SAVE THE DATE – DSTO Information Fair

October 18, 2017 | 35 Carl Hall Road, Unit 2, Toronto ON, M3K 2B6
This is a free event and no pre-registration is required.

The event includes: 

  • Information from Toronto based agencies on services and supports for transitional youth (16 years of age and older) and adults (18 years of age and older) with a developmental disability.
  • The opportunity to explore purchasing services with your Passport dollars.
  • Information on fee for service programs.
  • Agency and Community Partner presentations on topics such as: Developmental Services Ontario, ODSP & Passport;
  • What you can do while you wait for services and supports.
  • Opportunity for families to speak to DSTO agency staff, self-advocacy groups and family groups.
  • More information will be available on the Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) website as we get closer to the event. Please check in for updates at
  • Presentations from the Fair will be available for viewing after the event at

For more information contact Mia Tremblay

You invested, now see the work you made possible

Take a look at the impact your investment in Reena made over the past year in our latest Annual Report. 

In the report:

  • Highlights from 2016 – 2017
  • Stories from our community
  • How your funding helps
  • Strategic plan updates

To view our Audited Financial Statements click here.

Take Action: Affordable Housing For People With Disabilities

Ensure Access to Affordable Housing for Persons with Disabilities

Did you know that 90% of people with developmental disabilities live below the poverty line?

Despite a commitment at various levels of government to address critical housing issues and prioritize support for vulnerable Canadians, current funding is insufficient to ensure people with disabilities are able to live in safe, clean, accessible and supported housing.

You can make an impact.

Take action today and send Premiers from across the country an email asking that their governments explicitly earmark a set allocation of affordable housing funds for people with disabilities. This should include 5% of total affordable housing spending directed to support people with developmental disabilities.

The Council of the Federation meeting in Edmonton this week (July 17 – 19, 2017) provides the ideal opportunity for Premiers to express a united commitment to this policy.

Click here to take action today!

Cross Sector Complex Care Model Evaluation

Prepared by Cathexis Consulting Inc. for the Cross Sector Partners
April 24, 2017 

The cross sector model was developed in response to rising concern among families, caregivers, and members of health and social services communities that the current approach for supporting young adults under 40 years of age with medical complexities and developmental disabilities is insufficient. These individuals face challenges accessing traditional supports and services that are designed either for individuals with developmental disabilities or for individuals with medical complexities, but not for individuals with both.

The cross sector complex care model offers a highly individualized approach to care that integrates services from health and developmental service providers into a single, coordinated person-centred package. The model enhances social determinants of health for the individuals supported by investing in access to health and social services, social networks, food and housing.

The model has been implemented in York Region at the Reena Community Residence and The Richmond Hill Hub, and now houses 9 individuals. At the Reena Residence and the Hub, the package of services includes:

  • Accessible housing that is safe for individuals with disabilities.
  • Person-centred transition before, during and after the move.
  • Person-centred services to support activities of daily living and community participation.
  • Access to appropriate and timely health and medical services, accompanied by a care provider.
  • Community integration through structured day programming/individualized programming.
  • Care coordination/case management.
  • Equipment and supplies necessary to manage declining health conditions and changing physical needs.
  • A system of supports available as needs change.

This evaluation set out to 1) understand the benefits and drawbacks of the model; 2) examine the value of the model in relation to alternatives; and 3) learn about key success factors, challenges and lessons learned. The findings are intended to guide similar initiatives, inform funding decisions and stimulate conversations, collaborations and actions for joint-funded work between LHINs and MCSS.

The evaluation was carried out in February and March, 2017. It was informed by administrative records as well as interviews with almost all of the individuals supported, family members, staff/supervisors and cross sector partners. The program is still quite new, so there isn’t yet enough data to support firm conclusions about longer-term impacts on health, safety and quality of life. However, by looking closely at costs, benefits and implementation, the evaluation provides a better understanding of the model’s potential to fill a gap in the system, while also meeting the unique needs of individuals.

Read the summary here
Read the full report here


Reena is Building for the Future

On June 23 Reena will be hosting the Opening Ceremony of its newest home. This space is custom designed for some of the more complex individuals with developmental disabilities supported by Reena. The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario and The Honourable Dr. Helena Jaczek, the Minister of Community and Social Services, and MPP for Oak Ridges-Markham, will be joining in the presentation.

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

Reena has created an innovative solution, a home custom built for complex needs where individuals, families and staff can feel properly supported.

The home demonstrates the advantages of creating purpose-built housing for specialized needs, as opposed to purchasing and retrofitting existing structures. It is equipped with built-in furniture and inset lighting, as well as, specialized walls and windows to limit injuries. This solution will be a model for the Developmental Services Sector.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services will be providing ongoing annualized operational funding to support the individuals living in this home. The amount that the Ministry will be providing will be determined by the individual support needs of those who will be living in the home.

Bryan Keshen, President and CEO of Reena
 “As we continue to build for the future we rely on donations for the construction of physical spaces. We are grateful to the Ministry of Community and Social Services for providing funding for ongoing operational needs. What we need now is an investment from our community for the development of the home.”

Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
“For almost fifty years, Reena has provided responsive, compassionate and innovative care for people living with developmental disabilities. Reena’s focus on dignity, respect, inclusion and the belief that no one should be left behind are values that we see reflected in the Ontario we are building together. This new home, equipped for specialized needs, will allow residents to live safely and independently.”

Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services and MPP for Oak Ridges-Markham
“We know there is no one-size-fits-all housing solution for adults with developmental disabilities. It’s about exploring innovative housing options that can meet the unique needs of a wide range of individuals. Developmental service agencies like Reena play an invaluable role in providing critical services to people with developmental disabilities.  Congratulations again to Reena on the opening of its newest home. ”

To be part of the solution contact Reena by email at or by phone at (905) 889.6484.


Improving Access to Services for People with Developmental Disabilities

Ontario Newsroom Bulletin | Ministry of Community and Social Services | June 22, 2017

Province Increasing Supports that will Help Connect People with Developmental Disabilities to Local Programs and Resources

Ontario is improving access to services for adults with developmental disabilities and their families by finding better ways to connect them to supports available in their local community.

Today, Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services and Ted McMeekin, MPP, Ancaster–Dundas–Flamborough–Westdale, were at Contact Hamilton, to announce supports and resources for adults with developmental disabilities, including:

  • Hiring more Developmental Services Ontario staff, who help people with developmental disabilities find services and supports in their community
  • Expanding the Adult Protective Service Worker program, which matches adults who have a developmental disability and live on their own with a worker who helps them with their everyday living needs, access community resources, and set and achieve goals
  • Increasing access to clinical professionals and specialized services at home and in the community for people with an exceptional dual diagnosis or complex behavioural and medical needs
  • Helping more people gain work experience by partnering with the Ontario Disability Employment Network to better coordinate services and increase capacity across developmental service agencies, Employment Supports service providers, school boards and employers
  • Expanding family support networks, which are groups made up of caregivers who help give adults with developmental disabilities and their families a sense of belonging and help connect them with appropriate services and supports.

Through these increased supports, people with developmental disabilities and their families will be better able to find services in their communities — for example housing solutions —  so that they can live as independently as possible. These investments will also help system partners work better together to coordinate care for their clients.

Ontario will continue to work with people with developmental disabilities, their families and caregivers, agencies and other community partners to increase connections, and help them  best determine their own future.

Supporting adults with developmental disabilities is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.


  • Ontario is investing over $12.5 million this year for these initiatives. This includes approximately $3 million towards increasing the Adult Protective Service Worker program.
  • This investment is part of the Ontario government’s multi-year investment strategies in community and developmental services.
  • Ontario currently invests over $2 billion a year in developmental services.

There are nine regional Developmental Services Ontario agencies across the province.

For more information click here.

Families Connect

CAMH and Aptus Treatment Centre are offering two FREE 8 week programs. One for individuals aged 16+ with dual-diagnosis and another for parents/caregivers.

Date: September 20 – November 8
Time: 6:30 – 8:00PM
Location: 40 Samor Road, Toronto ON 

Individuals will learn about emotions and practice sensory-motor and cognitive strategies to develop their over self-regulation plans.

Parents/caregivers will be provided with peer-support, self-care and coping strategies, as well as education and valuable resources.

For more information click here or here.

Bytes & Bites On Emergency Department Visits

The Toronto Partnership on Aging and Developmental Disabilities (TPADD) has prepared its fourth bi-monthly newsletter. This newsletter follows feedback obtained from Developmental Sector professionals seeking information and knowledge related to supporting persons with a developmental disability. “Bytes and Bites” will endeavour to be your go to place for quick information on a variety of selected topics related to aging adults with a developmental disability.

To view the June 2017 edition of Bytes and Bites click here

Spotlight On Transformation – June 2017

The June 2017 edition of “Spotlight on Transformation” is available. This bulletin is provided by the Ministry of Community & Social Services and covers the developmental services transformation.

In this issue:

  • Province Aims to Boost Employment for People with Disabilities
  • Proposed Changes to Ontario’s Employment and Labour Laws

To view the bulletin click here
To view previous editions of the bulletin click here

2017 Home Depot Orange Door Project

Want your DIY project to make a difference beyond your property line? Support The Home Deport Orange Door Project.

Between June 01 and July 2, purchase a $2 paper door at the checkout of the Steeles & Dufferin Home Depot. All proceeds will be directed to Reena.

You can help make this years campaign great! 

Click here to learn more about The Orange Door Project
Click here for directions to the Steeles & Dufferin Home Depot

Swinging for Reena is July 11!

July 11, 2017 @ Angus Glen Golf Clubswinging for reena golf tournament

Tribute Communities is hosting Swinging for Reena, a Charity Golf Tournament now in its 7th year! The day of golfing at Angus Glen Golf Club includes breakfast on the course and is followed by a dinner reception.

Proceeds from the event support Reena.

Golf foursomes and sponsorship opportunities are available. This tournament sells out every year! Don’t miss out. To purchase your foursome, sponsor the event, or make a donation email us by clicking here.

For more about Angus Glen Golf Club click here
For more about Tribute Communities click here



National AccessAbility Week

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities issued the following statement to announce National AccessAbility Week (May 28 – June 3): 

“As Canada’s Minister responsible for Persons with Disabilities, I believe that our country’s diversity is our strength—and when we include people with disabilities, we create a stronger Canada for everyone.  

It is my pleasure to announce that launching this spring, for the first time in many years, an annual national week devoted to inclusion and accessibility.

From May 28 to June 3, 2017, National AccessAbility Week will celebrate, highlight and promote inclusion and accessibility in our communities and workplaces across the country.

We’ve made great strides in promoting inclusion for Canadians with disabilities, but there is still much work to do.

To create a truly inclusive society, we need to change the way we think, talk and act about barriers to participation and accessibility—and we need to do it right from the start, not as an afterthought. An inclusive Canada is one where all Canadians can participate and have an equal opportunity to succeed.    

National AccessAbility Week will aim to bring this perspective to the forefront for Canadians, and highlight some of the important initiatives this government and its partners are undertaking to bring about this change.

Please join us in celebrating National AccessAbility Week. “

For more information visit:
Follow:  @AccessibleGC on Twitter, Accessible Canada on Facebook


Spotlight On Transformation – May 2017

The May 2017 edition of “Spotlight on Transformation” is available. This bulletin is provided by the Ministry of Community & Social Services and covers the developmental services transformation.

In this issue:

  • Ontario Renews Commitment to Supporting Adults with Developmental Disabilities in the 2017 Budget
  • Investment Supports Greater Employment Opportunities for Adults with Developmental Disabilities
  • Employment and Modernization Fund Project Receives International Recognition

To view the bulletin click here
To view previous editions of the bulletin click here

ReelAbilities | May 11-18, 2017

We are excited to be co-presenting MY HERO BROTHER at ReelAbilities Toronto

ReelAbilities Toronto was the first international city to host a ReelAbilities Film Festival in 2016. This Festival is returning to Toronto this year, to champion and create opportunities to showcase disability and Deaf cultures through film, and the art and talent of artists with disabilities and Deaf artists. This years line-up includes Canadian and International premieres. The 2017 ReelAbilities Film Festival will be held on May 11 – 18.

MY HERO BROTHER is a film about a group of young adults with Down syndrome embark on a demanding trip through the Himalayas, accompanied by their siblings. Their journey brings unresolved challenges to the surface.

A discussion panel with the cast and director Yonatan Nir will take place after the film. Watch the trailer by clicking here and get your tickets now by clicking here.

To view the full lineup of events click here.

Responding To The 2017 Budget

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa tabled Budget 2017 in the Ontario Legislature yesterday.

Reena is pleased to provide this commentary on how Budget 2017 impacts on those we serve, individuals with Developmental Disabilities and in particular on their inclusion in Ontario society.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services has demonstrated that those with Developmental Disabilities are important to the fabric of Ontario and the Government of Ontario has supported this by granting MCSS $ 677 increase over 4 years.

MCSS Budget for the developmental services sector is projected to increase by $130 Million in this fiscal year, a significant upfront investment in the 4 year plan. We are pleased that this investment builds on the $810 million allocated over the last few years and will help expand efforts for social inclusion for the most vulnerable in our community by:

  • Providing over 375 additional residential developmental services placements for individuals with urgent needs and youth transitioning from the child welfare system;
  • Supporting 1,000 additional adults with developmental disabilities to participate in their communities through the Passport program;
  • Establishing a special residential support home for individuals with complex needs who are moving from justice facilities;
  • Expanding specialized clinical responses for individuals with complex special needs; and Improving access to local community services by making the system easier to navigate
  • In addition, a capital investment of $5 million in 2017-18 will go to support transition home and innovative housing solutions.

Reena remains ready to work with all levels of government and the private sector to maximize the impact of Budget 2017 to support social inclusion.

Budget 2017 focuses on assisting vulnerable populations and we are pleased to see that the Government has recognized that individuals with Developmental Disabilities are included in this definition. Building on the Ombudsman’s Report, “Nowhere to Turn”, we encourage all Ministries in the Government to work together to ensure that those with Developmental Disabilities are not left behind. This increased investment and cross ministry effort is reflected in the integrated approach in housing, mental health, health care and basic income pilot project.

The following are examples:

  • Under the affordable housing strategy the Ontario Government is going to strategically leverage Provincial land assets .. The province will pilot the program at multiple sites in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, committing $70-$100 million in land to develop up to 2,000 new housing units, including a mix of market and affordable housing
  • Beginning in spring of 2017, the Province will work with municipalities, the federal government, the housing sector and other interested stakeholders to confirm the pilot sites and final program design.
  • For Dementia there will $100 million invested over 3 years including expanding province-wide access to community programs and other investments to enhance access to care, information and support from as early as possible once a diagnosis is made
  • Help patients and their caregivers find and access the most appropriate care and supports, improve training and education in dementia care for personal support workers, physicians, nurses, and other front line workers
  • Invest an additional $20 million in 2017 for respite care

The immediate positive impact of this budget will be felt with an expanded ODSP benefit program, increased employment supports, the expansion of affordable housing and growing passport funding so that individuals and their families can better manage and improve their own lives.

  •  The basic income pilot will commence this year in Hamilton, Thunder Bay, and Lindsay
  •  Investing more than $480 million over four years to raise asset limits, increase income exemptions for cash gifts, and provide a rate increase that will benefit more than 900,000 people across Ontario form Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program
  •  For ODSP recipients, effective January 2018, the cash and other liquid asset limits will be increased from $5,000 to $40,000 for single individuals, and from $7,500 to $50,000 for couples
  •  Effective Sept 2017, income exemption for cash gifts will be increased from $6,000 up to $10,000 per year in both ODSP and Ontario Works
  •  Effective Sept 2017, gifts in any amount will not reduce the amount of social assistance people receive if the funds are used to pay for first and last month’s rent, purchase a principal residence, or buy a vehicle that they may need
  •  ODSP rates will increase 2% effective Sept 2017, and will include increases to other social assistance benefits and allowances, such as Personal Needs Allowance

Bryan Keshen, President and CEO of Reena indicated “I am pleased to see an expanded investment in services through the Ministry of Community and Social Services for those in crisis and in transition to adult services. I am particularly thrilled to see the recognition and investment in inter-ministerial efforts with expanded housing, support for caregivers, and health services targeted to the most vulnerable populations of which those with developmental disabilities are disproportionately represented.”

It is unfortunate that core budgets of all agencies are flat and are not even indexed to inflation. All MCSS agencies, including Reena, will need to be creative and raise additional resources and/or cut non-essential services.

The budget was silent on a number of key areas of concern for the sector, namely base funding to cover inflationary costs nor was there any provision for legal and legislated responsibilities such as pay equity. In response Bryan noted that “agencies like Reena will need to be creative in their program provision without cutting core services and will increasingly depend on community support and philanthropy.”

Carolynn Morrison, parent of an individual supported by Reena and Chair of Reena’s Government Relations Committee commented: “We are pleased with the recognition and support of individuals like my son, but with no base funding increases, it makes me wonder what my son and his friends were able to do last year that they will not have the supports for next year. We can’t keep falling behind inflation.”