Ministry overview

Working with our community partners, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services funds, designs and delivers programs and services to support Ontarians in building thriving and resilient communities.

The government’s vision is to build and sustain a connected, person-centred social services system that provides Ontarians with equitable supports that meet their diverse needs in order to stabilize their conditions, help build independence and improve their overall quality of life.

Achieving this vision means creating an inclusive, anti-racist and future-focused organization that sustains and promotes the critical public services that matter most to Ontarians. It also means improving outcomes for children, youth, families and women.

The ministry values its role in helping people reach their full potential and building a stronger Ontario. That includes youth who are in, or at risk of conflict with the law; children, youth and adults with special needs; children and youth in need of protection services; women and Indigenous peoples; and victims of crime.

And it includes helping Ontarians in need of financial or other supports, including those living in poverty, women who are or have been victims of violence and other vulnerable Ontarians who benefit from equality of opportunity.

The government is delivering on its commitment to increase the rates for income support by five per cent beginning in September 2022 for families and individuals under the Ontario Disability Support Program.

This increase will help Ontario Disability Support Program clients cover increased costs for everyday expenses such as groceries, rent and other essentials. Future Ontario Disability Support Program rates will also be adjusted to inflation to help protect Ontario Disability Support Program clients against rising living costs moving forward.

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services is following the government’s overall plan to make every dollar count so we can continue to invest in critical programs.

We are working to eliminate duplication so that valuable programs and services are sustainable and working for the people of Ontario. We will continue to look for opportunities to modernize services, reduce red tape, and streamline to serve Ontarians more effectively.

The ministry is also integrating human service programs, streamlining administration, and simplifying reporting requirements to help people in Ontario find employment and build independence. We are updating and standardizing transfer payment processes, aligning and integrating service contracts, embracing technology and transforming programs to serve clients better.

The ministry is working with partners across many sectors to transform, strengthen and co-ordinate community and developmental services, child welfare, special needs and early intervention.

All Ontarians benefit when we support vulnerable individuals to live in dignity. The ministry’s goal is to continue to put people at the centre of everything it does.

Key accomplishments: 2021–22

MCCSS has made a number of key accomplishments in line with government objectives of protecting Ontario’s most vulnerable people, modernizing service delivery, and providing a sustainable system of social supports to support economic recovery.

Protecting people:

  • Launched new Ontario Autism Program (OAP) services and supports, including core clinical services, caregiver mediated early years programs, and an entry to school program
  • Released Journey to Belonging which lays out the ministry’s long-term vision for developmental services in Ontario
  • Passed the Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy Act, 2021 through the legislature in June, the first of its kind in Canada, and amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017
  • Funded 27 new anti-human trafficking projects that will protect and prevent at-risk individuals from being exploited
  • Established Children at Risk of Exploitation (CARE) Units in Durham Region and City of Toronto, and two licensed sites for specialized out-of-home care for children and youth that have been sex trafficked, a first for Ontario
  • Managed the spread of COVID in congregate care settings through protection measures and investments put in place to reduce transmission and prevented service disruption despite multiple waves.
  • Released Pathways to Safety: Ontario’s strategy in response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in May 2021, which was developed in partnership with the Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council and includes a comprehensive suite of violence prevention commitments across 12 partner ministries.

Modernizing government:

  • Streamlined and modernized the administration of youth justice system through the closure of 26 underutilized facilities, resulting in $39.9M in annual savings.
  • Finalized rollout Electronic Document Management in Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and MyBenefits messaging for Social Assistance clients.
  • Increased online usage. 187K MyBenefits users as of March 31, 2022 (500%+ increase since end of February 2020).
  • Updated the Disability Determination Package to make it easier for Health Care Professionals to provide important information the ministry needs to determine whether a person is eligible for ODSP and supports applicants in explaining how their disability impacts their daily lives. The updated Disability Determination Package was used as the foundation to design the Digital Disability Determination Package.
  • Implemented the Digital Disability Determination Package (D-DDP). The D-DDP provides health care providers and applicants with a modern, digital approach to submit their package, providing an alternative to conventional paper processes.
  • Transferred collection of social assistance sponsorship debt to the Ministry of Finance, resulting in recovery of $27M in 2021–22, a significant increase from the $4M recovered in the previous fiscal year.
  • Mandated use of the AdoptOntario website to support increased opportunities for adoption matches, which is anticipated to increase the number of child profiles added to the website by 250–300 per year.
  • Onboarded 75 of the 80 in-scope programs (94%) from manual administration to the automated Transfer Payment Ontario as part of ongoing efforts to streamline program administration.
  • Introduced Ontario’s vision for a renewed social assistance system to help move towards employment and independence through a focus on person centred supports as a foundation for long-term job success.
  • Introduced an online option for families applying to the Special Services at Home and Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities programs. This is resulting in a more convenient application process for up to 11,000 families per year, who would otherwise submit paper applications to the ministry.

Social Assistance Transformation

The ministry’s vision for social assistance transformation is focused on creating an effective, efficient, and streamlined social services system that focuses on people, by providing them with a range of services and supports to respond to their unique needs, and to address barriers to success so they can move towards employment and independence, where possible, as well as help the economy recover from the COVID‑19 crisis.

At the core of this plan is a new delivery model for social assistance that looks at provincial and municipal roles — not along the traditional program lines of Ontario Works and ODSP, but around who can best provide the service to get the best results.

The province intends to focus on overseeing financial assistance, making it quick and easy for people to access the system while ensuring program integrity.

At the same time, municipal partners would use their expertise in delivering person-centred casework and knowledge of local community supports to provide activities that support people on a pathway to greater independence and employment.

Recognizing the unique needs and priorities of First Nations, the province is working with First Nations partners on a separate plan to renew social assistance in their communities.

In 2021–22, the ministry:

  • expanded the Centralized Intake prototype to 15 additional municipalities, including Toronto, and now provides support for Ontario Works Applications in 35 municipalities and 104 local Ontario Works offices with more than 100,000 applications received and processed to date. Centralized intake for Ontario Works uses time-saving automation and risk-based approaches for eligibility determinations.
  • co-designed a new social assistance service delivery system model with municipal partners to support transformation of the programs
  • received Royal Assent on Ontario Works Act amendments, supporting a focus on person-centred supports
  • partnered with ServiceOntario to enhance the service experience for applicants. Incoming calls from applicants are triaged by ServiceOntario, allowing calls related to Centralized Intake to promptly reach the appropriate staff member.
  • benefits Administration has been centralized for 17 local ODSP Offices, and more than $78 million in benefits have been paid out through the centralized model to date
  • since the Employment Services Transformation (EST) prototype sites were implemented in January 2021, MCCSS continues to work closely with Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) and the social assistance offices within the three catchments communities. Together we have implemented enhancements and improvements to the prototypes that are supporting Social Assistance clients accessing employment services.

Developmental Services

The government is committed to helping to protect the needs of Ontario’s most vulnerable adults and providing a sustainable system that addresses their needs.

In 2021–22, Ontario invested approximately $2.9 billion in services for people with developmental disabilities. Approximately $2 billion was dedicated to providing residential services and supports.

MCCSS also continues to support investment for COVID‑19 supports in congregate care settings, including infection prevention and control (IPAC) resources, COVID‑19 Residential Relief Fund and personal protective equipment.

The ministry inspected over 1,100 adult developmental services congregate living settings, which included observing service agency implementation of public health and ministry guidance to mitigate the risk of a COVID‑19 outbreak by ensuring prevention and preparedness measures were in place.

The ministry worked with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health to help inform and distribute Letters of Instructions requiring employers in certain high-risk congregate living and community settings to develop, implement and report on mandatory vaccination policies for staff, contractors, students, and volunteers.

MCCSS worked with the Ministry of Health and Public Health Units to support vaccination of clients, including high-risk clients living in Developmental Services (DS) congregate care settings through targeted and accessible vaccination efforts. As of October 2021, 97% had received a second vaccination dose. In addition, MCCSS, Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Chief Medical of Health (CMOH) are prioritizing implementation of booster shots for Developmental Services and Intervenor Services congregate care settings.

In May 2021, MCCSS released a long-term plan for developmental services reform (Journey to Belonging: Choice and Inclusion) to continue to improve services and supports for people with developmental disabilities. Since then, MCCSS has made progress on immediate actions to improve current services and supports, as well as foundational steps in the design of the reform commitments.

The ministry is committed to working in partnership with people with developmental disabilities, families and service providers and other partners in the design of commitments in the reform plan. Reform will take place over 8–10 years and the ministry is taking a gradual approach to support people and service providers through changes.

As part of the 2021–22 Budget, $13 million is being invested over three years to assist more people with developmental disabilities in accessing housing in the community and expanding the Adult Protective Service Worker program to support them to live independently.

COVID‑19 has exacerbated existing recruitment and retention challenges while also dramatically increasing the demand for Developmental Service Workers due to an increased need in the DS sector and to provide relief to existing staff who are often over-worked and burned out as a result of the pandemic. In addition, the important and necessary health and human resource initiatives in the health, retirement homes and long-term care sectors risk further destabilizing the DS sector without parallel recruitment and retention investments in the developmental services sector.

Over the course of the past year, the ministry partnered with the sector to design and implement an approach for:

  • a refresh of core competencies that reflect next generation expectations (e.g., individualized supports; skilled practitioners in other key sector(s)
  • middle management training to improve retention of both management and skilled direct support staff, as well as improve leadership capabilities to advance new workforce models and enable a mix of different service models
  • a provincial marketing and recruitment campaign to ensure a stable and sufficient supply of diverse workers that enables people to choose supports responsive to their individual needs

Through the co-creation of a Developmental Services Workforce Initiatives Steering Committee (DSWISC), the ministry brought together a diverse table of stakeholders and sector partners with subject matter expertise: as leaders in human resource management; workforce planning and solutions; front-line workers; knowledge/experience in direct funding; sector program design, delivery and administration; research and education; lived experience in hiring/caring for someone and being supported; as well as a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

This partnership will continue into 2022–23 to improve workforce capacity and support workers in the sector to build a career with more consistent compensation and opportunities for enhanced training and skills development and be recognized as skilled professionals who provide critical services to Ontarians.

Indigenous Community and Prevention Supports

Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy

The government continues to work with Indigenous communities and organizations to build thriving, healthy communities. This includes reducing family violence and violence against Indigenous women and children, and supporting the healing, health and wellness of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and communities in Ontario through the longstanding Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy. In 2021–22, Ontario invested more than $85 million in a continuum of healing, health and wellness programs that are designed and delivered by and for Indigenous peoples in First Nations and in urban and rural communities.

As part of Pathways to Safety: Ontario’s strategy in response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, MCCSS invested $2 million to stabilize funding for Aboriginal Shelters of Ontario to build Indigenous women’s shelter system capacity, and to support new/expanded IHWS Healing Lodges.

Since 2018–19, under Ontario’s Roadmap to Wellness, MCCSS and Ministry of Health are supporting new or expanded Indigenous Mental Health & Addictions Treatment and Healing Centres and other mental health initiatives delivered through the Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy. MCCSS also continues to support community-led responses to the urgent need for mental health care and social crises in northern and remote First Nation communities.

In October 2021, Ontario government announced an additional one-time investment of over $20 million in Indigenous-focused mental health and addictions and trauma services to support community needs.

Ten million dollars of this funding from MCCSS was invested to continue supporting Indigenous-led MCCSS community-based programs, such as the Family Well-Being program and the Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy, which were co-developed with Indigenous partners to reduce violence against Indigenous women, improve healing, health and wellness, and reduce the overrepresentation of children and youth in the child welfare and youth justice systems.

Services and supports for children and youth with special needs, including the Ontario Autism Program

In 2021–22, an additional $60 million was invested to increase access to rehabilitation services (occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech-language pathology) for children and youth with special needs. The funding is helping providers to serve up to 10,000 more preschool-aged children with speech and language needs and up to 47,000 more children and youth with rehabilitation needs annually.

In 2021–22, the ministry worked with Children’s Treatment Centres and other partners to plan for and begin implementation of SmartStart Hubs. Children’s Treatment Centres across the province, and Surrey Place in Toronto, began implementing the SmartStart Hubs in April 2022. The Hubs will better connect parents and caregivers with child development services in their communities as early as possible.

To respond to the individual needs of children and youth on the autism spectrum and their families, the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) will offer a range of services and supports, including core clinical services, foundational family services, caregiver-mediated early years programs, an entry to school program, urgent response services, and care coordination. In 2021–22, the ministry made significant progress in launching new service streams.

As part of the implementation of the OAP, in December 2021 the ministry announced the Independent Intake Organization (the "IIO"). Referred to as AccessOAP, the IIO is led by Accerta Services Inc. and delivered through a partnership with McMaster University, Autism Ontario, and HealthCare 365. The AccessOAP partners bring together significant experience in administering public programs, supporting children and youth on the autism spectrum and their caregivers, care coordination, service navigation, research, and healthcare education. AccessOAP will provide a single point of access to the OAP. The goal of AccessOAP is to support an integrated and consistent service delivery experience for all families and it will play a key role in overseeing the intake and registration process for the OAP, service navigation and family support, as well as providing more families with funding to purchase core clinical services for their children and youth.

In 2021–22 the ministry continued to invest in additional services and supports for families, including diagnostic services, workforce capacity-building projects to increase access to core clinical services including a priority focus on northern communities, and funding of Autism Ontario to host the OAP Provider List.

Autism services and supports, including evidence-based behaviour services, respite services and seasonal camps, continued to be provided to children and youth on the autism spectrum and their families. Children with existing behaviour plans will have the option to enter core clinical services in the order in which they registered with the OAP or extend their plan, up to its current level of intensity, or less where clinically appropriate, until spring 2023, at which time they will begin to transition to core clinical services.

While work was underway to implement the needs-based OAP, the ministry continued to provide interim one-time funding to all eligible families, including those who submitted their registration form and supporting documentation by March 31, 2021. Families who received an initial interim one-time funding payment may be eligible to receive a second payment of $20,000 or $5,000, based on their child’s age as of April 1, to purchase eligible services and supports that they feel are most appropriate for their child.

Child welfare

In July 2020, the ministry announced the Child Welfare Redesign Strategy (CWR) with the vision of an Ontario where every child, youth and family have the supports they need to succeed and thrive. Recognizing the overrepresentation of Indigenous children and youth in the child welfare system, a distinct Indigenous approach is being applied across all parts of the CWR Strategy.

Over the last year of redesign, the ministry has continued to make progress across three long-term goals:

  • strengthening families and communities in partnership with cross-sector providers through enhanced community-based prevention and early intervention
  • taking action against systemic racism and the disproportionalities, outcomes and disparities for Indigenous, Black, 2SLGBTQQIA people and other equity deserving populations in child welfare
  • continuing to improve the service experience and outcomes for children and youth that need protection services, including more family-based placements

Transforming child and family services is a significant undertaking and will take time. Working in partnership with Indigenous partners, children, youth and families (including a focus on diverse communities), community service providers, the child welfare sector and other health and social services partners, the government is taking a phased and measured approach to implement redesigned services and systems that are effective, sustainable and accountable.

Violence Against Women

The government is committed to preventing and addressing violence against women (VAW) in all its forms. In 2021–22, the ministry invested approximately $190 million in community-based agencies across the province to provide services and supports to women and dependents who have experienced violence or are at risk of experiencing violence, including gender-based domestic violence. This includes $3.6 million that went directly to rural and remote agencies to provide critical services to women right in their communities. The government also invested an additional $11 million for violence prevention initiatives.

In 2021–22, the government annualized $11.5M in funding for the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Enhancement, for agencies to support to their current programs, address critical service pressures, and better position them to support innovative service solutions (Initiative was fiscally funded prior to 2021–22).

To ensure that those facing domestic violence do not have to stay with their abuser, the government worked with partners and leaders in the sector to keep shelters open throughout the pandemic. This included providing funding through the Residential Relief Fund to women’s shelters and other residential settings to keep them safe.

As part of the 2021 Budget, an investment of $18.5 million over three years began in 2021–22, in the Transitional and Housing Support Program, to support victims of domestic violence and survivors of human trafficking to find and maintain affordable housing and help them transition to independence.

Anti-human trafficking

The province’s Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy takes a comprehensive approach to combat human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children and youth. It leverages interconnected programs and partnerships to maximize investment outcomes and supports a coordinated and aligned response to human trafficking in Ontario.

Up to $307 million will be invested between 2020–2025 in raising awareness of the issue, protecting victims and intervening early, supporting survivors and holding offenders accountable. This is the largest investment into anti-human trafficking initiatives in Canada’s history between all levels of government.

Of the $307 million, $46 million has been given directly to community organizations that support victims and survivors through the Anti-Human Trafficking Community Supports and Indigenous-Led Initiatives Funds. These organizations will provide trauma-informed supports, culturally-responsive care and help rebuild lives. These programs will be focused on children and youth, who are often lured into trafficking when criminals exploit their vulnerabilities. Furthermore, a number of the programs are Indigenous- designed, delivered, and led, and survivor-led or have survivors working within the organization to help inform and develop their work.

Building on the Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy, additional supports were announced as part of the 2021 Budget, which will help survivors of human trafficking find and maintain affordable housing. This is in addition to the legislation that was passed in June 2021 to strengthen a cross-sectoral and long-term provincial response to human trafficking, further protect victims, better support survivors, and hold offenders accountable. This cross-government approach speaks to the magnitude of the situation and the need to work across sectors and across levels of government to stop this horrific crime in our province and country.

Victim services

The province is committed to standing up for victims of crime and creating safer communities in every region of the province, including Northern and rural communities. As part of Ontario’s commitment to strengthen Ontarians’ access to responsive and resilient victim services no matter where they live, $2.1 million over three years was invested to strengthen frontline services in underserved areas of the province.

New funding, announced in the 2021 Spring Budget, addresses gaps in victim supports in underserved areas by establishing new sexual violence services in Dufferin County and Leeds-Grenville to support survivors through counselling, peer support, advocacy and 24-hour crisis support by phone, and also expands 24/7 victim crisis assistance to victims and their families in Nipissing district.

In 2019, the province began a comprehensive review of victim services across Ontario and engaged with stakeholders to explore opportunities for a more integrated, effective, efficient, and client centred victim services system.

As part of the review, nine victim services programs were transferred to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services as they better align with the ministry’s mandate and fit within the current system of community-based services, including the Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy, Violence Against Women services and programs related to violence prevention. In 2021–22, the government invested $57.8M in nine transferred victim services programs. The transfer will help lay the groundwork for a more coordinated approach to victim services delivery.

Family Responsibility Office

The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is transforming the way it works to increase efficiency and address client service issues so that more money can get to families and children, enabling them to plan for their family’s future. This transformation has been achieved through investments in service improvements and technology, including alternative service channels for clients; accessible, efficient and proactive case management processes; and enhancements to FRO’s case management IT system.

Youth Justice Modernization

The Youth Justice modernization plan is focused on developing a comprehensive and sustainable youth justice services system to meet the needs of youth in custody/detention and on probation. The plan also focusses on rehabilitation and the important role that plays in supporting youth and enabling active participation in, and positive contributions to, their communities.

On March 1, 2021, the ministry undertook a major custody/detention capacity modernization exercise, after several months of planning and internal consultations. After careful consideration and review, the decision to close and reduce the number of beds in underused youth justice open and secure custody and detention facilities was made. A total of 26 facilities/programs across the province were closed, including one (1) ministry-operated facility and 25 operated by transfer payment recipients, resulting in annualized savings of over $39.9 million.

The implementation of the modernization plan was an operational success and any issues that arose in the transition period were managed by regional staff and leadership on a case-by-case basis. The Youth Justice Division is planning to engage in a detailed review of outcomes and lessons learned.

Human and Social Services Transfer Payment Transformation

The ministry is leading cross-government efforts to achieve a more efficient human and social services system by reducing the complexity of how we fund the organizations that provide services to people. We are committed to transforming systems so service providers will spend less time processing and managing transfer payment agreements, and more time working with clients and delivering programs. MCCSS is an early adopter of new transfer payment management approaches which will support change management across the Ontario Public Service by engaging and coordinating efforts across ministries and sectors.

Poverty Reduction Strategy

The ministry is responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy. It leads the development of an updated cross-government strategy every five years and ensures the strategy measures success by setting a target and assessing indicators of poverty reduction.

In December 2020, the province launched Building a Strong Foundation for Success: Reducing Poverty in Ontario (2020–2025). The government is providing supports and services to meet the strategy’s target of increasing the number of social assistance recipients moving to employment each year.

The strategy also includes indicators that measure poverty, education and employment outcomes. To monitor progress on the strategy, the ministry publishes an annual report on the government’s activities to support the strategy and updates relating to the target and indicators set out in the strategy.

Cross-ministry collaboration on social policy priorities

The ministry, in co-partnership with the Ministry of Health, is leading collaboration across ministries to develop effective solutions in response to complex policy and service delivery challenges. We will continue to actively identify and lead forward-looking, outcome-focused, and integrated social policy to improve the lives of Ontarians. MCCSS will continue to partner on social policy initiatives to ensure horizontal ministry collaboration and strategic alignment across the various transformation initiatives.

Table 1: Ministry planned expenditures 2022–23 ($M)
CategoryAmount ($M)
Covid Approvals23
Other Operating18,202.5
Capital123.9
Total18,348.5

Detailed financial information

Table 2: Combined operating and capital summary by vote

Operating expense
DescriptionEstimates 2022–23
($)
Change from 2021–22 Estimates
($)
Change from 2022–22 Estimates
(%)
Estimates 2021–22footnote 1
($)
Interim Actuals 2021–22footnote 1
($)
Actuals 2020–21footnote 1
($)
Ministry Administration101,819,7004,494,4004.697,325,300123,605,30099,537,176
Children and Adult Services18,258,201,900359,792,4002.017,898,409,50017,227,456,40017,275,919,371
Poverty Reduction StrategyN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A1,448,525
Total Operating Expense to be Voted18,360,021,600364,286,8002.017,995,734,80017,351,061,70017,376,905,072
Statutory Appropriations70,232,8656,589,80010.463,634,06575,443,065228,765,315
Ministry Total Operating Expense18,430,254,465370,876,6002.118,059,377,86517,426,504,76517,605,670,387
Consolidation−205,712,500−12,144,0006.3−193,568,500−207,516,900−202,965,569
Ministry Total Operating Expense Including Consolidation18,224,541,965358,732,6002.017,865,809,36517,218,987,86517,402,704,818
Operating assets
DescriptionEstimates 2022–23
($)
Change from 2021–22 Estimates
($)
Change from 2021–22 Estimates
(%)
Estimates 2021–22footnote 1
($)
Interim Actuals 2021–22footnote 1
($)
Actuals 2020–21footnote 1
($)
Ministry AdministrationN/A−1,000−100.01,0001,000N/A
Children and Adult Services78,836,50012,130,50018.266,706,00083,706,00072,107,000
Poverty Reduction StrategyN/A−1,000−100.01,0001,000N/A
Children, Community and Social Services Capital Program1,000N/AN/A1,0001,000N/A
Total Operating Assets to be Voted78,837,50012,128,50018.266,709,00083,709,00072,107,000
Ministry Total Operating Assets78,837,50012,128,50018.266,709,00083,709,00072,107,000
Capital expense
DescriptionEstimates 2022–23
($)
Change from 2021–22 Estimates
($)
Change from 2021–22 Estimates
(%)
Estimates 2021–22footnote 1
($)
Interim Actuals 2021–22footnote 1
($)
Actuals 2020–21footnote 1
($)
Children, Community and Social Services Capital Program72,610,60038,083,600110.334,527,00036,627,00023,254,921
Total Capital Expense to be Voted72,610,60038,083,600110.334,527,00036,627,00023,254,921
Statutory Appropriations59,080,30019,752,80050.239,327,50036,627,00023,254,921
Ministry Total Capital Expense131,690,90057,836,40078.373,854,50075,954,50063,550,910
Consolidation−7,779,900−3,886,70099.8−3,893,200−5,851,300−526,122
Ministry Total Capital Expense Including Consolidation123,911,00053,949,70077.169,961,30070,103,20063,024,788
Capital assets
DescriptionEstimates 2022–23
($)
Change from 2021–22 Estimates
($)
Change from 2021–22 Estimates
(%)
Estimates 2021–22footnote 1
($)
Interim Actuals 2021–22footnote 1
($)
Actuals 2020–21footnote 1
($)
Children, Community and Social Services Capital Program20,171,3001,916,90010.518,254,40017,529,60017,114,041
Total Capital Assets to be Voted20,171,3001,916,90010.518,254,40017,529,60017,114,041
Ministry Total Capital Assets20,171,3001,916,90010.518,254,40017,529,60017,114,041
Ministry Total Operating and Capital Including Consolidation (not including Assets)18,348,452,965412,682,3002.317,935,770,66517,289,091,06517,465,729,606

Historic trend table

Historic trend analysis data
DescriptionActual 2018-19footnote 2
($)
Actual 2019-20footnote 2
($)
Estimates 2020–21footnote 2
($)
Estimates 2021–22
($)
Ministry Total Operating and Capital Including Consolidation and Other Adjustments (not including Assets)16,800,177,34117,066,277,89517,465,729,60617,935,770,665
Percent changeN/A2%2%3%

For additional financial information, see:

Contact: Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs)

Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs)
Commission2022–23 Estimates
$
2021–22 Interim Actuals
$
2020–21 Actuals
$
Soldiers’ Aid Commission1,548,800576,67063,300

The mandate of the Soldiers’ Aid Commission (the commission) was expanded in January 2021 to allow financial support to all eligible Veterans in the province under the Soldiers’ Aid Commission Act, 2020. The commission provides eligible applicants with up to $2,000 over a 12-month period per household for eligible expenses. This funding supplements support offered by the Royal Canadian Legion and Veterans Affairs Canada.

MCCSS provides the commission with annual funding for payments to applicants approved for financial assistance to support the program.

The commission’s board of directors shall consist of at least three members and no more than 11 members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The majority of the members of the board of directors shall consist of veterans or individuals who are either the parent, spouse, child or sibling of a Veteran.

The relationship between SAC and the ministry is governed by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the commission and the minister. The chair of the commission reports directly to the minister.

In 2021–22, as part of the government’s commitments to supporting Ontario’s vulnerable Veterans, MCCSS provided $529,339 in funding from the commission’s allocation to True Patriot Love Foundation to support a range of Ontario-based initiatives for Veterans and their families with a focus on mental-health.

Fiscal 2022–23 funding includes SAC payments to eligible applicants and $806,337 in funding to True Patriot Love Foundation to provide support for several mental-health focused initiatives.

Ministry organization chart

  • Deputy Minister — Denise Cole
    • Director, Policy and Operations — Seema Chhabra
    • Director, Legal Services Branch — Elaine Atkinson
    • Director, Communications — Valerie Hopper
    • Director, Delivery Office — Chris Ling
    • Executive Assistant to DM Cole — Sarah McNally
    • ADM, Social Assistance Programs — Cordelia Clarke Julien
      • Director, Social Assistance Program Policy — Laura Belfie
      • Director, Social Assistance Performance and Accountability — Jeff Bowen
      • Director, Social Assistance Central Services — Andres Laxamana
      • Director, Social Assistance Service Delivery — Patti Redmond
      • Director, Business Innovation & Implementation — Sunny Sharma
      • Director, Social Assistance Strategy and Transformation — Lindsay Jones
    • ADM, Youth Justice — David Mitchell
      • Director, Strategic Innovation and Modernization — Bre Betts
      • Director, Quality Assurance and Oversight — Mateen Khan
      • Director, Programming, Interventions and Evaluation — Bridget Sinclair
      • Director, Service Delivery — Teresa Sauve
    • ADM, Child Welfare and Protection — David Remington
      • Director, Child Welfare Operations — Michael Richardson
      • Director, Child Welfare Secretariat — Sandra Bickford
      • Director, Children and Youth at Risk — Saba Ferdinands
      • Director, Child Well-being — Chester Langille
    • ADM, Children with Special Needs — Jennifer Morris
      • Director, Autism Branch — Sarah Hardy
      • Director, Children’s Facilities — Shannon Bain
      • Director, Integration & Program Effectiveness Branch — Stacey Weber
      • Director, Child Development and Special Services Branch — Ziyaad Vahed
    • ADM, Community Services — Rupert Gordon
      • Director, Community and Indigenous Supports Branch — Harriet Grant
      • Director, Developmental and Supportive Services Branch — Jody Hendry
      • Director, Community and Developmental Services Policy Branch — Laura Summers
      • Director, Implementation and Reporting Branch — Christine Kuepfer
      • Regional Service Delivery Directors — Karen Singh (Central Region), Jeff Gill (East Region), Linda Chihab (West Region), Sherri Rennie (Toronto Region), Sandra Russell (North Region)
    • ADM, Business Intelligence & Practice — Aki Tefera
      • Director, Data Strategy and Solutions Platform — Mandeep Flora
      • Director, Analytics and Measurement — Cindy Perry
      • Director, Integrated Analytics Exploration — Heidi Gordon
    • ADM, Strategic Policy — Karen Glass
      • Director, Planning and Strategic Policy — Mike Bannon
      • Director, Transformation and Modernization — Sheila De Cuyper
      • Director, Human and Social Services Transfer Payment Project Office — Chris Ling
    • Chief Information Officer, Children, Youth and Social Services I&IT Cluster — Alex Coleman
      • Director, Community and Social Services I&IT Solutions — Aleem Syed
      • Director, Children and Youth I&IT Solutions — Joachim Kabiawu
      • Director, Shared and Community Services I&IT — Jairo Munoz
      • Director, Cluster Management Office — Kelly Garant
      • Director, I&IT Operations — Joven Obias
      • Director, Enterprise Architecture Office — Alvin Lourdes
    • ADM/CAO, Business Planning and Corporate Services — Drew Vanderduim
      • Director, Business Planning — Teuta Dodbiba
      • Director, Controllership and Fiscal Reporting — Rosie Teng
      • Director, Operational Finance — Angela Allan
      • Director, Strategic Business Unit — Patricia Kwasnik
      • Director, Community Services Audit Services — Gordon Nowlan
      • Director, Capital Planning and Delivery — Tony Lazzaro
      • Director, Corporate Services — Christie Hayhow
    • ADM, Family Responsibility Office — Trevor Sparrow
      • Director, Client Liaison — Bani Bawa
      • Director, Case Triage & Resolution — Eric Dorman
      • Director, Strategic and Operational Effectiveness — George Karlos
      • Director, Client Operations — Erin O’Connor
      • Director, FRO Legal Services — Hari Viswanathan
  • Deputy Minister — Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity — Marie-Lison Fougère
    • EA to the Deputy Minister Responsible for Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity– Laura Jamer
    • ADM, Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity — Barbara Simmons
      • Director, Strategic Policy & Analysis — Charene Gillies
      • Director, Program Integration — Vena Persaud

Annual report

Overview

The expanded Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services was created in June 2018. The ministry brought together several major social programs and services that support Ontarians. This year’s focus was on streamlining program delivery and reducing costly and unnecessary administration work to improve outcomes for people.

2021–22 Results

Throughout the COVID‑19 pandemic, including in 2021–22, MCCSS implemented a timely and responsive approach to COVID‑19 by actively enhancing protections for staff and residents of congregate living settings, addressing gaps in guidance, and improving operational capacity across sectors. This included:

  • providing COVID-related communications to service providers including updates to the Congregate Living Settings and Youth Justice Guidance — COVID‑19 guidance for congregate living settings funded and licensed by MCCSS. The guidance covers masking, PPE, testing, requirements for visitors, admissions and transfers, self-isolation and outbreak protocols.
  • working with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (OCMOH) to help inform and distribute Letters of Instructions requiring service providers in certain sectors to develop and report on staff vaccination policies with the goal of reducing COVID‑19 transmission in high-risk settings
  • working closely with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ministry of Health, Public Health Units and the Ministry of the Solicitor General to support COVID‑19 vaccination efforts in congregate living settings and providing funding to service providers with congregate living sites to support vaccination efforts including staffing related expenses
  • leading targeted efforts, informed by data collected by the ministry, and working with partners such as the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS), to increase vaccinations and mitigate vaccine hesitancy in populations with low vaccination rates and highest health risk (e.g., people with disabilities) by facilitating vaccination clinics
  • actively partnering in the development and implementation of the Ministry of Health-led Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Hub model, and aligning the ministry’s approach of IPAC Champions to support the model and build sector capacity
  • maintaining the supply and distribution of PPE for MCCSS service providers, shipping over 80 million PPE since the beginning of the pandemic

In addition, the government continued to make significant investments to support individuals and families in financial crisis and those who rely on social services. This included more than $1 billion in social services relief funding to help protect the health and safety of the province’s most vulnerable people in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic.

During the COVID‑19 pandemic, the province and its delivery partners continued to provide strong front-line services and supports to over 600,000 social assistance recipients and their families. Program delivery for both ODSP and Ontario Works continued to be flexible and nimble, ensuring the income support and benefits were issued in a timely manner to vulnerable Ontarians. Social assistance remained a critical service throughout the pandemic with front line staff focusing on delivering timely services to those most in need. Ontario Works and ODSP clients continued to have access to discretionary benefits through Ontario Works to assist with one-time exceptional needs. The ministry worked closely with the 47 municipal and district service manager partners, including 102 Ontario Works First Nation delivery agents who determine allocations based on community need.

The ministry also made continued investments to support service partners across the province including but not limited to: The COVID‑19 Residential Relief Fund (CRRF) and the COVID‑19 Community Supports fund (CCSF) to support service providers in addressing financial and service delivery pressures resulting from exceptional challenges during the COVID‑19 outbreak in managing the health and well-being of children, youth and adults supported in residential and non-residential settings, as well as the staff who support them.

The government placed a moratorium on youth aging out of care. This was to ensure that no youth who turned 18 or were receiving extended services until aged 21 would be involuntarily removed from their supports. This moratorium has been extended until September 30, 2022.

Through the Pandemic Pay program and the temporary wage enhancement the ministry provided more than $420 million to support front-line workers, which has now become permanent. This funding supported workers who provide direct assistance with personal care, respite and community activity participation in residential settings, day programming and children and youth service settings across the province. Effective October 1, 2020, these workers also included those that provide direct support services for adults with a developmental disability.

Temporary wage enhancements were also available to eligible full- and part-time staff employed by family and individual recipients of the direct funding programs.

In March 2020, the supply chain of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was centralized under the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) and the Ministry of Health (MOH). To relieve pressure on the MGCS supply chain, MCCSS partnered with the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies in April 2020 and developed a streamlined process to distribute PPE for MCCSS service providers, providing over 80 million PPE to providers since the beginning of the pandemic.

The ministry continues to work with the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) to provide warehousing and delivery of PPE focused primarily on providing essential PPE items: gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer, face shields, surgical/procedural masks, and disinfectant wipes. Niche/specialized PPE availability is driven by demand and may be available through the MCCSS supply chain.

In addition, the ministry enabled timely and prioritized access for MCCSS service providers to HEPA filters and CO2 monitors to support improved air ventilation by leveraging Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies’ distribution system. This ensured timely access to infection prevention and control measures for service providers who support vulnerable populations at no cost to the provider.

MCCSS continues to partner with the Ministry of Health to support congregate care service providers in accessing rapid antigen test kits at no cost through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program (PASP). These tests have been used as an extra layer of protection for individuals who live and work in congregate living settings. The kits are also provided through the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies’ distribution system.

The ministry underwent a two-year initiative with the developmental services sector to identify and address the immediate needs of families, caregivers and individuals during COVID‑19 and beyond, enable a more coordinated and collaborative approach to supports offered, as well as develop content and online tools to help families, caregivers and individuals with a developmental disability.

The online content focuses on specific pandemic related challenges and offers ideas and links to key resources for individuals, families and caregivers. Mental health online courses were also offered to families and caregivers, as well as leveraging digital tools for peer-to-peer supports and mentorship connections. This partnership also put foundational pieces in place to build capacity in the sector and sustain efforts beyond COVID‑19.

The ministry continued to work closely with its agencies and partners through this challenging time to see what other measures can be taken to support them. These financial commitments will continue to help Ontario’s most vulnerable get through this difficult and challenging time.

Developmental and community services

In 2021–22, Ontario invested approximately $2.9 billion in services for people with developmental disabilities. Approximately $2 billion was dedicated to providing residential services and supports.

Services provided may include supported accommodation and help participating in the community or with activities of daily living. Some individuals may require higher levels of support like full residential care and other specialized services.

As of December 31, 2021, the Passport program supported 56,451 adults with a developmental disability by providing direct funding to support activities of daily living, community participation and caregiver respite. This included 3,027 approvals completed by Passport Agencies as of December 31, 2021.

Interpreting Services

Interpreting Services facilitate communication between adults who are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or deafblind and those with hearing and/or who do not use American Sign Language (ASL), la langue des Québécoise (LSQ) or other non-standard forms of visual language in a variety of health, mental health, and community settings. Further, in keeping with the recognition of equality rights under the Charter identified in the Supreme Court of Canada’s Eldridge decision (1997), Interpreting Services enable the administration and funding of emergency sign language Interpreting Services as it pertains to health or mental health services.

Ontario funds Canadian Hearing Services to provide Interpreting Services to more than 9,000 people who are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and deafblind.

In 2020–21, the ministry allocated $7.3M to the Interpreting Services program.

Intervenor Services

Intervenor Services provides auditory and visual information to people who have a combined loss of hearing and vision to enable them access to services, information, and facilitate communication so that they can participate in their communities, make informed decisions, and achieve and/or maintain independence.

Ontario funds 24 transfer payment recipients to provide Intervenor Services to more than 400 people who have a combined loss of both hearing and vision.

In 2020, the ministry allocated $59.6M to the Intervenor Service Program and in 2021, $56.7M was allocated to the Program.

The ministry continues to work with the Intervenor Services sector to finalize components of the Renewal Strategy, including the introduction of a needs-based funding model, to modernize the program and provide a more transparent, accessible, equitable and provincially consistent experience for people who are deafblind while strengthening the program’s overall accountability and long-term sustainability.

Services and supports for Children with Special Needs

The ministry supported and provided flexibility to Children with Special Needs and Autism service providers to implement innovative service models that support the continuity of care for children and families, where appropriate and maintain service volumes.

The ministry implemented temporary changes to its direct-funding family support and respite programs to support families while physically distanced at home and while community-based programs and services are closed, including expanding the list of eligible expenses and removing the deadline to submit invoices for reimbursement.

Ontario also provided a wage enhancement of $3/hour for personal support workers and direct support workers hired by families.

Ontario Autism Program

The OAP offers a range of services and interventions supports designed to respond to the individual needs of children and youth on the autism spectrum, and their families.

In 2021–22, the ministry made significant progress in launching new OAP service pathways and program supports:

  • core clinical services that include applied behaviour analysis, speech language pathology, occupational therapy and mental health services including counselling and/or psychotherapy
  • early years supports, including caregiver-mediated early years programs and an entry to school program, to help young children access critical services when they will benefit most, and to prepare them to enter school for the first time
  • urgent response services to provide time-limited services to respond rapidly to eligible children and youth who are experiencing a specific, urgent need to help stabilize the situation, prevent crisis, and reduce the risk of them harming themselves, others and/or property
  • care Coordinators to support families throughout their journey by providing orientation to the program, service navigation and help with managing transitions

This was in addition to foundational family services, which was launched in 2020–21, for all families registered in the program to build their capacity to support their child’s learning and development.

Starting in March 2021, children and youth from across the province representing a diverse sample of OAP registrants started to receive requests to participate in core clinical services. By the end of 2021–22, 771 children and youth had enrolled in core clinical services.

In December 2021, the ministry announced the selection of the Independent Intake Organization, named AccessOAP, to provide a single point of access and an integrated and consistent service delivery experience for all families. AccessOAP is on schedule to start supporting families in spring 2022 and will provide more families with funding to purchase core clinical services for their children and youth. Families will enter core clinical services in the order that they registered for the OAP.

The ministry continued to provide interim one-time funding to eligible families who submitted their registration form and supporting documentation by March 31, 2021. In addition, families who received an initial interim one-time funding payment were also eligible to receive a second payment of $5,000 or $20,000 based on their child’s age as of April 1, so that they could continue to purchase eligible services and supports that were most appropriate for their child.

Overall, in 2021–22, the OAP supported about 40,000 children through existing behaviour plans, childhood budgets, interim funding, core clinical services and other services and supports.

Early intervention and special needs services

Beginning in 2021–22, an increase of $60M helped build capacity, streamline, and improve access to early intervention and special needs services. The funding is supporting approximately 10,000 more pre-school age children with speech and language needs, and approximately 47,000 more children and youth to access assessment and intervention for speech and language pathology, occupational therapy and physiotherapy in community-based settings and in publicly funded schools.

As part of this investment, the government announced the creation of 22 new SmartStart Hubs, to connect families with services in their communities as early as possible. Children’s Treatment Centres across the province and Surrey Place in Toronto, will deliver SmartStart Hubs services families who have concerns about their child’s development and who don’t know where to go for support. SmartStart Hubs began implementation in March/April and are expected to be delivering services to families across Ontario by late fall of 2022.

Social assistance

In 2021–22, about 900,000 Ontarians monthly received some form of social assistance. Efforts were focused on service excellence, organizational effectiveness and accountability. The ministry also made technology advancements, enhanced staff training, made stronger partnerships with community partners and streamlined processes to improve service delivery and ensure fiscal responsibility.

The ministry continued to advance its transformation plan to build a more responsive, efficient and person-centred social assistance system to get people back to work, where possible, and help the economy recover from the COVID‑19 crisis.

The province has also worked with municipalities to design a vision for social assistance transformation to ensure people are getting the right supports at the right time so they can re-enter the workforce. The vision outlines plans for a new social assistance delivery model that would allow frontline workers to focus on results for people rather than paperwork. Under the proposed new delivery model:

  • the province would focus on overseeing social assistance applications and payments making it quick and easy for people to access the system while safeguarding program integrity. Currently 47 municipalities and District Social Services Administration Board service managers co-fund and manage delivery of social assistnce in Ontario.
  • municipal partners would use their expertise to deliver person-centred casework and knowledge of local supports to help people get back to work and access supports to stabilize their lives such as housing and health care

Starting in 2021–22, the ministry began working alongside its municipal partners to co-design a new system in support of this transformation vision and plan.

It has also begun implementation, focusing on developing new digital tools and modern service options, prototyping ways to process financial assistance faster, and improving access to employment and training services:

  • Digital Delivery: New digital tools and modern service options with an easy-to-use online application, expansion of the MyBenefits digital platform to improve access for people receiving social assistance and new communications channels to allow two-way digital messaging between clients and caseworkers.
  • Centralized Intake: A client-facing online centralized intake process that reduces municipal paperwork, giving caseworkers more time to support clients through crisis and help them get back to work. Supported by automated, smarter eligibility verification with provincial, federal and third-party sources to make financial assistance processing faster, while strengthening program integrity. Expanded to 35 Ontario Works sites and processing 85% of applications across the province in early 2022.
  • Employment Services Transformation: The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities (MTCU), now Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD), have been working together to strengthen employment services for those on social assistance. The ministries have proceeded with the implementation of the transformed and integrated employment service delivery model in three prototype areas — Region of Peel, Hamilton-Niagara, and Muskoka-Kawarthas.

Employment Services Transformation was implemented in January 2021 in the three prototype areas in the province. The implementation included the introduction of the Common Assessment tool that will support assessing clients’ needs in a consistent approach as well as the introduction of the Action Plan functionality to help provide person-centred supports including the tracking of goals, referrals and needs.

In June 2021, MLTSD announced that the Employment Services Transformation (EST) model would be rolled out across the province using a carefully sequenced approach using a two-stage competitive process. In September 2021, MLTSD announced the Phase 1 catchments: York, Halton, Kingston-Pembroke, Stratford-Bruce. Integrated services will begin in the phase 1 catchments in April 2023.

In April 2022, MLTSD will be proceeding with the competitive process for an additional five catchments, known as Phase 2. The phase 2 catchment areas are: Durham, London, Ottawa, Windsor-Sarnia and Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie. The final phase will be Toronto and the Northern catchment with the competitive process occurring in 2023.

The integration of social assistance employment supports into Employment Ontario aligns with the social assistance transformation plan as it allows staff to increase focus on person-centered supports and become an integral part of the network that helps people so they can achieve their full potential and have job success.

Learnings and outcomes from the prototype sites will be used to inform subsequent phases of transformation.

In support of Employment Services Transformation and the transformation vision, in 2021, the ministry received Royal Assent on the Ontario Works Act amendments to reflect the role of person-centred supports in addressing clients’ unique needs and barriers.

Child welfare

Following broad engagement, in July 2020, the government announced Ontario’s multi-year Child Welfare Redesign Strategy.

Services will focus on strengthening families and communities through prevention, early intervention and seeking more permanent homes for children and youth in care when they cannot stay in their own homes or communities. It also focuses on providing children and youth in care with high-quality residential, or out of home care, and the supports they need to be safe, succeed and thrive as they transition from care to adulthood.

Accomplishments over the last year include:

  • New statutory amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 that respond to calls from Indigenous communities for a child welfare system that better reflects the central and unique role First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples play in the well-being of their families.
  • As part of a first phase of implementation of the Quality Standards Framework (QSF), intended to improve the quality of care children in out of home care receive, the ministry has developed new and amended legal requirements in regulation, training videos, and a child-friendly guide to the QSF, all informed by feedback and engagement with sector partners and youth with lived experience in out of home care.
  • Ontario entered into a tripartite coordination agreement with Wabaseemoong Independent Nations and the Government of Canada under the federal statute An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families. This is the first such agreement in Ontario and the second in Canada.
  • Implemented new processes, including investment of $4.5 million, to foster opportunities for community partners and families to co-design solutions that re-imagine how child, youth and family services are delivered in their own communities in order to expand the availability of services that are high quality, culturally appropriate and truly responsive to needs.
  • Ontario provided support for the establishment of Northwestern Ontario Métis Child and Family Services, the first dedicated prevention-focused Métis child and family services provider in Ontario.
  • Amended the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 (CYFSA) to strengthen Ontario’s response to child sex trafficking by providing grounds for protection that explicitly include child sex trafficking, strengthening protections with respect to 16- and 17-year-old victims of sexual exploitation resulting from child sex trafficking, and strengthening offence provisions and corresponding penalties to be utilized in situations where an individual interferes with or harbours a child who is in society supervision or care.
  • Introduced new financial supports for kinship service placements to promote family-based placements and support kin to care for children in need of protection.
  • Investments in adoption to help children’s aid societies find more permanent homes for children and to enhance post-adoption financial and non-financial supports for adoptive parents to support stable and successful adoptions.

Violence Against Women (VAW) services

In 2021–22, the ministry invested approximately $172 million in community-based agencies across the province to provide services and supports to women and their dependents who have experienced violence or are at risk of experiencing violence, including gender-based and domestic violence. This funding directly supports more than 400 agencies including Indigenous organizations providing supports to Indigenous women and children.

The ministry also continued the following fiscal investments, which were first introduced in 2018:

  • VAW Enhancement Funding: $11.5 million for agencies to support to their current programs, address critical service pressures, and better position them to support innovative service solutions.
  • Rural and Remote Services and Supports: Up to $3.6 million for rural frontline agencies to increase collaboration, strengthen service delivery, improve culturally relevant supports for Indigenous women, and reduce geographic and transportation barriers to accessing services and supports.
  • Children and Youth Services and Supports: Up to $2.9 million for prevention and early intervention services and supports for children and youth in VAW emergency shelters, and in Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy’s shelters, Healing Lodges and the Family Violence Healing Program.

Anti-human trafficking

Ontario’s Anti-human Trafficking Strategy, the largest investment in dedicated Anti-Human Trafficking supports in Canadian history, was announced in 2020. It invests up to $307M over five years and seeks to: Raise awareness of the issue through training and public awareness campaigns, empowering frontline service providers to take early action to prevent human trafficking before it occurs; support survivors through specialized services; and give law enforcement tools and resources they need to hold offenders accountable. The ministry moved forward on developing and implementing a number of strategic initiatives to help combat human trafficking and to better support survivors in 2021–22. These included:

  • launching CARE Units in the City of Toronto and Durham Region. CARE Units pair police officers and child protection workers in teams to identify, locate and engage youth who are at high risk of child sex trafficking to connect them to community-based services remove and investigate offenders.
  • establishing two new licensed residences for trafficked youth to provide specialized programming and wraparound services and supports to respond to the complex trauma experienced by children and youth who have been sexually exploited (located in the City Toronto and Durham Region)
  • additional annualized funding of $2.6M was approved through MOH’s Roadmap to Wellness Mental Health and Addictions Strategy to establish to two healing lodges/land-based treatment programs for Indigenous children and youth who have been sex trafficked
  • expanding access to dedicated, anti-human trafficking youth-in-transition workers, to provide enhanced human trafficking supports to youth in and leaving the care of children’s aid societies
  • expanding access to specialized Mental Health and Addictions Liaisons for Indigenous survivors of HT. Specialized Mental Health and Addictions Liaisons will work with Indigenous communities and organizations to identify community needs and assist in building capacity to address mental health, addictions, trafficking and support Indigenous survivors of trafficking
  • specialized training on understanding and working with sexually exploited youth (SEY) that includes an Indigenous-specific component is underway with capacity building activities complete — to continue delivery throughout the Strategy. Eight rounds of training have been completed, with approximately 135 individuals trained.
    • This intensive training focuses on frontline professionals in sectors where the likelihood of encountering or working with individuals at risk of/being trafficked is high (e.g., child welfare, police, victim services, violence against women organizations, youth justice).
  • public awareness initiatives are ongoing as there is continued work to expand the province wide marketing campaign over the years to further raise awareness about this crime and ensure that everyone knows where to get help, especially to those most vulnerable such as our children and youth. To-date, 240,638 materials have been disseminated at 972 locations via ministry partners.
  • developing public education materials to respond to specific sector needs and expanding distribution of existing awareness materials through partnerships across government and sector
  • collaborating with the Ministries of Education and the Solicitor General on the development and release of an anti-sex trafficking policy framework for school boards, school authorities, and provincial and demonstration schools that addresses awareness, prevention, response, training, and accountability — Policy/Program Memorandum 166: Keeping Students Safe: Policy Framework for School Board Anti-Sex Trafficking Protocols
  • passing comprehensive legislation to further underscore the government’s commitment to raising awareness of this brazen crime, protecting victims and intervening early, supporting survivors and holding offenders accountable
    • the new Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy Act, 2021, mandates a long-term response as it requires the province to maintain an anti-human trafficking strategy and review/update it every 5 years with regard to specific principles and consultation requirements
    • amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017, strengthen the ability of children’s aid societies and law enforcement to protect exploited children
  • partnering with communities to provide community-based, prevention-focused initiative that supports locally responsive, targeted prevention and resilience-building programs to address the root causes that make youth vulnerable to violence and victimization, including human trafficking

Indigenous Community and Prevention Supports

The government continues to work with Indigenous partners to reduce family violence and violence against Indigenous women and children, and support the health and wellness of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and communities in Ontario.

In 2020–21, through the longstanding Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy, Ontario invested over $71M through pooled government funding (MCCSS, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Indigenous Affairs) in a continuum of healing, health and wellness programs across the province that are designed and delivered by and for Indigenous peoples.

The network of Indigenous-led programs and services funded through the Strategy includes Healing Lodges, Community Wellness Workers, Crisis Teams, Emergency Women’s Shelters and Family Violence Healing programs, Mental Health and Addictions Treatment and Healing Centres, and capacity building programs. Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy programs are delivered from more than 240 sites across the province and provide over 650 full time jobs for Indigenous peoples.

In addition, the ministry is investing $95.4 million in Indigenous Community and Prevention Supports to support improved outcomes and well-being for First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous children and youth, families, individuals, and communities. Through a consolidated funding approach, the ministry is working with First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous partners to support the development of a coordinated system of services, prioritize prevention, and build on the success of the Family Well-Being program to reduce the over-representation of Indigenous children and youth in the child welfare and youth justice systems.

Soldiers’ Aid Commission

The Soldiers’ Aid Commission provides financial assistance to Ontario’s eligible Veterans and their families in financial need. The program provides financial support of up to $2,000 over a twelve-month period for home, health, specialized equipment, employment and personal supports to eligible Ontario Veterans and their eligible family members.

Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity

The ministry believes in an Ontario where all girls and women reach their full potential. The ministry is proud to support services and programs that advance gender equity and equality for women and girls. We collaborate with women’s organizations and across government to advance women’s equality, support their safety and well-being and improve their economic security and prosperity.

In June 2020, Ontario established the Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council (IWAC) to provide input on actions related to human trafficking and child, youth and family well-being to the Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. The Council includes First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ leaders on violence prevention who also provide input on Pathways to Safety: Ontario’s strategy in response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. To date, the Council has held 12 meetings to ensure culturally relevant and effective changes are made to policies to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals.

The Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council (IWAC) has been extended for an additional 3 years to March 2025. The ministry will continue to work with the Council on key violence prevention issues and the implementation of Pathways to Safety.

The ministry also supports the delivery of gender-based violence prevention and economic empowerment initiatives for women that focus on advancing equity, supporting women’s safety and improving women’s economic security. Examples of programs include:

  • Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin (I am a Kind Man): Delivered by the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, Kizhaay provides culturally-based resources and community services and is dedicated to engaging Indigenous men and youth in ending violence against Indigenous women and children.
  • Preventing Gender-based Violence Program: Seeks to change the harmful norms, attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate gender-based violence and its escalation to femicide in Ontario.
  • Building Indigenous Women’s Leadership: Delivered by the Ontario Native Women’s Association and Equay-wuk women’s group, this program provides leadership training and mentorship to Indigenous women to help them take on leadership roles in their communities.
  • Women’s Economic Security Program: Provides pre-employment, pre-apprenticeship, entrepreneurship training and wrap-around supports to low-income women to equip them with the skills, knowledge and experience to increase their economic security.
  • Investing in Women’s Futures: Supports 23 women’s centres to deliver programs and services that promote women’s economic security, safety and well-being.

In the 2021 Budget, the government announced the creation of a task force to provide advice to the Minister of Finance and the Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues to address the unique and disproportionate economic barriers women face.

Supported by the Office of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity and the Ministry of Finance, the task force met several times over the summer 2021 and considered three areas of focus relating to women’s participation in economic growth. Their work was informed by voices from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Informed by the task force’s work, Ontario took several steps to address the economic challenges facing women, including increasing funding to the Investing in Women’s Futures program and new investments in targeted supports for Indigenous, Black and racialized entrepreneurs to start or grow their businesses.

At the 2021 annual meeting of Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women, Ontario joined other provinces in Associate Minister Dunlop joined her colleagues in conditionally endorsing the National Action Plan to end Gender-Based Violence. The National Action Plan will affirm a common vision, principles and goals for responding to gender-based violence and a commitment to further FPT collaboration.

The ministry also funds 31 English and 11 French language Sexual Assault Centres (SACs) across the province, to enhance the safety of women and non-binary survivors of sexual assault. SACs provide a wide range of services, including 24-hour crisis lines; supportive counselling; referrals to other community services; court, police and hospital accompaniment; and public and professional education on the issue of sexual violence. SACs are community-based agencies governed by a local Board of Directors or a collective, and the services provided are free and confidential. Ontario has been funding Sexual Assault Centres since 1980, and transferred to MCCSS April 1, 2022, as a part of the Victim Services Review, which supports a more coordinated approach to victim services delivery.

In 2021–22, MCCSS provided a total of $2 million in additional annualized funding for sexual assault centres across Ontario to support the important work they are doing for victims and survivors of sexual assault and human trafficking.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

In May 2021, Ontario released Pathways to Safety: Ontario’s strategy in response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Co-led with the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, this strategy is a five-year, cross-government commitment that seeks to address the root causes of violence so Indigenous women, children and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people can live in safety and security.

Throughout this past year Ontario continued collaboration with the Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council and Indigenous partners to deliver on the strategy, as well as providing other services, supports and investments in collaboration with 12 other ministry partners. In March 2022, Ontario’s Progress Report on Pathways to Safety was released, profiling progress on 37 initiatives ranging from education and health to justice and anti-Indigenous racism. Both the Pathways to Safety strategy and Progress Report were well-received by Indigenous partners. Ontario will continue to work with communities as the strategy continues to be implemented in 2022–23 and beyond.

Gender and Diversity Analysis

Through gender and diversity analysis training and tools, consideration of intersectional impacts and cross-ministry work, the ministry leads and influences work to improve outcomes for women and underserved groups across the province. Gender and Diversity Analysis (GDA) supports government to identify both positive and negative impacts of policies, programs and services on women, men, gender-diverse and racialized persons in Ontario. GDA helps identify equitable solutions to improve outcomes for everyone across Ontario.

In March 2021, the ministry developed and launched a GDA digital course hosted on the internal OPS training portal (LearnON). As of April 2022, 959 learners from across the OPS have completed the digital course and the ministry has delivered over 30 tailored workshops and promotional engagements on the importance of intersectional and equitable policy and program development. After having completed the digital GDA training, learners have reported significant increases in their knowledge and understanding of intersectionality, equity and equality, and the importance of Gender and Diversity Analysis on developing equitable and inclusive government initiatives.

Youth Justice Services

The ministry administers or funds programs and services for youth in, or at risk of conflict with the law between the ages of 12 and 17 at the time of offence.

The objectives of the youth justice programs provided or funded by the ministry are to reduce re-offending, contribute to community safety and prevent youth crime through rehabilitative programming, holding youth accountable, successfully transitioning youth out of custody and creating opportunities for youth at risk.

There are a range of community-based and custody-based programs for youth who do come into conflict with the law that support and respond to their individual risks, needs and strengths.

All youth justice programs are aligned with the principles and provisions set out in the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act and the provincial Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017. The Youth Justice Continuum of Services includes prevention, diversion, probation, custody and detention, reintegration and rehabilitation, and community-based programs. Included in this continuum of youth justice services are culturally relevant and gender-responsive programs intended to respond to the diverse needs of youth.

Since the Youth Criminal Justice Act came into force in April 2003, there has been an increased focus on prevention, diversion and community-based programs. The success of these programs has led to an 88% reduction in the number of youths admitted to custody and detention in Ontario from 2004–05 to 2020–21.

Table 3: Ministry interim actual expenditures 2021–22
CategoryMinistry Interim Actual Expenditures ($M) 2021–22footnote 3
COVID‑19 Approvals78.0
Other Operating17,141.0
Other Capital70.1
Total17,289.1
Staff Strengthfootnote 4
(as of March 31, 2022)
5,721.38 FTEs