A lawsuit against the government of Ontario for loss of supports and services for persons with developmental disabilities after they turn 18 has been certified as a class action. In a decision issued on December 14, 2018, Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba found that the case was strong enough to proceed to trial. The plaintiffs are seeking $110 million in damages and a declaration that the government has failed adults assessed as eligible for supports and services, but who have instead faced significant delays.
The case is not based on inadequate funding or allocation of governmental resources, but the negligent utilization and administration of existing resources. Persons with developmental disabilities claim they have faced indeterminate wait-lists, flawed computer programs and bad databases, and poor prioritization of matching available resources.
Justice Belobaba found that families are “dropped off a cliff” once children turn 18. “Nothing changes…they remain disabled, with the same mental age, and the same need for support and services,” stated Belobaba.
Representative plaintiff for the case is Briana Leroux, 20, of Timmins, Ontario, who has a developmental disability. Briana’s father, Marc Leroux, claims that upon turning 18, the loss of Briana’s day program put an immense stress on their family.
The province has claimed that people with disabilities are assessed according to needs, with the most urgent cases getting assistance after age 18.
PooranLaw knows the challenges that families face once youth with developmental disabilities turn 18. The outcome of this case could have a significant impact on the manner in which supports and services are received. We will be following it closely and will keep you updated as it develops.