Journey to Belonging progress – July 2023 Update

This Spring, ministry representatives had the opportunity to speak about Journey to Belonging at stakeholder conferences and held a webinar for people with developmental disabilities and their family members. We heard hope and enthusiasm for bringing the vision of Journey to Belonging to life. We also heard uncertainty about what the future will look like. I would like to thank everyone who shared their perspectives with us. We are committed to continuing to engage and share information as we move forward together.

Update: Developing a new funding approach

The ministry continues to work on developing a new funding approach for services and supports for people with developmental disabilities. As outlined under the Putting People First pillar of Journey to Belonging, we are aiming to provide equitable funding that is based on people’s assessed support needs, using an evidence-based funding model. We also want people to have more choices about how they receive the services and supports they need.

As part of this work, the consulting firm KPMG has been leading a study to help the government better understand the costs of services in the developmental services sector, including how and why they vary across the province. I’m pleased to share that this study is now complete. In May, the ministry shared key results from the study with service providers through two virtual ‘Town Halls’, led by the ministry and KPMG. These were attended by over 300 people, from 168 agencies across the province. The ministry is also sharing individual agency-level results with the agencies that participated in the study.

While the costing study is an important input, there are many other steps the ministry needs to take, and government needs to provide direction on, to develop, test, and roll out a new funding approach. We remain committed to engaging and sharing our progress with you as we work on the future funding approach for developmental services.

Update: Workforce strategy and initiatives

I’m pleased to share that the second phase of the collaboration between the ministry and the development services sector to support the workforce is now underway. The first phase of this collaboration led to implementation of three initiatives:

The co-development approach ensured that a range of perspectives were included at the outset. As a result, the products and tools that were developed better met needs on the ground. We look forward to continuing this collaborative approach to support the developmental services workforce. Achieving the vision of Journey to Belonging means having a stable and professional workforce that can deliver on the values of our reform plan.

We recently closed an Expression of Interest for task groups to build and expand on the early initiatives. The Expression of Interest was open to people with developmental disabilities, families, caregivers, front-line workers, and service provider leadership. Our goal was to include diverse representation across the developmental services sector. The task groups will officially launch in the summer, once applications are reviewed and membership is finalized.

Update: Service Quality and Performance Measurement

As a commitment under the Improving Service Quality pillar of Journey to Belonging, the ministry is phasing in a performance measurement approach for developmental services. As part of this work, the ministry, in partnership with key sector partners, co-developed a provincially consistent feedback survey about the services provided by Developmental Services Ontario (DSO).

The DSO Experience Survey is now available to everybody who has engaged with Developmental Services Ontario at any time and can be found at: Hearing directly from people who have used the services DSO provides will help inform continuous improvements to the service experience.

Update: Family Support Network Grants

For the third year, the ministry is providing capacity-building grants to community-based family support networks in Ontario. The Ontario Caregiver Organization administers these grants. You can find more information here: Capacity-Building Grants for Family Support Networks – Ontario Caregiver Organization. Successful applicants will be informed in August 2023.

Last year, the Ontario Caregiver Organization awarded 29 new, emerging and existing family support networks grants of up to $4,500, and seven Impact and Collaboration Grants of up to $10,000. This grant program supports a commitment in Journey to Belonging to help individuals, families and community support networks to make connections, get peer support and share resources and information.

In Case You Missed it:

  • On April 24, 2023, Partners for Planning (P4P) hosted a webinar with the ministry for people with a developmental disability, families, and caregivers about Journey to BelongingWatch the recording in English and in French.
  • On May 29, 2023, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development announced new projects to help people with developmental and physical disabilities find employment. Read about the projects here.
  • The guidelines for the Passport Program were updated effective April 1, 2023. You can find the updated guidelines on the ministry website. Visit to find resources to help recipients, like tip sheets and videos.
  • The next annual adjustment tied to inflation to Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) rates will be in July 2023. In addition, as of February 1, 2023, if you are person with a disability you can earn up to $1,000 a month through employment without it affecting your ODSP income support, benefits or eligibility. Read more about how earning money affects ODSP income supports.


Karen Glass
Assistant Deputy Minister
Community Services Division