Ministry overview

Purpose

The Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility is responsible for improving the quality of life for seniors and people with disabilities by changing perceptions and promoting the benefits of an age-diverse, accessible Ontario. The Ministry develops policy and programs that promote and facilitate the social, cultural and economic participation of seniors and people with disabilities in all aspects of day-to-day life. The Ministry works across government, and partners with businesses and not-for-profit organizations to support seniors and people with disabilities in accessing services and resources that enable them to lead healthy, independent and socially engaged lives in their communities.

Working in partnership with other provincial ministries, the Ministry is responsible for:

  • Ensuring the development, delivery and oversight of initiatives designed to prevent and address social isolation and elder abuse, enable seniors to lead healthy and socially engaged lives in their communities and maximize their independence and dignity.
  • Leading policy and regulatory development related to the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 and overseeing the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority to ensure that retirement home residents are safe, respected and can make informed choices about their care options.
  • Helping to remove and prevent barriers to accessibility in government policies, programs and initiatives.
  • Ensuring that people with disabilities and their families can participate in a strong and prosperous economy; businesses can benefit from new markets and a strong talent pool and funds are used efficiently.
  • Maintaining and building strong partnerships with diverse stakeholders including disability and non-profit organizations, employers, service providers, municipalities, professional associations, and educational institutions in order to facilitate connections and promote accessibility and employment for people with disabilities so that they can live engaged, independent lives.
  • Conducting public education and outreach activities to help organizations understand the benefits of accessibility and provide practical support for businesses to remove barriers to accessibility.
  • Ensuring the policy development, implementation and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and its regulation, as well as the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA).

Ministry contribution to priority outcomes

The Ministry supports a government for the people, reducing the burden on business and ensuring effective and efficient use of resources so that trust and accountability in the province’s public finances can be restored. It will support seniors and people with disabilities, commit resources to combat elder abuse and directly advance the government’s commitment to improve accessibility and employment for people with disabilities.

In 2019-20, the Ministry will focus on:

  • Developing a new cross‐government strategy to improve the lives of seniors and provide the supports and resources to help them live independently, ensure their safety and security, connect them to their community and help them achieve greater financial security and social connections.
  • Strengthening direct services to help keep seniors safe, secure, connected and active in their communities, and aligning resources to be more cost efficient.
  • Refocusing and realigning ministry programs and use of resources in support of the government’s commitments, including:
    • Building capacity, extending the reach of and leveraging the existing network of Seniors Active Living Centres.
    • Refocusing the Seniors Community Grant Program to prioritize the prevention of social isolation and elder abuse.
    • Realigning and leveraging existing partnerships with organizations, ensuring support to seniors, their families and caregivers through education and direct programs, as well as reviewing and overhauling existing programs to narrow their focus with clear outcomes to ensure that money is going to direct programming with minimal administrative costs.
    • Expanding the use of existing digital platforms to reduce administrative burden for seniors-focused organizations and make it simpler for seniors to access information.
  • Making it easier for businesses to become accessible based on key inputs from reviews and to comply with the law through simplified messaging and processes.
  • Working with ministries to lead Ontario’s response to the Third Legislative Review of the AODA and demonstrate commitment to breaking down barriers for people with disabilities.
  • Coordinating the implementation of the Ontario Public Service’s (OPS) Multi-Year Accessibility Plan and lead by example by working with ministries to embed accessibility in their policies, programs, and services.
  • Leveraging partnerships with key stakeholders and employers to facilitate connections and provide practical cost-efficient supports to promote accessibility and employment for people with disabilities.
  • Partnering with the Rick Hansen Foundation to launch the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program in select communities across the province to determine ways to remove identified barriers in the built environment for people with visible and invisible disabilities.
  • Leveraging partnerships to educate the public and businesses on the economic benefits of accessibility, break down myths and address the stigma about people with disabilities.
  • Focusing public education and outreach activities on key accessibility barriers including employment for people with disabilities and accessible communities.
  • Ensuring the policy development, implementation and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).
  • Expected outcomes include:
    • Engaged and connected seniors who are safer and less vulnerable to abuse, remain healthier, and contribute to their communities.
    • Increased engagement of seniors in the community measured through greater participation in Seniors Active Living Centre programs, community outreach programs, etc.
    • Direct and simplified access to information and services helping seniors and people with disabilities lead healthy engaged and independent lives.
    • More businesses engaged in employing people with disabilities and help grow the economy.
    • People with disabilities are engaged in all aspects of daily life, reducing social and economic isolation as well as leading to overall improved health.

Ministry programs

The Ministry supports, develops and delivers policies and public services to improve the quality of life for seniors and people with disabilities, helps seniors lead safe, engaged, active and healthy lives and improves accessibility and employment for people with disabilities. Acting as an agent for positive change, the Ministry plays a leadership role in advising on the development of government policies and programs that impact seniors and people with disabilities.

The Ministry is organized into three divisions that play the following key roles:

Seniors policy and programs

  • Provides a seniors’ perspective to inform the development, delivery and assessment of policies and programs that may impact seniors.
  • Provides funding for programs to help seniors stay healthy, connected, safe and active by supporting Seniors Active Living Centres and providing Seniors Community Grants to not-for-profit organizations for projects that encourage greater social inclusion and focus on the safety and well-being of seniors.
  • Promotes Age-Friendly Communities by providing tools and resources that make communities more inclusive and accessible for all residents.
  • Provides information through public education to support healthy aging.
  • Improves access to information about programs and services available to seniors by facilitating information-exchange with key partners on programs and policies and providing a range of print and online resources.
  • Focuses on supporting and increasing awareness of seniors’ safety and enhancing security for individuals who may experience vulnerabilities due to cognitive and physical challenges or abuse through Ontario’s Strategy to Combat Elder Abuse and the Finding Your Way (Wandering Prevention) Program.
  • Leads policy and regulatory development related to the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 and oversees the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority to ensure that retirement home residents are safe, respected and can make informed choices about their care options.

Accessibility policy, employment and outreach

  • Provides an accessibility perspective informing the development, delivery and assessment of policies and programs across a range of policy fields to identify and remove barriers for people with disabilities. This is done by partnering with ministries on initiatives to increase employment for people with disabilities and embed accessibility in their policies, programs and services.
  • Conducts outreach and builds external stakeholder relations to share information on accessibility, provide practical supports and facilitate connections with non-profit and disability organizations, professional associations, employers, and educational institutions.
  • Oversees and manages the EnAbling Change Program, a cost-shared transfer payment program that promotes strategic partnerships with incorporated non-profit organizations, including disability organizations, to develop education campaigns, tools and other supports to assist with compliance and promote accessibility.
  • Partners with the Rick Hansen Foundation to launch the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program in select communities across the province to determine ways to remove identified barriers in the built environment for people with visible and invisible disabilities.
  • Leads the implementation of the Ontario Public Service’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan which outlines nearly 60 commitments from across government to remove and prevent accessibility barriers in customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation, design of public spaces, procurement, and training.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities

  • Leads the planning, delivery and oversight of all activities led by the Minister-selected statutory advisory bodies, Accessibility Standards Advisory Council, Standards Development Committees and Legislative Reviewers.
  • Leads all legislative policy and research activities following completed reviews of the Transportation Standards and Employment Standards.
  • Provides governance and policy support for the current review of the Information and Communications Standards and the development of proposed standards in education and health care with partner ministries.
  • Provides policy research and advice on the development and implementation of strategic and operational accessibility policy with respect to the foundation legislation (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001).
  • Consults with partner ministries, the Government of Canada and other provincial/territorial jurisdictions.
  • Helps ensure public, private and not-for-profit sector organizations understand and comply with the provincial accessibility standards by conducting compliance assistance, audit, and enforcement activities in alignment with the government's overall compliance objectives.

Table 1: Ministry planned expenditures 2019-20 ($M)

ExpenditureAmount
Operating48.1
Capital3.0
Total51.1

Highlights of 2018-19 results

A number of initiatives were undertaken and results were delivered to support the government’s key priorities of ensuring a responsible, accountable management of resources. The Ministry identified efficiencies by implementing internal saving measures and more effective ways of managing its program delivery for seniors and people with disabilities.

Key activities and results for 2018-19 include:

Support for seniors

  • Implemented the Fire Sprinkler Retrofit cost-shared grant program to help licensed small and rural retirement homes with the cost of installing automatic fire sprinkler systems.
  • Expanded the Seniors Active Living Centre program – formerly Elderly Persons Centres – by adding 40 new centres.
  • Supported the government’s efforts to develop and implement a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions strategy through educational resources for seniors.
  • Supported the government’s focus on healthy and engaged seniors by including a focus in the Seniors Community Grant program for a specific funding stream of up to $100,000 for organizations with projects that build and sustain regional and provincial capacity for healthy aging.

Support for accessibility

  • Engaged with employment, industry associations, disability organizations and non-profit organizations to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities and promote benefits of accessibility including through the Employers’ Partnership Table, Business Association Working Group, and the Discover Ability Network.
  • Worked with partner ministries across the government including the Ministries of Training, College and Universities; Children, Community and Social Services; and Education to provide advice on embedding accessibility in education, training and employment policies, programs and initiatives.
  • Provided funding through the EnAbling Change Program to 38 non-profit organizations, including disability organizations, to develop education campaigns, tools and other supports to assist with compliance and promote accessibility, including developing 19 publications to assist businesses in becoming more accessible.
  • Conducted extensive engagement and outreach with the public and communities to promote inclusion of people with disabilities, illustrate benefits of accessibility, and provide training on improving accessibility through webinars, consultations, exhibitions, fairs, and newsletters.
  • Provided governance and administrative oversight of the third Legislative Review (conducted by the Honourable David C. Onley) in the comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the regulation. The Reviewer submitted his findings to the Minister on January 31, 2019 and his report was tabled in the legislature on March 7, 2019.
  • Provided governance and policy support for two Standards Development Committees and a sub-committee in the review of the employment and information and communications accessibility standards.
  • Provided governance and policy support for three Standards Development Committees and sub-committees in the early development of two accessibility standards in health care and education (kindergarten-to-grade twelve and post-secondary).
  • Implemented a multi-pronged audit strategy to increase compliance activities and reporting rates, including piloting approaches to create efficiencies in the audit process, and working with a third-party service provider to expand the Ministry’s regulatory footprint.

Refer to Appendix for further details.

Ministry organizational chart

  • Minister for Seniors and Accessibility - Raymond Sung Joon Cho
    • Deputy Minister - Marie-Lison Fougère
      • Executive Advisor to the Deputy Minister - Laura Jamer (A)
    • Assistant Deputy Minister, Seniors Policy and Programs - Abby Katz Starr
      • Director, Strategic Policy and Stakeholder Relations - Kathleen Henschel
    • Assistant Deputy Minister, Accessibility Policy, Employment and Outreach - Susan Picarello
      • Director, Accessibility Outreach, Education and Referral - Alfred Spencer
      • Director, Accessibility Policy, Employment and Accessibility Office - Kinney Butterfield (A)
    • Assistant Deputy Minister, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities - Ann Hoy
      • Director, AODA Standards Development and Review - Mary Bartolomucci
      • Director, AODA Compliance and Enforcement - Garth Napier
    • Assistant Deputy Minister/Chief Administrative Officer,Regional and Corporate Services Division - Vacantfootnote 1
    • Director, Communications - Lenni Eubanks (A)footnote 3
    • Legal Director - Peter Spencerfootnote 4
    • Chief Information Officer, Government Services Integration Cluster - Renee Laforet (A)footnote 5

Agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs)

Accessibility Standards Advisory Council (ASAC)

The statutory Accessibility Standards Advisory Council is responsible for providing high-level strategic advice to the Minister responsible for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 on matters related to the implementation of this legislation and other accessibility matters.

Regulatory authority

Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority

The Ministry is responsible for policy and regulatory development related to the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 (RHA) and for managing the government’s accountability relationship with the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA). The RHRA is an independent regulatory body created by the RHA to administer and enforce the RHA and its regulations on behalf of the government. The RHA provides a framework for the regulation of retirement homes in Ontario and establishes an accountability and governance framework between the Ministry and the RHRA.

The RHRA is responsible for licensing retirement homes, educating licensees, and conducting inspections, investigations and enforcement activities. It also handles consumer complaints about retirement homes, provides consumers with information about retirement homes, and maintains a public register of retirement homes in Ontario.

Legislation

The Ministry administers the following legislation:

  • Seniors Active Living Centres Act, 2017
  • Retirement Homes Act, 2010
  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
  • Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001

Detailed financial information

Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility
Table 2: Combined operating and capital summary by vote
Votes/ProgramsEstimates 2019-20 $Change from Estimates 2018-19 $%Estimates 2018-19 $footnote 7Interim Actuals 2018-19 $footnote 7Actuals 2017-18 $footnote 7
Operating Expense
Ministry Administration Program
4,391,80081,9001.94,309,9004,227,1004,268,957
Seniors Affairs Program24,211,300(4,703,000)(16.3)28,914,30025,835,70025,179,606
Accessibility19,451,100(342,400)(1.7)19,793,50017,603,20018,913,974
Total Operating Expense to be Voted48,054,200(4,963,500)(9.4)53,017,70047,666,00048,362,537
Statutory Appropriations47,841(16,173)(25.3)64,01464,01449,301
Ministry Total Operating Expense48,102,041(4,979,673)(9.4)53,081,71447,730,01448,411,838
Total Including Consolidation & Other Adjustments48,102,041(4,979,673)(9.4)53,081,71447,730,01448,411,838
Operating Assets
Ministry Administration Program
1,000(1,000)(50.0)2,0002,000N/A
Total Operating Expense to be Voted1,000(1,000)(50.0)2,0002,000N/A
Ministry Total Operating Assets1,000(1,000)(50.0)2,0002,000N/A
Capital Expense
Ministry Administration Program
1,000N/AN/A1,0001,000N/A
Senior Affairs Program3,002,000(14,037,900)(82.4)17,039,90011,489,900N/A
Total Capital Expense to be Voted3,003,000(14,037,900)(82.4)17,040,90011,490,900N/A
Statutory Appropriations2,000N/AN/A2,0002,000N/A
Ministry Total Capital Expense3,005,000(14,037,900)(82.4)17,042,90011,492,900N/A
Capital Assets
Ministry Administration Program
1,000N/AN/A1,0001,000N/A
Seniors Affairs Program1,000N/AN/A1,0001,000N/A
Total Capital Assets to be Voted2,000N/AN/A2,0002,000N/A
Ministry Total Capital Assets2,000N/AN/A2,0002,000N/A
Ministry Total Operating and Capital Including Consolidation and Other Adjustments (not including Assets)51,107,041(19,017,573)(27.1)70,124,61459,222,91448,411,838

 

Historic Trend Table
Historic Trend Analysis DataActuals 2016-17 $Actuals 2017-18 $Actuals 2018-19 $footnote 8Actuals 2019-20 $
Ministry Total Operating and Capital Including Consolidation and Other Adjustments (not including Assets)37,625,52048,411,83870,124,61451,107,041
%N/A29%45%-27%

For additional financial information, see:

Appendix: 2018-19 annual report

2018-19 Results

A number of initiatives were undertaken and results were delivered to support the government’s key priorities of ensuring responsible and accountable management of resources. The Ministry identified efficiencies by implementing internal saving measures and more effective ways of managing its program delivery for seniors and people with disabilities.

The Ministry’s key activities and results for 2018-19 include:

Seniors program

  • Implemented the Fire Sprinkler Retrofit cost-shared grant program to provide financial assistance to more than 100 licenced small and rural retirement homes –covering more than 4,100 individual suites – to assist with the cost of installing automatic fire sprinkler systems and to comply with new Ontario Fire Code requirements intended to strengthen the fire protective measures so that residents, staff and first responders are safer in the event of a fire emergency.
  • Helped seniors stay active and connected to their communities by adding 40 new centres to the existing network of Seniors Active Living Centres across the province. These centres help meet the needs of Ontario’s growing seniors’ population by offering programming that supports seniors to remain independent, healthy, active, safe and socially engaged. The province now supports a network of 303 centres across Ontario that welcomes more than 105,000 people each year.
  • Supported the government’s efforts to develop and implement a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions strategy through educational resources for seniors.
  • Developed a comprehensive project plan including the implementation of programs and services that allow organizations to build and sustain regional and provincial seniors’ programs over a longer term. The Ministry invested $2.44M in funding for 31 projects under one specific stream of the Seniors Community Grant program in 2018-19.

Accessibility program

  • Embedded accessibility across the OPS by developing a new OPS accessibility governance structure, including a Deputy Ministers’ Accessibility Sub-Committee, to provide ministries with executive support in meeting their AODA and Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP) obligations and building an accessible Ontario.
  • Leveraged partnerships with key stakeholders and employers to facilitate connections and promote accessibility and employment for people with disabilities.
    • Engaged with the Employers’ Partnership Table (EPT), which brings together 17 diverse members from businesses and not-for-profit sectors.
    • Establishing the Business Association Working Group to bring together key business and industry associations.
    • Supported the Discover Ability Network, a sophisticated online portal that matches qualified candidates with jobs. The site also provides employers with easy to use resources to support hiring, retention, and accommodation of people with disabilities.
    • Worked with Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN) to support organizations and facilitate connections with employers.
      • Employment for people with disabilities at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) increased from 58 to 148 in the second year.
      • Rockwool hired 6 people with disabilities in 2018 and has committed to hiring more.
    • Improved employability for recent graduates with disabilities through the OPS Connexions program and increased opportunities in youth employment programs for people with disabilities.
    • Partnered with agencies in the broader Public Sector to pilot employment opportunities for youth with disabilities.
  • Conducted public education and outreach activities to help organizations understand the benefits of accessibility as well as AODA requirements, including through the EnAbling Change Program:
    • Conducted consultations with municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees (AAC) across Ontario to determine the Committees’ needs for successful operation. Recommendations were implemented, including hosting three AAC orientation and training webinars to over 400 new AAC members and municipal clerks.
    • Supported OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Research Centre to develop Our Doors Are Open: Guide for Accessible Congregations a guide that offers different faith communities simple, creative ideas to increase accessibility during worship services, and community events.
    • Supported Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to produce The Business of Accessibility, a guide and webinar series targeted to Ontario’s main street businesses that provides tactics and tools for becoming more accessible.
    • Supported the Conference Board of Canada to develop A Guide for Small Businesses that provides useful tips and tools to implement accessibility into daily business practices.
    • Hosted monthly webinars in various aspects of daily life including Tips and Tools for Accessible Recreation and Main Streets, Youth and Community Involvement in Accessibility.
    • Created three children’s publications on accessibility, to promote inclusion of children with disabilities from an early age.
    • Promoted accessibility and the inclusion of people with disabilities through the Summer Outreach Initiative that provided wide-spread awareness of Ontario’s accessibility laws to the general public across Southern Ontario. This was done through engagements in community events, and family-oriented festivals such as the Honda Indy Toronto, Jazzfest in Kingston, and the Home County Music and Art Festival in London.
    • Developed 15 newsletters on promoting accessibility and worked with Publications Ontario to distribute over 23,000 publications with information on accessibility resources.
  • Oversaw provincial accessibility Standards and Regulation by:
    • Supporting the legislatively required comprehensive review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. The Honourable David C. Onley completed consultations in 2018 and met with people with disabilities and key organizations from across Ontario. Mr. Onley submitted his report to the Minister on January 31, 2019 which was tabled in the Legislature on March 7, 2019.
    • Supporting the review of the employment and information and communications standards by two Standards Development Committees.
    • Working with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Ministry supported a Standards Development Committee in the early development of a proposed accessibility standard for health care focussed on the hospital sector.
    • Working with the Ministries of Education and Training, Colleges and Universities, the Ministry supported two Standards Development Committees in the early development of a proposed accessibility standard for the education sector (kindergarten-to-grade twelve and post-secondary).
    • Implementing a multi-pronged audit strategy to increase compliance activities and reporting rates including piloting approaches to create efficiencies in the audit process, and working with a third-party service provider to expand the Ministry’s regulatory footprint.
Table 3: Ministry interim actual expenditures 2018-19
Type of expenditureMinistry Interim Actual Expenditures ($M) 2018-19footnote 9
Operating47.7
Capital11.5
Staff Strength (as of March 31, 2019)footnote 10139