Developmental services agencies continue to support people with developmental disabilities during the covid 19 outbreak, but:

  • some offices might be closed or impacted
  • some programs might be closed or impacted
  • visits to residential programs may be restricted to help protect residents and staff

Please contact your service provider for updated information.

Temporary changes to the Passport program

In response to the covid 19 outbreak, we have made temporary changes to the Passport program to help recipients. These changes came into effect April 1, 2020 and continue to be in effect until further notice.

New eligible expenses

We expanded the list of eligible expenses under the Passport program to support people and their families while community-based activities and settings are closed. These changes allow you to use your funding for goods and services that may make it easier for you to stay at home during this time and practice physical distancing.

New eligible expenses include:

  1. Sensory Items
    • To support recipients who rely on sensory items to alleviate anxiety/stress and/or support any clinical or behavioural plans, for example multi-sensory related products and technologies.
  2. Technology
    • Provide program recipients the means and ability to stay safe, connected, and occupied and engaged at home, including virtual and online learning and skill development activities. Examples include but are not limited to:
      • laptops and tablets
      • online educational and e-learning activities and resources
      • videogames and videogame systems
      • webcams and microphones
      • media service subscriptions and platforms (for example, Netflix, Xbox Live, Disney+) Note: this will not include cancellation fees
      • e-readers (for example, Kindle or Kobo)
      • remote monitoring devices and medical alert services and devices (for example, to support people living in Supportive Independent Living settings or independently).
    • The approval of technology will also support the virtual engagement of people with disabilities and connections for families, providing some relief from caregiving requirements and alleviating some of the impacts of physical distancing.
  3. Items to support home-based recreation and fitness activities that would otherwise be accessed through day programs and other community-based programs
    • Supplies to support home-based hobbies and activities. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
      • arts and craft supplies
      • hobby supplies
      • puzzles and games
      • books for leisure and learning
    • Supplies to support home-based physical activity and fitness. This may include but is not limited to:
      • Indoor items and equipment (for example, skipping rope, yoga mat, resistance bands)
      • Fitness, sport equipment and supplies that may be used on the individual’s property (for example, basketball net, trampoline, frisbee, badminton set)
  4. Personal protective equipment and supplies, when available
    • This is intended to enable program recipients and their support workers to be supported more safely at home or as required, in the community, which may be of heightened importance to adults who are immunocompromised:
      • gloves
      • masks
      • gowns
      • cleaning supplies (disinfectant wipes, sprays, and hand sanitizer)
      • goggles and face shields
  5. Essential service delivery fees
    • Recipients and their families may be unable to easily leave their homes for groceries and pharmacy needs. To support households in this situation, delivery/service fees associated with the delivery of groceries or medication are deemed a temporary eligible expenditure.
    • Service delivery fees for essential items such as groceries and medication will be an admissible expense, for example Instacart by Loblaws and pharmacy deliveries.
    • Note that this does not include the food and/or medication costs, just the service fee for delivery.
  6. Behavioural support plans and related Interventions
    • Development of behavioural support plans and recommended interventions (delivered in person or remotely/virtually) and/or support strategies to reduce challenging behaviours or potential crisis situations intended to assist families to more safely support their family member at home.
    • Note: This does not include physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

Read more about these temporary changes in the April 2020 addendum to the program guidelines. All other inadmissible expenditures outlined in the program guidelines remain in effect.

Temporary wage increase for direct support workers extended

As of October 1, 2020, workers who provide personal support services are eligible for a temporary wage increase. This temporary increase has been extended until March 31, 2022.

We are offering temporary support to cover this wage increase for people and families who pay for services from eligible direct support workers with funding from Passport. These changes apply to support workers who provide:

  • direct assistance with personal care
  • respite care
  • community activity participation

Here are details about this temporary increase for people and families who pay for services from eligible direct support workers with funding from the Passport program.

Eligible workers

To be eligible, workers must do some or all the following in their work with you:

  • provide personal care (such as feeding, dressing, personal hygiene, toileting, managing medication)
  • provide necessary supports required to access and participate in community activities
  • observe and plan daily living routines
  • supervise and monitor safety
  • provide respite services

A worker’s job title, qualifications and training do not impact their eligibility for this temporary wage increase. Workers may provide care in person or virtually/online.

For example, eligible workers can include family members, friends and neighbours.

However, regulated health professionals, such as nurses, are not eligible for this temporary wage increase.

Eligible direct funding programs

People and families who employ or buy services from eligible workers with funding from the Passport program will be eligible for this temporary support.

You cannot get this temporary funding if you use personal or non-Passport funds to pay for the worker.

Similar support for this temporary wage increase is also available for people and families receiving funding from the following programs:

When the temporary support is available

The temporary wage increase came into effect for eligible workers on October 1, 2020.

The eligibility period for this temporary support is from October 1, 2020, to March 31, 2022.

How much funding you can get

You can get funding to pay your eligible worker $3 per hour on top of their existing hourly wages, for all hours worked within the eligibility period.

Funding you receive for this temporary wage increase will not come out of or decrease your annual Passport budget.

How to get the temporary support

To get the temporary wage increase for an eligible worker you pay with Passport funding, please submit regular Passport reimbursement claims with supporting receipts/invoices by April,30 2022. We will not process claims submitted after April 30, 2022.

It is not a support worker’s responsibility to submit a claim or apply for this wage increase.

Recipients and families do not have to submit anything in addition to their regular claim.

The amount per hour that is submitted on any claim should include the additional $3 per hour. Only the worker’s base hourly wage will be deducted from your Passport funding authorization – not the $3 per hour temporary increase. Your receipts and invoices should clearly show the temporary wage increase in addition to the base hourly wage.

If you previously submitted claims for an eligible worker that did not include the temporary wage increase, please submit a new claim that includes the wage increase for the worker’s hours.

Eligibility criteria and submission of claims remain unchanged, with one exception. Employees are now eligible for the temporary wage enhancement top up for up to three days of paid leave relating to covid 19, as described in the covid 19 Putting Workers First Act, 2021 legislative amendment to the Employment Standards Act.

See the updated guidelines for the administration of temporary targeted wage enhancements for Passport program or visit the COVID-10 worker income protection benefit page.

Recipients paying a flat rate

If you pay your support worker a flat rate for hours worked, you will need to break down the flat rate into hours worked and hourly wage in your claims to be reimbursed for the $3 per hour increase.

For example, you pay a worker a flat rate of $100 for five hours of work. The hourly rate is $20 per hour. The amount per hour that is submitted on any claim should include the additional $3 per hour, for example $20 per hour = $17 base rate + $3 temporary wage increase.

The total claim submitted would be for $100 and you will receive reimbursement of $100, however, only $85 will be reduced from your Passport authorization and $15 reimbursed from the wage enhancement funding ($3 per hour x 5 hours = $15 total).

It is the responsibility of the Passport recipient/family to:

  • negotiate this temporary $3 per hour wage increase with the eligible support worker
  • submit claims that include the temporary increase

If you previously submitted claims for an eligible worker that did not include the temporary wage increase, please submit a new claim that includes only the wage increase for the worker’s hours.

After you submit your claim

Changing your claim

If you need to change information you submitted in your claim, please contact your local Passport agency.

Assessing your claim

After you submit your claim, we will assess it in the same way that we assess other Passport reimbursement claims that you submit.

We may ask you to provide further information if your claim is incomplete.

Getting your temporary wage increase funding

You will receive a payment based on the total amount approved for your claim.

Temporary wage increase guidelines

The information on this webpage is based on the guidelines for this initiative. People submitting claims for funding from this initiative must follow these guidelines.

Contact us

If you have questions or need more information, please contact your local Passport agency.

Guidelines for the administration of temporary targeted wage enhancements for Passport program (October 2021)

Principles

covid 19 has created pressures around the provision of safe and supportive care for vulnerable people. Wage enhancements help support a stable and growing workforce to provide the right services for people.

The temporary wage enhancement applies to:

  • workers delivering publicly-funded personal support services in the home and community care sectors
  • workers delivering direct support services in the social services sector
  • individuals working as personal support workers delivering publicly-funded personal support services in the long-term care sector

This temporary wage enhancement is put in place to recognize those who have been providing personal support services play a vital part in the health and social services delivery in the province.

Eligibility period

Temporary wage enhancements have been extended for April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. The full eligibility period is October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2022. Eligible workers can receive $3 per hour worked on top of their existing hourly wages.

Wage enhancements will not be provided for any time not engaged in work, including:

Eligibility requirements

Temporary wage enhancements are designed to support eligible full- and part-time workers. Eligibility is not dependent on whether there is a covid 19 outbreak in the location where an eligible worker works.

To be eligible, work functions, regardless of job class, must involve the primary provision of personal client care to individuals with special needs, including developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, medical issues and/or behaviour challenges.

Eligible workers are responsible for providing assistance in daily living tasks, personal care and support, and ensuring the personal safety and welfare of individuals in residential, community and home settings, and/or for the provision of caregiver respite. This care may be performed in direct proximity to the client involving physical interaction, or virtually/remotely. In applying eligibility, workers within particular job classes need to be treated consistently.

The provision of personal client care includes:

  • directly assisting clients by providing personal care (such as feeding, dressing, personal hygiene, toileting, managing medication)
  • providing necessary supports required for clients to access and participate in community activities
  • observing, planning daily living routines, supervising clients and monitoring safety risks

Other eligibility requirements and exclusions

Eligibility

Workers and service providers who are directly hired by recipients of the Passport program are eligible.

Please note that worker status is not a factor (that is, workers redeployed, contractors, purchased services into eligible frontline positions).

Excluded

  • Management
  • Foster parents, kinship service providers and customary care givers
  • Home share providers
  • Employees whose primary functions relate to case management, maintenance, food service, and administration
  • Regulated professionals, such as registered nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists, are not eligible, even if they provide personal care services

Financial administration and eligible programs

Administration of temporary wage enhancements

This guideline applies to eligible workers who are employed or are purchasing service from Passport recipients that receive funding through the Passport program regardless of whether their funding is being self-administered or agency-administered.

Passport recipients employing potentially eligible staff or purchasing on a fee-for-service basis with funding from the Passport program will submit a claim with receipts/invoices as applicable through the standard payment process for reimbursement of eligible expenditures. The $3 per hour wage increase should be clearly identified, as applicable on the supporting receipts/invoices submitted with your claim.

Recipients do not have to submit anything in addition to their regular claim and support workers do not have to submit their own claims.

Recipients who have negotiated a flat rate for support worker hours will need to break down the flat rate into hours worked and an hourly wage to be reimbursed for the $3 per hour increase. The flat rate is considered one hour of service.

If a claim is submitted without the wage increase it can be resubmitted for reimbursement for the top up of the $3 per hour through existing claim processes.

It is the responsibility of the Passport recipient/family to negotiate the $3 per hour wage enhancement with the eligible worker and claims submitted are to include the enhancement. Receipts/invoices should clearly identify the temporary wage increase from the base hourly wage.

The eligibility period of the extension is April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. The full eligibility period is October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2022. All claims for the period of October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2022 must be submitted by April 30, 2022.

Passport recipients are to submit their eligible claims for payment processing, through the standard payment processes, by April 30, 2022, in order to be reimbursed for the wage increase. Claims submitted after this date will not receive additional funding but will be reimbursed in full by the recipient’s Passport authorization.

Eligible workers must perform the eligible work functions during the eligibility period for the reimbursement of the claim.

The Passport agency may request further information to confirm worker eligibility and number of hours worked.

The temporary wage enhancements are:

  • non-pensionable earnings (except for CPP contributions)
  • not part of an employee’s base salary
  • expected to be subject to statutory withholdings and remittances or employer costs associated with Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Employment Insurance (EI), Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premiums and Employer Health Tax (EHT) and income tax. The determination of income tax treatment, withholding and remittances, as well as treatment for CPP and EI is within the purview of the Canada Revenue Agency.

Where paid by recipients to the direct support worker(s), recipients can be reimbursed for the incremental increase in the cost of contributions to CPP, EI, EHT and WSIB as well as the incremental increase in the cost of providing statutory entitlements (e.g., holiday pay, vacation pay, or overtime, if applicable) resulting from temporary wage enhancements in accordance with the Employment Standards Act or any applicable collective agreement(s).

The temporary wage enhancements do not impact a worker’s eligibility for Employment Insurance (EI) or recovery benefits offered by the federal government.

Payments to Passport recipients

Passport recipients or persons administering their funding on their behalf will submit claims with supporting receipts/invoices through the existing payment process for reimbursements. Receipts/invoices should clearly identify the temporary wage increase from the base hourly wage.

The $3 per hour will not be reimbursed from the recipient’s Passport authorization. The wage enhancement is a separate, time-limited funding allocation and available until March, 31 2022.

Passport recipients are to submit their eligible claims for payment processing, through the standard payment processes, by April 30, 2022, in order to be reimbursed for the wage increase.

The amount per hour that is submitted on any claim should include the additional $3 per hour and your Passport authorization will only reflect the decrease for the base hourly wage and does not include the $3 per hour increase.

Temporary wage enhancement funds must only be used for the purpose of providing a $3 per hour increase to the amounts Passport recipients are paying eligible workers they are employing and/or purchasing through the ministry’s direct funding program. They must not be used for any other costs or any other purpose unless otherwise specified. In compliance with the Passport Program Guidelines for Adults with a Developmental Disability, standard payment processes will continue as normal and recipients are required to submit receipts/invoices at the time they submit their claim.

Support workers

Support workers are not required to apply for this wage enhancement or submit their own claims. The temporary enhancement to support worker wages are negotiated between the Passport recipient/family and the support worker(s).

The Passport recipients or those administering their funding on their behalf will submit the claim, including the enhancement, through existing payment processes for reimbursement. The wage enhancement is a separate, time-limited, funding allocation until March,31 2022. The claim submitted will be automatically adjusted and eligible claims will be reimbursed.

Reimbursement timelines

Passport recipients will receive reimbursement of eligible claims as they are submitted through the existing payment processing of Passport invoices.

The wage enhancement is available until March 31, 2022.

Any wage enhancement invoices will need to be submitted for reimbursement through existing payment processes by April 30, 2022.

Questions

If Passport recipients have further questions about the temporary wage enhancement for support workers, they should contact their local Passport agency.

covid 19 resource pages

Agencies in the developmental services sector can access a library of resources that will assist them in responding to the pandemic. This library is located on the Real Xchange Website.

Individuals with a developmental disability and their families and caregivers can access the dedicated covid 19 page on the ConnectABILITY website as well as Partners for Planning website for information and resources.