Learning about the Ontario Direct Funding Program for People with Disabilities

Wheelchair

My name is Connie and I would like to write a bit about Ontario’s Direct Funding Program for people with disabilities.  My disability is called Friedreich’s Ataxia.

This direct funding program which is run through the local Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT) allows you to operate your own personal attendant care company to meet your personal care needs whether at home, work, in the community or on vacation, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.  In exchange for taking on the responsibility to manage your own personal care needs and attendants, you receive control, choice and flexibility over your personal care needs.  Instead of having attendants picked for you, you choose or hire and fire them.  Furthermore, instead of following some outside agency’s rules about what personal care is received or how if at all you can get that personal care, you are the one to set the ground or house rules within the limits of laws, workers’ rights and your allocated hours and other services as budgeted and negotiated between you and the administrators of the program at the CILT.  After negotiations there is a wait time, depending on available funds, to begin the Direct Funding self-management program.

I have been a self-manager for fifteen years and have set up, with money in my direct funding budget for “stationary needs”, files for each employee.  These files include time sheets (there is also an app available for tracking attendant hours) as well as a file for other direct funding budgetary information.  With the help of a bookkeeper (also funded for in your budget) payrolls and employee, cheques are made along with necessary tax deductions and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board payments.

As you can see in exchange for management responsibilities you are able to get control over your personal care unlike any other personal type care you may get from an outside agency without paying out-of-pocket.  There are risks to managing your own personal care, just like any other management job, like having an employee walk out and leave but there are ways to minimize these risks which the direct funding staff at CILT can help you with, like drawing up employee contracts and having a backup list of people that you can quickly call for temporary assistance.  You are also responsible for training or having training available to your new staff.   However, in time you will find the benefits of being your own self-manager of your own personal care far outweigh the risks. Personally, I know that I would not have been able to do what I do and go places that I want to visit or just live alone in my own condominium without the help of the people I have hired to help me in my daily tasks.  For more information refer to the official direct funding website at www.dfontario.ca.

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