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On November 5, Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Rod Phillips, released the provincial government’s 2020 budget. The budget builds on the initial Action Plan to respond to COVID-19, announced on March 25th, and charts a course for the province’s recovery.  The complete budget is available here.

Since March 2020, the Ontario government has been working to respond to a global pandemic. This has resulted in increased investments of $7.7B in 2020-21 First Quarter Finances for hospitals, healthcare facilities, public health, assessment centres, long-term care homes, home care, Telehealth Ontario and others.

Reena would like to thank the Premier, Gila Martow, MPP, Minister Todd Smith and the Government of Ontario for their funding commitment in the budget of over $3.3 Million to fund the completion of the Lou Fruitman Reena Residence. This residence will deliver services and provide housing for individuals with developmental disabilities and other vulnerable persons. The provincial investment will go towards accessibility enhancements for 30 units and programming space for employment services and wellness programs.

Reena is pleased with the positive mentions of developmental services and the health sector in the budget. Reena’s Board President, Charles Chee, notes, “we are pleased to see the Ford government being engaged and proactive in our sector”.

“The Developmental Services Sector has, in particular, benefited from Minister Smith’s governance as he has consistently reached out to facilitate the efforts of agencies like Reena, who provide the essential services our communities depend upon”, said Bryan Keshen, Reena’s CEO.

“Premier Ford and Minister Smith have built together numerous opportunities for intersectoral collaboration, to the benefit of the developmental services sector. The Ontario Action Plan:  Protect, Support, Recover continues to build on that”, continues Keshen.  “We are pleased with the announcement of an increase in social assistance funding of $526M in 2021-22, which rolls back previously announced cuts”.

Reena requested that developmental services budgets need to be maintained and that the stabilization funding provided needed to be annualized.  The Government of Ontario listened and there is an increase of $361M in 2021-22 for developmental services to support current clients in service and new high-risk clients.

Reena requested that the extension of PASSPORT funding to provide for technology be extended, and this has been the case.

Reena has been at the forefront of Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) for the developmental services sector in conjunction with Safehaven and the Toronto Developmental Services Alliance.  We were pleased to note the commitment in the budget of $30M investment, over two years, to continue infection prevention and control (IPAC) measures in group homes, VAW shelters, the CAS system, and other congregate care settings.  We have been advised that our sector will receive approximately 50% of the amount mentioned.

As Reena gets more involved in the Health Sector, we are also very pleased that the government invested $26.75M to support a range of virtual and local MHA supports during the first wave of the Pandemic. The government is also providing the people of Ontario with additional MHA services including:

  • Additional community supports in both English and French, with a focus on stabilizing and enhancing mental health and addictions service delivery, and mobile crisis teams and safe beds for those experiencing a mental health crisis;
  • More core children and youth mental health services, including walk-in clinics, counseling and therapy, day treatment and live-in treatment supports, focused on helping children in school, keeping children out of child welfare and supporting those in need of intensive services;
  • A range of provincially available virtual supports including internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy, virtual addiction services, Kids Help Phone and continuation of supports for frontline COVID-19 health care workers;
  • Additional Indigenous supports;
  • More critical rent supplements to support emergency short-term rentals during the second wave of COVID-19;
  • Additional support for inter-professional primary care teams; and
  • A range of supports to seniors, those with disabilities, first responders and vulnerable populations.

These investments represent a significant injection of new funds and capacity in the DS and Health systems, which will help the 1,000 individuals supported by Reena. The Government, and in particular Minister Smith and his staff, have shown once again that they are ready to support us through these difficult times and continue to work with the sector to address our unique challenges.

Reena looks forward to continuing working with this Government and our sectors to fulfil our mission.

About Reena

Reena promotes dignity, individuality, independence, personal growth and community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities within a framework of Jewish culture and values. Reena was established in 1973 by parents of children with developmental disabilities as a practical alternative to institutions. Since that time Reena has grown to provide support for 1,000 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.



Sharon Magor, Marketing and Communications Manager / Reena /

(905) 763.8254/ smagor@reena.org