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 Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services’ vision is of a person-centered social services system that strengthens communities and supports everyone’s well-being and better outcomes.

The ministry is helping to break the cycle of poverty and build an Ontario where children, youth, women and families feel safe, supported and set up for success; where Indigenous peoples have improved healing, health, and well-being outcomes through culturally responsive supports; and where people with disabilities have equal opportunities. We are also working across governments and sectors to support women’s economic and social empowerment and address gender-based violence.

Achieving this vision means creating an inclusive and future-focused organization that sustains and promotes the critical public services that matter most to Ontarians.

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 survivors and victims of violence and crime, including women and their children who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, gender-based violence, such as domestic violence and human trafficking.

And it includes helping Ontarians in need of financial or other supports, including those living in poverty, women who are seeking economic security through increased skill building and economic empowerment programs, or who are survivors and victims of violence and other vulnerable Ontarians who benefit from equal access to opportunity.

The government delivered on its commitment to increase the rates for income support by five per cent beginning September 2022 for families and individuals under the Ontario Disability Support Program and the maximum monthly amount for the Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities 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.

This means as prices go up, so will Ontario Disability Support Program payments. The first adjustment will be in July 2023.

The government also increased the Ontario Disability Support Programs earnings exemption to $1,000, which is a 400% increase to the amount a person with a disability on the program can earn without impacting their support payment.

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 efficiently.

The ministry is also 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.

The ministry supports Indigenous-developed approaches to improve Indigenous healing, health, and well-being through holistic and culturally responsive supports for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis and urban Indigenous communities, families and individuals.

All Ontarians benefit when we support vulnerable individuals to live with dignity and thrive in community. The ministry’s goal is to continue to put people at the centre of its decision-making.

Key accomplishments: 2022–23

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

Protecting people:

  • Launched new Ontario Autism Program (OAP) services and supports, including urgent response services and AccessOAP, the independent intake organization for the Ontario Autism Program.
  • Managed COVID-19 challenges through continued funding support, measures and protections to help ensure the safety and well-being of individuals and staff in congregate living and community services settings.
  • In 2022–23, the government invested $336.4 million to make permanent wage enhancements for Personal Support Workers and Direct Support Workers to help to stabilize, attract and retain the workforce needed to provide a high level of care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and to continue these important supports in the long-term recovery efforts. This included $92 million to direct funding, which supported individuals and families with activities of daily living, community participation and caregiver respite.
  • 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.
  • Endorsed the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence together with other provinces and the federal government in November 2022 as a shared commitment to work collaboratively to prevent and address GBV and support victims/survivors and their families across Canada.
  • Expanded access to early diagnostic services for children and youth who may be showing signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through five ASD diagnostic hubs.
  • Launched the second round of the OAP Workforce Capacity Fund and approved 67 capacity-building projects with a priority focus on Northern, rural and remote communities, and for Indigenous and francophone families.
  • Launched SmartStart Hubs, which provide families who are concerned with their child’s development a no-referral necessary opportunity to reach out to any children’s treatment centre or Surrey Place and connect with services in their communities as early as possible.
  • Announced an investment of $170 million over three years to support the Ready, Set, Go program. This new program helps prepare youth for adulthood starting at 13 with the life skills they need after care. It also offers financial supports up to age 23 and includes bouses to support post-secondary education, and pathways to employment.
  • Began funding the Integrated Pathway for Children and Youth with Extensive Needs initiative to support children and youth with complex needs through a new model of care being piloted at McMaster Children’s Hospital, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
  • In March 2022 statutory amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 received Royal Assent, intended to 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.
  • In March 2022, 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.
  • On March 31, 2023, Ontario executed a tripartite coordination agreement with Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) and the Government of Canada under the federal statute An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families. This agreement, the second of its kind in Ontario and first in Treaty 9 territory, supports KI’s implementation of its own family law and service delivery system.
  • Funded 27 new anti-human trafficking projects that will protect and prevent at-risk individuals from being exploited.
  • Funded culturally relevant mental health and wellness services for Indigenous youth at risk of, or in conflict with the law, with a primary focus on serving female-identifying Indigenous youth.

Modernizing government:

  • Implemented MyBenefits two-way messaging for Social Assistance clients.
  • Increased online usage of the MyBenefits service by 275,000 users as of March 2023, representing a more than 500% increase since February 2020.
  • Expanded implementation of the Digital Disability Determination Package (D-DDP), which provides health care professionals with a modern, digital option to submit an applicant’s package. A 16-page paper form was digitized with data validation to avoid form submission with missing information. Since launch of the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) in April 2022, the ministry is receiving digital DDPs approximately a month earlier than paper DDPs.
  • Recovered $27 million of social assistance sponsorship debt in 2022–23 due to ongoing collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, which has led to significant increases in debt collection since 2021–22.
  • Introduced the new Centralized Adoption Intake Service and website to provide consistent information and support for prospective adoptive parents to determine if public adoption is right for them.
  • Continued efforts to improve the client experience by implementing centralized intake for the Ontario Works program province-wide. Centralizing the intake process for those who are applying or reapplying for support is a key initiative under Ontario’s vision for a renewed social assistance system.
  • Introduced an online option for families applying to the Special Services at Home and Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities programs in April 2022. Since then, over 8,240 families have submitted applications online — thus eliminating the need to submit paper applications to the ministry.
  • Launched an online portal regarding accessing intervenor services. This was developed in partnership with the Intervenor Services sector, including those who are deafblind and service providers. It is intended to ensure equitable, accountable and sustainable support for deafblind people no matter when they become deafblind or where they live across Ontario.

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:

  • Improved client service by expanding Ontario Works applicant access to the centralized intake application process, an automated system that aims to determine eligibility quickly based on risk. With this latest expansion, all 47 municipalities across the province now have access to this centralized channel, which has processed over 210,000 applications since inception in 2020.
  • Decreased the time it takes for applicants to receive a determination about Ontario Disability Support Program eligibility by implementing a new, streamlined adjudication approach based on lean principles and lessons learned. This has supported the government’s plan to build a more responsive and efficient system by connecting those who qualify to supports in a shorter time frame.
  • Continued the centralization of benefits administration for 17 local Ontario Disability Support Program Offices, which has processed over $126 million dollars in benefits through the centralized model to date.
  • Continued to support the rollout of integrated employment services for Social Assistance recipients as part of the Employment Services Transformation (EST) initiative in partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD).

Developmental Services

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

In 2022–23, Ontario invested approximately $3.3 billion in services for people with developmental disabilities. This included funding dedicated to supportive living services and supports.

MCCSS worked with the Ministry of Health and Public Health Units to support vaccination of individuals, including those with higher-risk living in Developmental Services (DS) congregate living settings through targeted and accessible vaccination efforts. This included prioritizing implementation of booster shots for Developmental Services and Intervenor Services congregate living settings.

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

Journey to Belonging: Choice and Inclusion

In May 2021, MCCSS released a long-term plan for adult developmental services reform (Journey to Belonging: Choice and Inclusion). The plan sets out the ministry’s long-term vision for DS reform, where people with developmental disabilities are supported to more fully participate in their communities and live fulfilling lives.

To achieve the plan, the ministry is 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 eight to ten years, and the ministry is taking a gradual approach to support people and service providers through changes.

Since its release, MCCSS has made progress on immediate actions to improve current services and supports, and to improve staffing capacity through recruitment and retention efforts. The ministry has also taken foundational steps in the design of long-term reform commitments, including its commitment to develop a DS Workforce Strategy to build a workforce with the right skills to support people, adapt to changing service delivery models, and deliver quality person-centered supports.

Key accomplishments include:

  • Investing $13M over three years, beginning in 2021–22, to assist people with developmental disabilities in accessing housing in the community and to support them to live independently. As of September 2022:
    • Achieved 93% of the planned service expansion of Housing Coordination and Adult Protective Service Worker programs overcoming challenges in hiring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • 65% of the total targeted people are receiving supports for living more independently in their community.
  • Co-creating of a Developmental Services Workforce Initiatives Steering Committee (DSWISC), bringing 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.
  • Continuing collaboration with the sector, to lead implementation of three specific workforce initiatives that are immediate actions for DS Reform and inform the broader DS Workforce Strategy:
    • Modernized Core Competencies: That reflect next generation expectations (e.g., individualized supports; skilled practitioners in other key sector(s).
    • Recruitment Focused Marketing: To ensure a diverse, stable and sufficient workforce that enables people to choose supports responsive to their individual needs
    • Operational Leaders Training: To improve retention of management and skilled direct support staff, and to improve leadership capabilities to advance new workforce models and enable diversity in service models.

This partnership will continue into 2023–24 to support initiatives of the Workforce Strategy to improve workforce capacity and support workers.

Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT)

  • Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT) is a key component of change management that promotes a shared understanding of the change mandate, its drivers, and a shared commitment in achieving change-related outcomes for Developmental Services (DS) sector. KTT supports external and internal partners to stay informed, strengthen skills and knowledge, collaborate and champion through meaningful and sustained dialogue
  • Sector-driven and in alignment with MCCSS priorities, the government invested $0.5 million in 2022–23 to the KTT Hub and Network to provide a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to research, innovation, capacity-building and service delivery modernization
  • To date, the hub is engaging a membership of 337 agencies and 897 members, and the DS Learning webcasts from the 2022–23 year have a combined total of 1,177 views (posted on the REALXchange website)

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.

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 continued to invest $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 and 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 addition to MCCSS-led investments, Ontario provided more than $16 million in annualized funding to cross-government investments in Indigenous services under Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions that includes $4 million to enhance and expand Healing Lodges and Indigenous MHA Treatment and Healing Centres through the Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy; and, $1.5 million to support a flexible approach to crisis response in First Nations communities through IHWS.

Indigenous-led prevention programs for Indigenous children, youth and families

The ministry continues to invest in a suite of Indigenous-led programs totalling over $96 million that improve the health and well-being of Indigenous children, youth, families, and communities, as part of Child Welfare — Indigenous Community Prevention and Supports.

Through these ministry programs, Indigenous partners deliver flexible, culturally grounded, holistic community-based programs services for First Nations, Inuit, Métis children, youth and families across the province.

The Child Welfare — Indigenous Community Prevention and Supports programs are part of the continuing work of MCCSS under the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy (OICYS) and are supporting the development of a distinct-Indigenous approach for Ontario’s Child Welfare Redesign (CWR) Strategy.

The Family Well-Being program (FWBp) is a key investment under the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy (OICYS) and the cornerstone of the child, youth and family well-being prevention architecture being built collaboratively by Indigenous communities and MCCSS. The FWBp was co-developed with Indigenous partners and supports Indigenous communities to determine how to lead and deliver holistic programs services that meet the unique needs of their local communities. The co-developed long-term objectives of the program are to:

  • End violence against Indigenous women;
  • Reduce the number of Indigenous children in child welfare and the youth justice systems; and
  • Improve the overall health and well-being of Indigenous communities.

FWBp services and programming include traditional land-based teachings and ceremonies, trauma-informed counselling, addictions support, safe spaces, and coordination of services. These services and programs help children, youth and their families to heal and recover from the effects of intergenerational violence and trauma, reduce violence, and address the overrepresentation of Indigenous children and youth in child welfare and youth justice systems.

In 2020–21, as part of the Ministry of Health’s Roadmap to Wellness Strategy investments, $5.4 million was invested to expand the Family Well-Being program, increasing the total annual investment to $35.4 million. The increased investment in the FWBp is not only supporting the achievement of the program’s long-term objectives, but is also supporting Indigenous-led solutions to improve the mental health and well-being of communities.

In 2021–22, the ministry allocated $10 million to provide flexible, community-based funding towards locally identified needs, including supports for children, youth, women, families, communities and individuals, including Indian Residential Schools related Mental Health and Addiction needs, and Indigenous-led student, youth and gender-focussed services.

Services and Supports for Children and Youth with Special Needs, including the Ontario Autism Program

The 2022 Ontario Budget announced the Integrated Pathway for Children and Youth with Extensive Needs initiative. The program is jointly funded by MCCSS and MOH for a total of $97 million over a three-year period. This new program will support children and youth with complex needs, including developmental and intellectual disabilities, mental health concerns and/or chronic health conditions through an integrated model of care.

Services available through this program include medical services, behavioural support planning, mental health assessments and treatment, as well as social work. The program will be offered at McMaster Children’s Hospital, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and is expected to support more than 1,100 children and youth each year.

To respond to the individual needs of children and youth on the autism spectrum and their families, all service streams of the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) have now been launched and are available to families. The OAP offers 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 April 2022, 11 lead organizations located in five MCCSS-defined regions across the province, started offering urgent response services to eligible children and their families. These include time-limited services and supports, delivered for up to 12 weeks, to respond rapidly to a specific, urgent need to help stabilize the situation, prevent crisis, and reduce the risk of children and youth harming themselves, others and/or property.

As part of the implementation of the OAP, in April 2022 the ministry officially launched AccessOAP, the Independent Intake Organization for the OAP. AccessOAP provides a single point of access to the OAP and is playing a key role in administering elements of the program.

The goal of AccessOAP is to support an integrated and consistent service delivery experience for all families. AccessOAP helps families and youth navigate the services available to support their individual needs by:

  • Registering children and youth for the Ontario Autism Program
  • Connecting families with care coordinators as a main point of contact
  • Completing the determination of needs process to identify a child’s level of support need and funding allocation for core clinical services
  • Helping families navigate services and community-based supports within and outside of the OAP
  • Connecting families with young children to OAP early intervention programs upon registering for the OAP
  • Facilitating regional networks of service providers to support a coordinated and integrated service experience for children, youth, and their families; and
  • Coordinating an independent review process for families.

In December 2022, the ministry met its commitment to enroll 8,000 children and youth in core clinical services.

In 2022–23 the ministry continued to invest in additional services and supports for families, including diagnostic services, workforce capacity-building projects and funding the OAP Provider List.

In 2022–23, the ministry supported over 79 capacity-building projects delivered by children’s service providers and their community partners through the Workforce Capacity Fund. In March 2023, the ministry approved 67 projects for funding in round two. Projects with a specific focus on building capacity in Northern, rural and remote communities, and projects focused on Indigenous and francophone families were prioritized for funding. Round two projects will launch on April 1, 2023.

Autism services and supports, including evidence-based behaviour services, respite services and seasonal camps, continued to be provided to children and youth and their families. The ministry began to transition families with behaviour plans into core clinical services. Starting April 1, 2023, families of children with existing behaviour plans will begin to transition into core clinical services based on their behaviour plan end date.

The ministry continued to provide interim one-time funding to all eligible families who submitted their registration form and supporting documentation by March 31, 2021, including renewing interim one-time funding for a second payment of $5,500 or $22,000, based on their child’s age as of April 1, 2022, so families can continue to purchase eligible services and supports 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.

In 2022–23 the ministry has continued to make progress across three long-term goals:

  • Strengthening families and communities through enhanced prevention and early intervention approaches;
  • Addressing systemic racism, disproportionalities, and disparities in child welfare; and
  • Continuing to improve the service experience and outcomes for children and youth that need protection services from children’s aid societies and out-of-home care.

Shortly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government announced a moratorium on children in care aging out of supports and services. In September 2022, the government confirmed the moratorium would be further extended until to March 31, 2023, and that a new policy approach would be introduced to help better prepare youth to leave care.

On February 15, 2023, the ministry announced a $68 million commitment in 2023–24 for the Ready, Set, Go (RSG) Program. This new program supports better long-term financial independence, and it connects youth in the child welfare system with additional services and supports to prepare for life after leaving care. This includes life skills development, post-secondary education and pathways to employment. This commitment was bolstered in March 2023, making the total investment in the Ready, Set Go program $170 million over three years.

Transforming child and family services is a significant undertaking and will take time. Keeping children and youth at home and improving outcomes for those who are in care will require service providers, communities, and families working together to improve connections between systems and close gaps in service.

Child, Youth and Family Services ActReview

The Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 (CYFSA) is the primary legislation governing child, youth and family services that are provided, licensed, or funded by the Ministry including child welfare, adoptions, youth justice and out-of-home care services.

As part of this legislation, a formal review and public report must be completed every five years in order to ensure that CYFSA continues to promote the best interests, protection and well-being of children and youth across all services covered under the act. The ministry will undertake a five-year legislative review of the CYFSA in compliance with sections 336 to 338 of the Act, assessing the effectiveness and relevance of the legislation and soliciting input on six key focus areas:

  1. Child and youth rights
  2. First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples’ self-determination
  3. Equity, anti-racism and overrepresentation
  4. Prevention, well-being and community-based care
  5. Improving quality and preventing child exploitation
  6. Accountability and consistency

This review will be the first since the CYFSA was proclaimed in 2018 and is expected to begin this spring.

Violence Against Women

The government is committed to preventing and addressing violence against women (VAW).

in all its forms. In 2022–23 the ministry invested approximately $167 million in community-based agencies across the province to provide services and supports to women and their children who have experienced violence, or are at risk of experiencing violence, including gender-based domestic violence.

The government also invested an additional $10.2 million for violence prevention initiatives.

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 emergency shelters operating throughout the pandemic. This included providing funding through the Residential Relief Fund to women’s shelters and other emergency shelter settings to keep them safe.

The ministry continues to invest in violence prevention initiatives and community services that support women and their dependents.

Some key investments include:

$18.5 million over three years, beginning in 2021–22, in the Transitional and Housing Support Program, to support survivors of domestic violence and survivors of human trafficking to find and maintain affordable housing and help them transition to independence. In 2022–23, $7.1 million was allocated as part of this three-year investment.

In February 2023, the ministry announced up to $6.5 million to help women and children who have experienced violence and are survivors of human trafficking access the supports and services they need to stay safe and rebuild their lives.

This $6.5 million investment includes:

  • Up to $3.6 million for frontline agencies in rural and remote communities to strengthen culturally responsive supports for Indigenous women and reduce barriers for survivors of violence and human trafficking — for example, by providing transportation to and from counselling and legal appointments.
  • Up to $2.9 million to increase access to stable and ongoing prevention and early intervention supports for children and youth entering a shelter who have been exposed to violence. These supports are delivered by frontline service providers, such as child and youth workers, early childhood educators, and culturally specific service providers.

In March 2023, the Ontario Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and the Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity joined the Federal Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth to announce $8 million over four years in federal funding to support Ontario’s crisis lines. The funding builds on Ontario’s existing investments in crisis lines and will offer more robust services, resources and supports to serve the urgent needs of survivors of gender-based violence and their families.

Anti-human trafficking

The province’s Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy (“the 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.

Approximately $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 in anti-human trafficking initiatives in Canada’s history between all levels of government.

Building on existing funding provided through the Community Supports and Indigenous-led Initiatives Fund, of the $307 million, Ontario is investing $96 million in services for survivors of human trafficking over five years (2020–2025). This includes up to $46 million in new funding, for new community-based services, so more victims and survivors have access to the supports they need.

The Community Supports Fund and the Indigenous-led Initiatives Fund prioritizes projects that focus on early intervention, increased protection for children and youth who have been sexually exploited, and dedicated survivor supports developed and delivered by survivors of human trafficking. These organizations provide wrap-around, trauma-informed supports, and culturally responsive care to help rebuild lives. Furthermore, a number of the programs are designed for and by Indigenous-led organizations and communities, and/or survivors of human trafficking, or have survivors working within the organization to help inform and develop the program.

Under the Strategy, we are investing $11.5 million over three years in the Children at Risk of Exploitation (CARE) Units that pair and train police officers and child protection workers, including Indigenous workers, to identify and locate children ages 12-17 who are being sexually exploited and/or sex trafficked.

An additional $28 million over five years is being invested in group out-of-home care settings for children and youth. Two licenced settings for trafficked children and youth were established in the same jurisdictions as the CARE Units to serve up to six children at a time. A culturally grounded, family based, staff supported setting was established by Native Child and Family Services and Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child and Family Services to serve up to two Indigenous children in a location. The two agencies continue to recruit caregivers to provide more specialized placement options and homes for Indigenous youth who have been sex trafficked.

Building on the Strategy, additional supports were announced as part of the 2021 Budget, to 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 government 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, we invested $2.1 million over three years, beginning 2021–22, to strengthen frontline services in underserved areas of the province.

This new funding, announced in the 2021 Ontario Budget, addresses gaps in victim supports in underserved areas. This includes 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 the expansion of 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, by April 1, 2022, nine victim services programs were transferred from the Ministry of the Attorney General 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 2022–23, the government invested $49.9M in the eight transferred victim services programs, with an additional $8M invested in the Supervised Access Program.

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 and Programming

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 focuses on rehabilitation and the important role that plays in supporting youth and enabling active participation in, and positive contributions to, their communities.

The ministry is committed to addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous and Black youth in the justice system through enhanced services and supports that are culturally responsive and community-driven. As part of the commitment the ministry has:

  • Announced enhanced funding to top up three Indigenous Youth Justice Mental Health Programs and support funding for one new program to be delivered to Indigenous youth in a northern youth justice facility.
  • Implemented community-driven prevention initiatives for Indigenous children, youth and their families in four Remote First Nation Communities.

In addition, the ministry secured funding to sustain three youth justice Gender-Based Violence Prevention Programs that aim to reduce risk factors that contribute to male youth who engage in gender-based violence. Two of the programs are targeted for Indigenous and Black youth at risk or who have committed gender-based violence. These programs build on the government’s commitment to address violence against women and girls.

Poverty Reduction Strategy

The ministry is responsible for the province’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. It leads the development of an updated cross-government strategy every five years. The strategy sets a target and contains indicators of poverty reduction to measure progress.

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 exiting to employment each year from 36,000 in 2019 to 60,000 by 2024.

In 2022, more than 27,000 social assistance recipients exited to employment. This number is an improvement over 2020 and 2021.

The strategy also includes indicators that measure poverty, education and employment outcomes. Under the Poverty Reduction Act, the province must report annually to the Legislative Assembly on the government’s strategy, including progress towards the target and updates on indicators and initiatives related to poverty reduction. In 2022–23, the ministry released the third annual report of this strategy.

Cross-ministry collaboration on social policy priorities

The ministry 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 also continue to partner with ministries such as the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on social policy initiatives to ensure collaboration and strategic alignment across the various transformation initiatives, such as the Roadmap to Wellness Mental Health and Addictions Strategy and the Multi-Ministry Supportive Housing Initiative.

Table 1: Ministry planned expenditures 2023–24 ($M)
CategoryAmount ($M)
Other Operating19,237.1
Other capital123.7
Total19,360.8

Detailed financial information

Table 2: Combined operating and capital summary by vote

Operating and Capital Summary by Vote
DescriptionEstimates 2023–24
($)
Change from 2022–23 Estimates
($)
Change from 2022–23 Estimates
(%)
Estimates 2022–23footnote 1
($)
Interim Actuals 2022–23footnote 1
($)
Actuals 2021–22footnote 1
($)
Ministry Administration94,092,300(7,712,200)(7.6)101,804,500126,504,500108,506,735
Children and Adult Services19,164,601,900940,290,7005.218,224,311,20018,192,437,90017,043,904,186
Poverty Reduction StrategyN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Total Operating Expense to be Voted19,258,694,200932,578,5005.118,326,115,70018,318,942,40017,152,410,921
Statutory Appropriations75,709,2655,476,4007.870,232,86575,432,86569,717,470
Ministry Total Operating Expense19,334,403,465938,054,9005.118,396,348,56518,394,375,26517,222,128,391
Consolidation(97,317,100)108,395,400(52.7)(205,712,500)(112,031,700)(222,945,606)
Ministry Total Operating Expense Including Consolidation19,237,086,3651,046,450,3005,818,190,636,06518,282,343,56516,999,182,785
Operating assets
DescriptionEstimates 2023–24
($)
Change from 2022–23 Estimates
($)
Change from 2022–23 Estimates
(%)
Estimates 2022–23footnote 1
($)
Interim Actuals 2022–23footnote 1
($)
Actuals 2021–22footnote 1
($)
Children and Adult Services89,506,00010,669,50013.578,836,50089,516,50086,360,319
Children, Community and Social Services Capital Program1,000N/AN/A1,0001,000N/A
Total Operating Assets to be Voted89,507,00010,669,50013.578,837,50089,517,50086,360,319
Ministry Total Operating Assets89,507,00010,669,50013.578,837,50089,517,50086,360,319
Capital expense
DescriptionEstimates 2023–24
($)
Change from 2022–23 Estimates
($)
Change from 2022–23 Estimates
(%)
Estimates 2022–23footnote 1
($)
Interim Actuals 2022–23footnote 1
($)
Actuals 2021–22footnote 1
($)
Children, Community and Social Services Capital Program163,420,80090,810,200125.172,610,60070,929,10040,129,584
Total Capital Expense to be Voted163,420,80090,810,200125.172,610,60070,292,10040,129,584
Statutory Appropriations28,265,200(30,815,100)(52.2)59,080,30038,780,30039,029,422
Ministry Total Capital Expense191,686,00059,995,10045.6131,690,900109,709,40079,159,006
Consolidation(67,969,500)(60,189,600)773.7(7,779,900)11,415,500(7,565,350)
Ministry Total Capital Expense Including Consolidation123,716,500(194,500)(0.2)123,911,000121,124,90071,563,656
Capital assets
DescriptionEstimates 2023–24
($)
Change from 2022–23 Estimates
($)
Change from 2022–23 Estimates
(%)
Estimates 2022–23footnote 1
($)
Interim Actuals 2022–23footnote 1
($)
Actuals 2021–22footnote 1
($)
Children, Community and Social Services Capital Program19,584,500(586,800)(2.9)20,171,30017,272,90020,072,189
Total Capital Assets to be Voted19,584,500(586,800)(2.9)20,171,30017,272,90020,072,189
Ministry Total Capital Assets19,584,500(586,800)(2.9)20,171,30017,272,90020,072,189
Ministry Total Operating and Capital Including Consolidation (not including Assets)19,360,802,8651,046,255,8005.718,314,547,06518,403,468,46517,080,746,441

Historic trend table

Historic trend analysis data
DescriptionActual 2020–21footnote 2
($)
Actual 2021–22footnote 2
($)
Estimates 2022–23footnote 2
($)
Estimates 2023–24footnote 2
($)
Ministry Total Operating and Capital Including Consolidation and Other Adjustments (not including Assets)17,433.433917,070.746418,314.547119,360.8029
Change in percentageN/A−2%7%6%

For additional financial information, see:

Contact: Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs)

Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs)
Commission2023–24 Estimates
$
2022–23 Interim Actuals
$
2021–22 Actuals
$
Soldiers’ Aid Commission1,500,000856,337576,670

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 2022–23, as part of the government’s commitments to supporting Ontario’s vulnerable Veterans, MCCSS provided $806,337 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.

Ministry organization chart

  • Deputy Minister — Denise Cole
    • Director, Legal Services Branch — Elaine Atkinson
    • Director, Communications — Murray Leaning
    • 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 (Central, East and North Regions) — Nancy Sauve
      • Director, Social Assistance Service Delivery (West and Toronto Regions) — Colleen Hardie
      • Director, Business Innovation and Implementation — Sunny Sharma
      • Director, Social Assistance Strategy and Transformation — Jason Stanley
    • 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 — Linda Chihab
      • Director, Child Welfare Operations — Sandra Bickford
      • Director, Child Welfare Secretariat — Peter Kiatipis
      • 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 and Program Effectiveness Branch — Stacey Weber
      • Director, Child Development and Special Services Branch — Ziyaad Vahed
    • ADM, Community Services — Karen Glass
      • 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), Diane Gammon (West Region), Sherri Rennie (Toronto Region), Sandra Russell (North Region)
    • ADM, Business Intelligence and 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 — Rupert Gordon
      • Director, Planning and Strategic Policy — Mike Bannon
      • Director, Policy Alignment and Intergovernmental Relations — Anshoo Kamal
      • Director, Policy Planning and Implementation Support — Chris Ling
      • Director, Policy Research and Insights — Chris Ling
      • Director, Child, Youth and Family Services Act Review Project — Aly Alibhai
    • Chief Information Officer, Children, Youth and Social Services IandIT Cluster — Alex Coleman
      • Director, Community and Social Services IandIT Solutions — Aleem Syed
      • Director, Children and Youth IandIT Solutions — Joachim Kabiawu
      • Director, Shared and Community Services IandIT — Mohamed Awad
      • Director, Cluster Management Office — Kelly Garant
      • Director, IandIT Operations — Jairo Munoz
      • 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 — Andrew Chung
      • 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
      • Director, Operations — Seema Chhbra
    • ADM, Family Responsibility Office — Trevor Sparrow
      • Director, Client Liaison — Bani Bawa
      • Director, Case Triage and 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 — Denise Cole
    • EA to the Deputy Minister Responsible for Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity — Suzanne Dias
    • ADM, Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity — Barbara Simmons
      • Director, Strategic Policy and 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 administrative work to improve outcomes for people.

2022–23 Results

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

  • working closely with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ministry of Health, Public Health Units and the Ministry of the Solicitor General to support COVID-19 vaccination/booster shots/therapeutics efforts in congregate living settings and provide 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 Ministry of Health-led Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Hub model, and aligning the ministry’s approach of IPAC Champions to support the model;
  • actively partnering on the Ministry of Health’s Temporary Retention Incentive for Nurses (TRIN) which provided up to $5,000 in compensation enhancement to eligible nurses working in community settings with vulnerable children youth and adults, including those with developmental disabilities and special needs.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, MCCSS issued direction that aligned closely with Ministry of Health (MOH) guidance to support local public health units (PHUs) in their COVID-19 response in congregate living settings (CLSs.)

This direction also included some ministry-specific modified and/or additional requirements for funded and/or licensed CLSs. In October 2022, in consultation with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and in alignment with updated MOH guidance, MCCSS updated the majority of its guidance and maintained only Interim Direction for Rapid Antigen Testing.

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 exceptional financial and service delivery pressures resulting from COVID-19 outbreak(s) to manage 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.

Shortly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government announced a moratorium on children in care aging out of supports and services. In September 2022, the government confirmed that the moratorium would be further extended until March 31st, 2023 and that a new policy approach would be introduced to help prepare youth to leave care.

On February 15, 2023, the ministry announced a $68 million commitment in 2023–24 for the Ready, Set, Go Program that connects youth in the child welfare system with additional services and supports they need to prepare for and succeed after leaving care, and will aim to improve their long-term financial independence through life skills development, post-secondary education and pathways to employment. Including the $68 million announced in February, the government is investing over $170 million over three years for the RSG program that launched on April 1, 2023.

In March 2020, the supply chain of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was centralized under the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery (MPBSD) and the Ministry of Health (MOH).

To relieve pressure on the MPBSD 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, supplying over 98 million PPE to providers since the beginning of the pandemic, which included over 3,000,000 Rapid Antigen Tests, 6,445 HEPA units, and 4,082 CO2 monitors. All MCCSS agencies were transitioned to MPBSD’s centralized PPE Supply Portal (PSP) as of November 21, 2022.

MCCSS continues to partner with the Ministry of Health to support congregate living service providers in accessing rapid antigen test kits at no cost through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program (PASP) -MOH to determine if PASP will wind down as of June 30, 2023. These tests have been used as an extra layer of protection for individuals who live and work in congregate living settings.

Developmental and Community Services

In 2022–23, Ontario invested approximately $3.3 billion in services for people with developmental disabilities. This includes funding dedicated to providing supportive living 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 supportive living care and other specialized services.

As of December 31, 2022, the Passport program supported 61,019 adults with a developmental disability by providing direct funding to support activities of daily living, community participation and caregiver respite. This included 4,634 approvals completed by Passport Agencies as of December 31, 2022.

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 people who are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and deafblind. In 2022–23, over 3,000 people were served and 9,000 hours of services delivered.

In 2022–23, the ministry provided $7.8 million toward Interpreting Services.

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 people who have a combined loss of both hearing and vision. In 2021–22, the Ministry spent $40.9M to provide Intervenor Services. In 2022–23, the Ministry allocated $45.4 million towards Intervenor Services and as of October 2022, served 165 individuals.

In 2022–23, the ministry continued to work with the Intervenor Services sector to finalize components of the Intervenor Services Renewal Strategy. Building on the introduction of a needs-based funding model in 2020–21, and the ministry implemented a digital Single Point of access, called Access Intervenor Services (AIS), in early 2022–23. The AIS provides a provincially consistent application mechanism for people seeking intervenor services funding.

The AIS is an easy to use, step by step process for deafblind Ontarians to apply and be considered for ministry-funded services. The ministry continues to work with the Intervenor Services sector to strengthen the program’s overall accountability and long-term sustainability.

Services and Supports for Children with Special Needs including the Ontario Autism Program

The ministry funds programs, services and supports for healthy child development and children and youth with special needs, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

It also supports access to specialized assessment, treatment and intervention through the ministry operated Child and Parent Resource Institute — a facility operated in London that serves approximately 2,200 children and youth each year with the most complex combinations of special needs.

The ministry funds Children’s Treatment Centres to provide services for children and youth with special needs in schools and community locations. In 2022–23, through the SmartStart Hubs program, Children’s Treatment Centres and Surrey Place in Toronto began providing a single point of access for families who are concerned with their child’s development to better connect families with services in their communities as early as possible.

The ministry is also supporting initiatives that help better connect children and youth with complex special needs to care and services. In 2022–23, MCCSS and MOH have been working together with McMaster Children’s Hospital, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario to implement the Integrated Pathway for Children and Youth with Extensive Needs initiative.

This 3-year pilot initiative is expected to support more than 1,100 children and youth with complex needs each year, including developmental and intellectual disabilities, mental health concerns and/or chronic health conditions through an integrated model of care.

Services available through this program include medical services, behavioural support planning, mental health assessments and treatment, as well as social work that will lead to better lifelong outcomes for children and youth with complex needs.

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

In 2022–23, the ministry made significant progress in launching new OAP service pathways and program supports:

  • AccessOAP intake started with families registered in the program receiving invitations from AccessOAP, the independent intake organization, to enroll in core clinical services in the order of their date of registration, as recommended by the Autism Advisory Panel. Core clinical services include applied behaviour analysis, speech language pathology, occupational therapy and mental health services including counselling and/or psychotherapy. In December 2022, the ministry met its commitment to enroll 8,000 children and youth in core clinical services.
  • Urgent response services provided time-limited services and supports 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 supported families throughout their journey by providing orientation to the program, service navigation and help with managing transitions.

In April 2022 ministry officially launched AccessOAP, the Independent Intake Organization, which is a single point of access to the OAP. AccessOAP is playing a key role in administering key elements of the program including intake and registration, service navigation and family support, as well as carrying out the determination of needs process and providing more families with funding to purchase core clinical services for their children and youth.

In Spring 2022, the province started contacting families to connect them with AccessOAP. The ministry sent emails and letters to all families registered in the program with instructions on how to create their account with AccessOAP and transition. Once a family has transitioned, AccessOAP is able to help orient them to the program and support them in understanding their service options, as well as navigating services and supports within and outside of the OAP.

Invitations for core clinical services are currently being issued by AccessOAP to families who have created their account, in the order they registered for the program, as recommended by the Ontario Autism Advisory Panel. Eligible families with young children receive invitations to access early years programs and supports such as caregiver-mediated early years programs and entry to school, upon registering for the OAP to support their development and goals.

The ministry continued to provide interim one-time funding to eligible families who submitted their registration form and supporting documentation by March 31, 2021, including renewing interim one-time funding for a second payment of $5,500 or $22,000 based on their child’s age as of April 1, 2022, so that families could continue to purchase eligible services and supports that they feel are most appropriate for their child.

The ministry has begun to transition families with existing behaviour plans into core clinical services. Starting April 1, 2023, families of children with existing behaviour plans will begin to transition into core clinical services based on their behaviour plan end date.

Overall, in 2022–23, the OAP supported about 40,000 children and youth through existing behaviour plans, childhood budgets, interim funding, caregiver mediated early years programs, the entry to school program, and core clinical services.

Social Assistance

In 2022–23, the ministry continued to advance its transformation plan to build a more responsive, efficient, and person-centred social assistance system for the approximately 900,000 Ontarians who received some form of monthly social assistance.

This included:

  • Improving client service by expanding access to the centralized intake application process for the Ontario Works program, an automated system that aims to determine eligibility quickly based on risk. Centralized intake is a client-facing online process that reduces municipal paperwork, giving caseworkers more time to support clients through crisis and help them get back to work. The process is also supported by automated, smarter eligibility verification with provincial, federal and third-party sources to make financial assistance processing faster, while strengthening program integrity. With this latest expansion, all 47 municipalities across the province now have access to this centralized channel, which has processed over 210,000 applications since inception in 2020.
  • Continuing the centralization of benefits administration for 17 local Ontario Disability Support Program Offices, which has processed over $126 million dollars in benefits through the centralized model to date.
  • Decreased the time it takes for applicants to receive a determination about Ontario Disability Support Program eligibility by implementing a new, streamlined adjudication approach based on lean principles and lessons learned. This has supported the government’s plan to build a more responsive and efficient system by connecting those who qualify to supports in a shorter time frame.
  • Partnering with ServiceOntario to enhance the client experience for applicants. Incoming calls from applicants are now triaged by ServiceOntario, allowing calls related to Centralized Intake to promptly reach the appropriate staff member.
  • Continuing support for the rollout of integrated employment services for Social Assistance recipients as part of the Employment Services Transformation (EST) initiative in partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD).

The ministry has also continued to make progress 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 and expanded digital tools and modern service options, including an easy-to-use online application, streamlined submissions of adjudication packages in digital format, 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. 
  • Employment Services Transformation: The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, and the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, 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. In April 2022, MLITSD started 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 where integrated services will begin in January 2024. The final phase will be Toronto and the Northern catchments with the competitive process occurring in 2023.

In addition, the ministry was successful in delivering on the government’s commitment to increase rates for income support by five per cent for families and individuals under the Ontario Disability Support Program, and the maximum monthly amount for the Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities program.

Future rate increases will be tied to inflation to help recipients keep pace with the rising cost of living and pay for life’s essentials. The Ontario Disability Support Program earnings exemption was also increased to $1,000 — a 400% increase to the amount people on the program can earn without impacting their support payment

Child Welfare

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

Services will focus on providing children and youth in care with high-quality out-of-home care, and the supports they need to be safe, succeed and thrive as they transition from care to adulthood. It also focuses 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.

Accomplishments over the last year include:

  • The Government of Ontario announced a $68 million commitment for the Ready, Set, Go (RSG) Program that connects youth in the child welfare system with additional services and supports they need to prepare for and succeed after leaving care, and will aim to improve their long-term financial independence through life skills development, post-secondary education and pathways to employment. Including the $68 million announced in February, the government is investing over $170 million over three years for the RSG program that launched on April 1, 2023.
  • In March 2022 statutory amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 received Royal Assent. These amendments intended to 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. Regulatory development work to operationalize these amendments is ongoing through 2023–24.
  • Ontario is implementing the Quality Standards Framework by requiring licensees and placing agencies, including children’s aid societies, to be in compliance with new and amended regulations, coming into effect on July 1, 2023. The ministry is supporting service providers to understand the new and updated requirements by providing guidance documents, information sessions, updates to ministry IT systems, and other supports.
    • The new requirements include staff qualifications, caregiver training, and enhanced safety and service planning obligations. The aim is to improve the quality of care and better hold licensees and placing agencies, including children’s aid societies, accountable for the quality of care they provide to children and youth.
  • The ministry introduced the new Centralized Adoption Intake Service and website to provide consistent information and support for prospective adoptive parents to determine if public adoption is right for them.
  • In March 2022, 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.
  • On March 31, 2023, Ontario executed a tripartite coordination agreement with Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) and the Government of Canada under the federal statute An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families. This is the second such agreement in Ontario. Ontario continues to work with representatives of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to support the development and implementation of Indigenous-led systems for child and family services, including those governed under Indigenous law.

Violence Against Women (VAW) Services

In 2022–23, the ministry invested approximately $167 million to provide services and supports to women and their children who have experienced violence, or are at risk of experiencing violence, including gender-based and domestic violence. This funding directly supports 400 community-based agencies across the province 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.

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 they transferred to MCCSS April 1, 2022, as a part of the Victim Services Review, which supports a more coordinated approach to victim services delivery.

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 $307 million 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 2022–23. These included:

  • In the first six months of 2022/23, CARE Units had 319 interactions with missing children and youth suspected of being sex trafficked, contributed to 27 human trafficking investigations and supported 129 criminal charges being laid.
  • Established a culturally supportive alternate out-of-home care placement for child and youth survivors of human trafficking. The program is a partnership between Native Child and Family Services and Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child and Family Services and serves up to two children at a time.
  • 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. Ten rounds of training have been completed, with approximately 300 frontline workers trained.
  • This intensive training focuses on frontline professionals in sectors where the likelihood of encountering or working with children and youth 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 260,000 materials have been disseminated at 980 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.
  • 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 five 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 initiatives that support locally responsive, targeted prevention and resilience-building programs to address the root causes that make youth vulnerable to violence and victimization, including human trafficking.

Victim Services

In 2019, our government began a comprehensive review of victim services and engaged with stakeholders to explore opportunities for a more integrated, effective, efficient, and client-centred victim services system.

In 2022, the following eight victim services programs were transferred from the Ministry of the Attorney General to MCCSS with their existing budget, guidelines, and service delivery standards:

  • Internet Child Exploitation Program
  • Victim Support Line / Directory
  • Anti-Human Trafficking and Serving Senior Victims of Crime Online Training Initiative 
  • Family Court Support Worker
  • Support Services for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse
  • Sexual Assault Centres
  • Victim Crisis Assistance Ontario
  • Victim Quick Response Program+

In 2022–23, the government allocated $49.9M to the eight transferred victim services programs, with an additional $8M invested in the Supervised Access Program.

  • These community-based programs are designed to reduce the negative impacts of crime and violence on individuals and communities and serve a wide range of populations, including, but not limited to those who are impacted by: domestic violence, intimate partner violence, internet exploitation, sexual violence, homicides, human-trafficking, and hate crimes.
  • Since the transfer of the eight programs, the ministry integrated transferred program components into MCCSS’ Transfer Payment Ontario standard contracting and reporting structures and process to enable the transfer payment recipients to transition into an integrated MCCSS 2022–23 service contract, reducing administrative burden for 67% of transfer payment recipients and creating many efficiencies for government by reducing the total number of transfer payment contracts administered between the two ministries.
  • The Ministry has continued investing in services for victims through the following initiatives:
    • An additional $2.1 million over three years beginning 2021–22 to expand victim and sexual assault services in underserved communities.
    • In March 2022, an additional $2 million annually was announced for the Victim Crisis Assistance Ontario (VCAO) program so that victims of crime have access to the services and supports they need.
    • In 2022–23, the ministry provided $1 million annually for Victim Services Toronto’s Exit Route to support victims and survivors of human trafficking and intimate partner violence. Victim Services Toronto’s Exit Route will streamline assistance for victims and survivors by giving them immediate access to case managers and social workers at the point of contact with police.

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 2022–23, through the longstanding Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy, Ontario invested over $90 million 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, Family Violence Shelters and 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 continues to invest $96 million annually in Indigenous-led prevention-focused community-based programs that support improved outcomes and well-being for First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous children and youth, families, individuals, and communities and reduce the over-representation of Indigenous children and youth in the child welfare and youth justice systems.

Through these Child Welfare — Indigenous Community Prevention and Supports programs, Indigenous partners deliver flexible, culturally grounded, holistic community-based programs and services for First Nations, Inuit, Métis children, youth and families across the province. These programs include the Family Well-Being program, Systems Planning, First Nations Student Nutrition Program, Indigenous Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder — Child Nutrition Program, Akwe:go — Wasa-Nabin, Youth Resiliency, Integrated Rehabilitation for Northern and Rural First Nations Program, Prevention focused customary care, Community Support-Native Services on Reserve, Northwest Prevention Initiative, Child Welfare Native Services on Reserve, and Child and Family Intervention — Native Services on Reserve.

The Child Welfare — Indigenous Community Prevention and Supports programs are part of the continuing work of MCCSS under the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy (OICYS) and are supporting the development a distinct-Indigenous approach for Ontario’s Child Welfare Redesign (CWR) Strategy.

The Family Well-Being program (FWBp) is a key investment under the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy (OICYS) and the cornerstone of the child, youth and family well-being prevention architecture being built collaboratively by Indigenous communities and MCCSS. The FWBp was co-developed with Indigenous partners and supports Indigenous communities to determine how best to lead and deliver holistic programs services that meet the unique needs of their local communities. The co-developed long-term objectives of the program are to:

  • End violence against Indigenous women;
  • Reduce the number of Indigenous children in child welfare and the youth justice systems; and
  • Improve the overall health and wellbeing of Indigenous communities.

FWBp services and programming include traditional land-based teachings and ceremonies, trauma-informed counselling, addictions support, safe spaces, and coordination of services. These services and programs help children, youth and their families to heal and recover from the effects of intergenerational violence and trauma, reduce violence, and address the overrepresentation of Indigenous children and youth in child welfare and youth justice systems.

In 2020–21, as part of the Ministry of Health’s Roadmap to Wellness Strategy investments, $5.41 million was invested to expand the Family Well-Being program, increasing the total annual investment to $35.4 million. The increased investment in the FWBp is not only supporting the achievement of the program’s long-term objectives but is also supporting Indigenous-led solutions to improve the mental health and well-being of communities.

In 2021–22, the FWBp served over 84,000 Indigenous clients and community members at over 200 sites throughout the province, providing over 42,000 supports and services to Indigenous children, youth and adults, including approximately 25,500 one-to-one and individual counseling supports, 4,800 family support sessions, 6,900 group sessions, and 5,500 community events.

Through the First Nations Student Nutrition Program (FNSNP), MCCSS is providing over $4 million to provide funding for breakfast, lunch or mid-morning meals in 120 First Nations educational settings in 63 First Nations communities to support learning and healthy child development. The FNSNP provides over 1.2 million meals to Indigenous children and youth each year.

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, through the Office of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity, 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 Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity. 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. In 2022–23, the Council has held 14 meetings to ensure culturally relevant and effective changes are made to policies to address violence against Indigenous women and girls.

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

The Office 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 increase their full participation in leadership roles in their communities.
  • Women’s Economic Security Program (WESP): Provides employment, pre-employment, pre-apprenticeship, entrepreneurship training and wraparound supports to low-income women to equip them with the skills, knowledge and experience to increase their economic security.
  • Investing in Women’s Futures (IWF): Supports 33 community organizations to deliver a range of flexible programs and services that prevent gender-based violence, promote healing and wellness and assist women gain the skills they need to become economically self-sufficient and secure.

The 2022 Budget included an investment of $6.9 million over three years to enhance the Investing in Women’s Futures program. The enhancement increased annualized funding to the existing 23 organizations implementing IWF across Ontario that already provide a range of services including employment assistance, counselling, financial literacy, and safety planning.

The Budget also expanded the program to new service delivery sites in underserved communities, so more women have access to employment training opportunities and wraparound supports to overcome barriers and gain employment. Following a call for applications issued in Fall 2022, the Office has completed contracting with the 10 new service delivery sites to begin program implementation April 2023.

At the 2022 annual meeting of Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women, Associate Minister Williams joined her colleagues from Canada and all other provinces and territories in endorsing the National Action Plan to end Gender-Based Violence.

The National Action Plan affirms a common vision, principles and goals for responding to gender-based violence and a commitment to further FPT collaboration. Ontario is currently in discussion with Women and Gender Equality Canada to support the implementation of the National Action Plan. This will include Ontario’s plans to focus on gender-based violence prevention, economic security, service enhancement and making progress on government commitments going forward.

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 and children 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 first 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 release a Year 2 Progress Report in 2023 and will continue to work with communities as the strategy continues to be implemented in 2023–24 and beyond.

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 the individual risks, needs and strengths of each youth, including:

  • community programs for police to refer youth as an alternative to charging them;
  • community programs as an alternative to formal court proceedings;
  • community-based program options for courts; and
  • providing alternatives to custody that address the needs of youth and provide appropriate supervision.

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 2021–22.

Table 3: Ministry Interim Actual Expenditures 2022–23
CategoryMinistry Interim Actual Expenditures ($M) 2022–23footnote 3
COVID‑19 Approvals23
Other Operating18,259.4
Other Capital121.1
Total18,403.5
Staff Strengthfootnote 4
(as of March 31, 2023)
5,653.1