Ontario government closes institutions for developmentally disabled

On March 31, 2009, the Ontario government closed the doors of the last three remaining institutions for people with developmental disabilities.  The closure of Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia, Rideau Regional Centre in Smiths Falls and Southwestern Regional Centre in Chatham-Kent marked the end of an era of institutional living and a fulfilled commitment to transition citizens with developmental disabilities into the community.

A hallmark of this community transition was the securing of consent to placement from family members of the institution’s residents.  In some cases where, for example, consent was not provided or family members could not agree on an appropriate community placement, the Ministry of Community and Social Services brought applications to the Superior Court of Justice to resolve the issues.  This process was established in 2006 in the landmark case of Gray v. Ontario.

To ensure that the interests of all stakeholders were properly represented, the Superior Court appointed amicus curiae in a number of cases.  Swadron Associates was pleased to accept appointments from Madam Justice Lois B. Roberts in two such cases, both of which were resolved without the need for a contested hearing.  The firm wishes to congratulate the Ministry, the residents’ families, and in particular the residents themselves, on concluding a generation long struggle to promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.