Our Stories


Here are stories from people who have an intellectual or developmental disability and their families. They illustrate the challenges that exist in the Developmental Services sector.

Linda Thomas-Ouellette, North Bay

Our son’s independence has been put on hold

Linda Thomas-Ouellette plans to make political candidates aware of the problems imposed by lengthy waitlists for developmental services ahead of the June 7th provincial election.

The North Bay mother’s 19-year-old son, Christopher, has autism and a developmental delay. Her letter to candidates from all parties highlights the overwhelming funding gap when young people transition from being supported by the Ministry of Child and Youth Services to the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

After Christopher turned 18, reads the letter, “we were informed the waiting list for housing and supports was 10 years or more…We have worked hard over the years to prepare him for his independence. So now our son’s independence has been put on hold!”

“This is not acceptable!”

Christopher stopped receiving Special Services at Home funding when he turned 18, denying him access to crucial supports.

According to Developmental Services Ontario, the waitlist for Passport funding in Thomas-Ouellette’s area is six years, with approximately 700 families in line.

Passport funding allows adults who have an intellectual or developmental disability to be more independent and involved in their communities by providing money to attend events or classes, pay for support workers, and provide respite to primary caregivers.

“So our son,” says Thomas-Ouellette, “along with many adults on this waitlist is waiting indeterminately to have their independence!”

Roughly 1,600 Ontarians with developmental disabilities turn 18 every year, a statistic which Thomas-Ouellette says translates into a group that candidates should pay attention to.

“Each of these individuals,” she exclaims, “becomes a full citizen and has the right to vote!  That is a lot of voting power!”

The letter asks the leaders of all major parties to clarify their plans to address these indeterminate waitlists “so we can plan for our future and the future of our sons and daughters.”

This initiative is part of Thomas-Ouellette’s WE MATTER campaign, which aims to raise public awareness that adults with an intellectual or developmental disability can and will exercise their right to vote.

“We are ready to vote,” asserts the letter, “and wait for your response so we [can] make informed decisions.”

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