Sunday December 10, 2017 – The Ontario Disability Coalition is releasing this statement today which is the International Day of Human Rights.

The Hon Michael Coteau MPP, Ministry of Children and Youth Services has invested $500 Million Dollar into Autism Services.  While this is welcome wonderful news, they are leaving out thousands of children with disabilities in Ontario.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNUDHR) was established by the United Nations in 1948.  The Declaration outlines international laws that protect individuals’ civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights from birth, and are stemmed from ideologies of dignity and autonomy.

  • Article 1 of The UNUDHR upholds the rights of persons with disabilities, in stating that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
  • Article 2 specifies that this is not dependent on “race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status” or the “political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”
  • Article 3 highlights that “everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.”

These Articles establishes that parents and children with all disabilities have the same rights as parents and children with no such needs.

The UNUDHR Article 23 (2) states that, “everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.”  However, in relation to inequitable therapies and caregiving roles, parents of children with disabilities have dual roles as parents and caregivers, meaning they work as unpaid medical care providers.  These unpaid caregivers are providing therapy, nursing, medical, and social work care 24 hours a day.  Thus, the health and social system in Ontario is taking advantage of parents’ free labour to fill gaps in funding and services that should otherwise be provided by the Ministry of Child & Youth Services and Children Treatment Centres.

Further, Article 25, outlines that children with disabilities, and the caregivers of children with disabilities have a right to the same standard of living as everyone else: “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of [themselves] and of [their] family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability … or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond [their] control.”

However, parent surveys unveiled how they and their children’s human rights are constantly violated through Children Treatment Centres withholding and limiting access to therapy.  One of the key ways caregivers and their children are discriminated against in the rehabilitation system is in how the child’s needs are evaluated based on whether they can improve functional within a 6-week period compared to another less disabled child, rather than an evaluation based on the child’s individual needs. Most surveyed participants had difficulties in accessing timely and adequate rehabilitation therapies though, their children met the definition of children with disabilities as set by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.  Inability to access timely therapies and equipment results in social isolation, avoidable health inequities and inequalities, and a lower standard of living for children and their parents.  Not being able to access therapist presents a barrier from accessing needed equipment.  Children should not need to prove they can use the equipment before they get it, we know that children need time and practice to learn to use equipment such as walkers, wheelchairs, communication devices, to name just a few.

On Thursday, December 7th, 2017 the Minister Michael Coteau released a statement of the investment of $500 million dollars into Autism services.  Part of this investment is for a direct funding model for behaviour therapies for children diagnosed with Autism.  We have known that this announcement was coming out for months.  For months, we have asked this Ministry to ensure the policy framework included ALL children with disabilities in Ontario and to ensure that they ALL have equitable access to ALL therapies (OT/PT/SPL/AAC) through the same direct funding model.  Again, thousands of children in Ontario continue not to have access to therapy and equipment.  In the end, so many children are left behind.

  • Why does Ontario continue to be selective in which children they serve and which will remain unserved?
  • Where is the equal opportunity to life?
  • Where is the dignity?
  • Where is the equality?
  • Where is the equity?

We urge you to tweet Hon Michael Coteau MPP Ministry of Children and Youth Services / Anti-Racism Directorate at @Coteau, you may also contact his office by phone at 416-212-7432 and by email at

We want #NoChildLeftBehind.

Lynda Reusse, CoFounder, Ontario Disability Coalition
Sherry Caldwell, CoFounder, Ontario Disability Coalition
Manda Krpan Mesic,  CoFounder, Ontario Disability Coalition
Geoffrey Feldman, Director, Ontario Disability Coalition
Samadhi Mora-Severino (PhD student), Advisor, Ontario Disability Coalition               Paula Tzouanakis Anderson, Advisor, Ontario Disability Coalition

Contact:  Tel:  416-903-5067  Email:

Ontario Disability Coalition Reports on the Great Disability Divide in Ontario.

The Ontario Disability Coalition will report on the Lack of Hands On Therapy for Children and Youth with ALL Disabilities.

The Ontario Disability Coalition (the “ ODC”) is holding a press conference at Queen’s Park on Monday, December 4, 2017 from 1:00-1:30 PM, to raise awareness of the crisis in the Rehabilitation Services in Ontario for Children and Youth with ALL Disabilities.

Co-Founders Sherry Caldwell, and Lynda Reusse will release the results of a survey on experiences of parents with children and youth with special needs when accessing Rehabilitation Services across Ontario.  Samadhi Mora-Severino and her son Ethan will share their experiences.

Families of Children and Youth with ALL Disabilities should have a choice of Direct Funding or Direct Service options to eradicate wait lists and have timely access to hands on Therapy across various types of therapies.  Currently, the system centered framework provides various levels of funding with limited types of therapies only provided in short treatment block.  Every Ontarian deserves to be treated equally and be provided with the opportunities to be able to live without discrimination of the services, and facilities that they need to survive, thrive and succeed.

The ODC is calling upon the Ontario government to extend direct funding for therapy to ALL children with ALL disabilities.  Adequate therapy funding is needed to meet the needs of all children, regardless of diagnosis and severity.

Specific concerns include:

  • Special services are provided by skeletal front line staff at the Children’s Treatment Centres
  • Types of therapies that are provided vary across the province
  • Frequency of therapy is extremely limited & Endless Wait-lists
  • Discrimination based on Disability
  • The amount of funding across the Children’s Treatment Centres is inequitable

Electronic Media Kit

Lynda Reusse CoFounder, Ontario Disability Coalition
Sherry Caldwell  CoFounder, Ontario Disability Coalition
Manda Krpan Mesic CoFounder, Ontario Disability Coalition
Geoff Feldman Director, Ontario Disability Coalition
Samadhi Mora-Severino Advisor, Ontario Disability Coalition

Funding the Ontario Children Treatment Centres (“CTC”)

Not knowing the breakdown of the funding formula does makes it appear like their is an inequity but these points must be made as the real information and funding formula is hidden from the Public.

The points are:

  1. Revenues are based upon the client’s served and not on the success results.
  2. Yes, Holland-Bloorview Kids Rehab is CTC, a hospital and a research centre but a breakdown by division is not publicly available.
  3. Children with additional needs are required to go to a CTC in their region and not the closest one or the one that is recognized for success with a specialized therapy they may need.
  4. The Public cannot access information on the Funding, Clients Served, Success Rates, Specialty, and Revenues that use public monies.
  5. Some CTC’s have not published any information since 2015!




Where: Queens Park Media Studio
When: December 4th, 2017
Time: 1pm 

There is a Rehabilitation crisis for children with ALL disabilities in Ontario and it is imperative to get action from our Government. Families and concerned citizens are planning to share with you our experiences with rehabilitation services across Ontario. The Ontario Disability Coalition is discussing the effects of  the erosion of Human Right’s by the Ontario Government for people (especially children) with a disability.

We will be also be releasing the results of a recent survey on the experiences of parents with children with special needs when dealing with the Children’s Treatment Centres (CTC’s) across Ontario. In addition, we will share our vision for families to have choice and control in relation to their disability services.

Every Ontarian deserves to be treated equally and be provided with the opportunities to be able to live without discrimination of the services, and facilities that they need to survive, succeed and thrive.

If any of you would like additional information please feel free to reach out to us  ONTARIODISABILITYCOALITION@GMAIL.COM


Ontario Children Denied Medication

Health Canada has approved Spinraza for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) patients so what is stopping the Ontario Government from allowing a Children’s Hospital to administer this to young patients. Especially when it has proven effective in the USA for patients with SMA 1, 2 & 3. Money should not prevent a child have a chance at a normal life.

Irreversible tissue damage will happen if 3.5 year old Sofia Gall does not get treated. Why do her parents need to raise money through donations to travel to a hospital in the States just so the Ontario Government can save a penny to waste on their follies?

Help Sofia and her mom Julia Antipa by making her plea go viral on Facebook.

Help the Ontario Disability Coalition make a change and sign our Petition.

Consultation Is Not Therapy

A disabled child, youth or adult can benefit greatly from the hands-on treatment provided by a health professional.  A trained Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist, Behavioural Therapist, and/or a Speech and Language Therapist can work wonders and make life-changing differences.

The Ontario Government cutbacks have reduced access to this needed therapy and are handing it over to the stressed, over-worked, parent to handle.  Consultation sessions with health professional does not turn a parent into a trained professional that spends years in training before earning a license to practice the learned skill.

Help us change this and provide greater access to hands on treatment with a regulated health professional. Please sign, distribute and mail our Petition.

Ontario Disability Coalition Petition

Petition to support ALL children and youth with disabilities

To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario

WHEREAS; We need you to break down the barriers that are depriving many children and youth with ALL disabilities access to ongoing and continuous therapy to improve their quality of life to promote their independence.

WHEREAS; Children and youth with ALL disabilities should be able to access quality therapy that is parent/caregiver directed. All children and youth with disabilities must have access to needed hands on therapy such as Physiotherapy, Occupational, Speech and Language, Augmentative Communication and Vision therapy

WHEREAS; Parents should be able to purchase therapy through a Direct Funding model WHEREAS; There should be a transparent process for accessing therapy through the Children’s Treatment Centre’s

WHEREAS; All additional investments in Children Treatment Centre’s should maximize front line services and reduce excess management costs.

WHEREAS; Parents should be able to access an independent appeal process

The undersigned an Ontario voting resident petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

As currently many children and youth are being deprived of necessary therapies which result in adverse long term health effects we are pleading with you to address this immediately. Urge the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to provide the necessary and required therapy to children and youth with ALL disabilities on a consistent and ongoing basis, with a choice of direct funding model,to fulfill the government’s commitment to support ALL children to allow these services to increase their ability to participate fully at home, school and in the community.

Signature: _________________________________________

Printed Name: _________________________________________

Ontario Address: ________________________________________

Ontario City: __________________________

Province: Ontario

PO Code: ________________

Please print complete and return signed petition to: Ontario Disability Coalition 5 Skywood Drive Richmond Hill, Ontario

To Download Full Form: OCDPetition

Disabled Children are denied Access to ongoing Therapy

Access to therapy should not be difficult but if your child requires regular professional therapy it is!  These same children become adults who will still need therapy.  Without ongoing professional therapy secondary preventable conditions can and will develop as a result of poor ongoing care.

Today, the untrained parent is expected to handle this therapy as most cannot afford a private therapist.

The Canada Health Act states that “the primary objective of Canadian health care policy is to protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers.”

If you think that the Ontario Government should follow the Canada Health Act please print, sign, distribute and return the Ontario Disability Coalition Petition.


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