daughter to live her life in her community like every other citizen. We explored traditional day programs, and realized quickly that Amanda did not want to go! We have been trying to support this choice—and not gotten on more lists for more expensive congregated/traditional options. To do that we need independent facilitation support over the long term.
With the involvement of an independent facilitator, my daughter now has a greater chance for success and for a regular life in the community.
The difference in all of our lives is very dramatic. Our daughter is almost 34 years old and is looking to build her own life. The support from Windsor-Essex Brokerage for our entire family has made an incredible difference in all of our well-being.
An independent facilitator has supported us more than other organizations. They are available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, with wonderful ideas for the future of our whole family.
The thought that we could build a home within our home for our daughter, to support her in independent living, may have never considered if we had not been involved with independent facilitation. Wow! What a great idea!
Our facilitator also assisted us with other ministries when our family was in distress. The idea of losing this support for any family in this province is devastating. This will cause an added burden for so many of us.