Reena is a non-profit organization that has provided community services for people with developmental disabilities while promoting dignity, individuality, independence, personal growth and community inclusion within a framework of Jewish culture and values since 1973. Reena advocates for people, and supports individuals to develop spiritually, feel a connection and sense of belonging to their roots, culture and community, but also encourages the expression of everyone’s culture and religious roots, regardless of background and denomination. Reena reserves the right to reassign this position to a different location due to operational needs.

Click here to learn about the responsibilities and qualifications for the Direct Support Professional Position.

Thank you for your interest in joining Reena. Only those applicants selected for an interview will be contacted. All successful candidates will be required to complete a Vulnerable Sector Screen. We all share in maintaining a safe care environment for clients, families, and visitors and a safe work environment for staff and volunteers. Reena is committed to providing accessible employment practices that are in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (‘AODA’). If you require accommodation for disability during any stage of the recruitment process, please notify Human Resources (905) 763 – 8254 x3055


TORONTO, October 3, 2018

Reena Foundation is the recipient of a $1.8 million dollar donation that will see the creation of a new group home exclusively for women.

For over 40 years, Reena has provided community services and housing for individuals with Autism and other developmental disabilities.

The donation comes from the MIRIAM AND LARRY ROBBINS FOUNDATION; the Robbins family is well known for their philanthropy. Last year, their support allowed Reena to purchase two vans and expand its summer camp program to include campers with more challenging disabilities.

Women with developmental disabilities are 65% more likely to experience abuse,” says Reena Foundation Executive Director, Sheila (Miller) Lampert. This home will help address an urgent need in our community.” Currently, Reena provides specialized residential support in over 30 group homes and over 131 Supported Independent Living Apartments.

The donation will allow for the cost of the house as well as necessary renovations and a minivan to transport the residents wherever they need to go.

Bryan Keshen, Reena’s President and CEO noted that “this gift will transform the lives of the residents, who will not only have a home in the heart of the Jewish community but will also have access to an array of community services they did not previously receive.”

“This was a cause that really spoke to our heart,” says Monty S. Robbins.

It also spoke to the heart of Toronto Maple Leaf, Mitchell Marner. In addition to playing for the Leafs, Marner also works to improve the lives of others through the Marner Assist Fund, a fund which helps various organizations across Canada. When he heard about the gift to Reena, he was honoured to be a part of it. Participating in the cheque presentation gave him the opportunity not only to lend support, but also to meet some of his biggest fans. Ashtyn Robbins made a presentation on behalf of her family, thanking Marner for joining them in support of Reena.

The Robbins family, are legendary Leaf Fans, but they aren’t the only ones. In honour of Marner’s presence, Chris, an individual supported by Reena, created a one-of-a kind painting for his favourite Leaf.

“This is a painting of a heart,” says Chris. “I paint with my whole heart and Mitch Marner plays with his whole heart.”

The home is scheduled for completion in 2019.

Rebounds for Reena 2018

Announcing the Second Annual Rebounds for Reena!

Rebounds for Reena is a basketball tournament in support of Reena Foundation. The event will take place on August 12th at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre (9600 Bathurst Street) in Vaughan (Bathurst & Rutherford). Rebounds for Reena will include up to 16 basketball teams that will compete for the Rebounds Championship. A drills and skills workshop will be held at halftime, where individuals supported by Reena will be invited to participate. There is no entry fee, but each team (up to 5 players per team) is asked to raise a minimum of $90 per player.Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Last year’s inaugural event raised over $30,000 for Reena’s Respite and Enrichment Programs, like Special Olympics Basketball, which focuses on improving social interactions and fostering friendships. Other programs include cooking classes, job readiness training, literacy, technology education and our popular winter and summer camps.

Learn more and register your team!

Reena congratulates Premier-Designate Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario on their victory

June 20, 2018 – Thornhill, ON – Reena looks forward to working with the new Government of Ontario under the leadership of Premier-Designate Doug Ford to improve the lives of those with developmental disabilities across the Province.

We look forward to efforts that expand housing options and employment opportunities maximizing community engagement and creating effective and efficient supports for this vulnerable community.

We are pleased that the Premier-Designate has firsthand knowledge of Reena and the innovative work that we do, having participated in our fundraising events and having met those we assist.

We look forward to increased co-ordination between all Ministries involved in the care and support of those with developmental disabilities. Silos have been getting smaller and now it is our hope that they will be removed entirely.

Reena is looking forward to working with the new government to tackle major issues facing our sector, including a 40 year housing waitlist, service gaps for individuals once they turn 18 and an ageing population.

Reena would also like to take this opportunity to thank Kathleen Wynne and her government for their support over the years to those with developmental disabilities. A lot was done with respect to housing and employment, and those we assist are better off in many ways, but there is still much more to be done.

Reena will continue to work with the new Government to advocate for additional housing with supports and employment opportunities for those with developmental disabilities, and we look forward to meeting with the Minister and Staff as soon as possible.

Reena would like to take this opportunity to formally invite the Premier-Designate and all members of the caucus to tour our existing innovative intentional community residence in the riding of King-Vaughan, represented by MPP-elect Stephen Lecce, who had this to say on his recent tour: “The Reena Community Residence is a testament to our shared commitment to give every single Canadian the opportunity to live up to their full potential.”

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 over 1,000 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

Reena Community Residence: Evaluation of an Intentional Community

In 2012, Reena opened the Reena Community Residence (RCR), an intentional community housing project for seventy-seven individuals with developmental disabilities in the City of Vaughan, Ontario. As part of the development process for a second location, Reena engaged the research team at SHS Consulting to conduct a review of the physical design of the existing RCR and to evaluate its application of the intentional community housing model. The overall research question was: What key lessons can Reena learn from the Reena Community Residence and its implementation of the intentional community model for people with developmental disabilities?

This report provides a detailed description of the findings of the study conducted between July 2017 and February 2018.

Read the report.

2018 Annual General Meeting

The Board of Directors of Reena, Reena Foundation & Batay Reena invite you to attend the 2018 Annual General Meeting.

When: Tuesday, July 17th, 2018, 7:00 PM

Toby and Henry Battle
Developmental Centre
927 Clark Ave West
Thornhill ON, L4J 8G6

Guest Speaker Adam Vaughan, MP Spadina-Fort York
Election of Directors
Approval of Financial Statements
Presentation of Awards
Light refreshments will be served

RSVP by Friday July 6th, 2018 to
Chevanne Simpson
(905) 889.4548
csimpson [at]

Minister Kirsty Duncan Visits the RCR

Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities Visits Reena

May 17, 2018 – Thornhill, ON – Reena was pleased to welcome Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities and MP Deb Schulte on a tour of the innovative Reena Community Residence yesterday.

The tour began with introductions by Reena staff members, as well as, board and family members. Stories were shared about the challenges faced by individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as, the new opportunities presented by the National Housing Strategy launched earlier this year.

The National Housing Strategy provides solutions for affordable housing across the country, with a co-investment fund that will drive the creation of 2,400 units for individuals with developmental disabilities. Over the next ten years, Reena plans to put this strategy into action by creating affordable housing modeled after the Reena Community Residence.

The Reena Community Residence is designed as an intentional community with a mix of residents, meant to provide services with a much higher degree of teamwork than other settings. Its members hold a common social vision, focusing on the benefits of living and sharing life together. Residents look out for their neighbours.

The Reena Community Residence provides a unique living environment. The building is nestled at the heart of a bustling Jewish community campus. There are 60 one, two and three-bedroom units on the three floors of the residence providing apartment style housing for 84 adults. Residents are integrated into every aspect of community life and have access to array of supports and services.

Following introductions, Minister Duncan toured of the Reena Community Residence, beginning with the Discovery Room and Life Skills Suite. These program rooms provide employment, life and social skill building for individuals who live in the residence and the broader community.

Preceding the program rooms was a visit to two apartments in the building which are occupied by individuals in the Complex Care Model. The Complex Care Model is a unified approach to creating living options for young adults with developmental disabilities and complex medical needs. This collaboration works with a holistic approach, acknowledging the unique and complex needs of each person.

Concluding the tour, Reena was pleased to present the Minister with a piece of art painted by an individual in Reena’s Art Mentorship Program.

Bryan Keshen, President & CEO of Reena noted “We were thrilled to have an opportunity to share with Minister Duncan our innovative models of care. The Reena Community Residence is just like any other apartment building; providing individuality and independence for residence. We look forward to continued work, with all levels of government, to build affordable housing solutions for individuals with developmental disabilities.”

Provincial Election Forum on Developmental Services

Ontarians who have an intellectual or developmental disability need a plan of action to address the gaps in services and supports. Find out how the parties intend to work with community stakeholders to implement solutions to better assist people to lead meaningful lives in the community. Join us for this important discussion. Got a question for the candidates related to developmental services? Bring them with you. 


When: Thursday, May 24 at 7 P.M.
Doors open at 6:30 PM. Seating is first come, first served.

Where: Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
150 Kilgour Road, Toronto

Who: The following candidates are confirmed to attend:
Liberal Party – Deb Matthews ( Ontario Liberal Campaign Chair) 
New Democratic Party – Amara Possian (Don Valley West) 
Green Party -Rita Bilerman (Spadina Fort York)
Progressive Conservative Party – To be confirmed

Hosted by Community Living Toronto, Reena, and Community Living Ontario. Venue provided by Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

This event will be streamed live on Community Living Ontario and Reena’s Facebook pages. For party platforms, election news, and ways to cast your ballot, visit the website.

Caregiver Survey

Are you a caregiver for an individual aging with a developmental disability?

Reena and Mary Centre of the Archdiocese of Toronto (Mary Centre) are updating the 2006 Transitional Guide – now renamed Aging with a Developmental Disability: Planning for Success. 

The revised guide will assist caregivers and health and social service organizations in early planning for aging persons living with a developmental disability. We look forward to receiving your valuable input on the anonymous survey (see link below) by Friday 
June 15, 2018.

Click Here for the Caregiver Survey



Spotlight on Transformation – May 2018

The May 2018 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:

  • A renewed commitment to supporting adults with developmental disabilities in the 2018 Budget
  • Province boosting Passport program funding supports
  • Developmental Disabilities Justice Toolkit available across Ontario
  • Ontario launching new program supporting improved health care


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

2018 Ontario Budget

May 8, 2018 – Thornhill, ON – Reena is very pleased that the 2018 Ontario budget provides the opportunity for citizens with developmental disabilities a better future.

Moving forward

We congratulate the government of Ontario for passing the budget that will afford opportunities to Ontario’s developmentally disabled citizens for a better future. The budget has created opportunities in education, employment, housing, health and in support services that moves forward and extends the opportunity for citizenship and quality of life. Reena looks forward to continuing to work closely with the Honourable Michael Coteau, Minister and Ministry of Community and Social Services (primary funder) and the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs to strengthen the opportunities across all relevant ministries for those with developmental disabilities over the next 3 years and beyond. 

MCSS Opportunities to Care

The proposed additional investment of $1.8 billion over the next three years in developmental services builds on the last four years of investments in the sector. Representing  the single largest investment to developmental services in the province’s history it is intended to help stabilize core services (unintended costs associated with Bill 148 , base operating inflationary pressures )  while increasing resources to individuals and their caregivers including:

  • Expanding direct funding to Passport Program to ensure that more 40,000 eligible people with a developmental disability will receive at least $5,000 per year, providing choice and flexibility in receiving critical supports and services;
  •  Supporting more than 800 people with developmental disabilities who are inappropriately housed in hospitals, long-term care homes, shelters or correctional facilities in moving into suitable safe homes in their community;
  • Encouraging innovative housing solutions at the community level that will increase residential capacity and improve in-home supports, including respite for caregivers to alleviate the challenges associated with full-time care, allowing people to live at home longer; 
  • Funding increases of more than $200 million over three  years to over 350 community-based agencies to continue the delivery of high-quality services and enhance the capacity of service providers, ensuring long-term sustainability of the sector.

Inter-ministerial opportunities

As with all citizens of Ontario, those with developmental disabilities stand to gain from many other initiatives mentioned in the budget, such as, ODSP, enhanced seniors services and funds, mental health initiatives, pharmacare, dental care and housing for vulnerable communities, to name a few.

Specifically, we anticipate that in line with the National Housing Strategy, at least 5% of the more than $1 billion invested each year in affordable housing will be allocated, with supports, to those with developmental disabilities. 

  • Over 18% of people who live in shelters have a developmental disability
  • Over 50% of those with developmental disabilities live with significant medical issues
  • Women with a developmental disability are 65% more likely to experience abuse
  • 90% of those with developmental disabilities live below the poverty line

Reena will continue to work very closely with MCSS and the other affected Ministries to ensure that those with developmental disabilities and their specific needs are taken into account as these programs are implemented and to address the ongoing needs of the Developmental Services Sector.

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 over 1,000 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

More information:
t: (905) 889.6484 



Religious Accommodations & The Job Interview

Employment Advice For Persons With Developmental Disabilities

drawing of a person thinking about their career

Artwork provided by an individual supported by Reena.

Dear Joanna,

I am an observant Jew who keeps the Sabbath and all the Jewish holy days. I will be required to leave early on Fridays during certain months of the year, and take the days off for the holy days, as well as leave early on the eve of the holiday. I am confused as to whether or not to disclose this in the job interview? At which point of the job search process do you recommend that I discuss my religious accommodations? 

Signed: Shomer Shabbat Job Seeker (SSJK)

Dear SSJK,

  1. Legal Issues. According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) in the hiring process, a job applicant’s religion cannot be considered as a selection criterion for employment. Employers cannot legally ask you direct questions about religion, your customs, or your place of worship on a job application or during the interview process.  Employers have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Interviewers don’t ask about this subject, and candidates are not obligated to discuss their religion or accommodations during the interview process. With this in mind, many job seekers and employment specialists recommend requesting religious accommodations when he or she has been offered employment. At this point, they can notify the employer of any religious requirements that are relevant to the performance of his or her duties.
  2. Disclose in the job interview. Some job coaches argue that you should mention your accommodations once you get the job offer. Others suggest that if you decide to discuss your religious accommodations at the interview, then be extra-prepared to make an exceptional impression during the job interview so that when you do disclose your need for religious accommodations at the end of the interview, employers will be reluctant to risk losing you as a future employee! Besides, you will not be able to work at this company if you cannot get this time off so it is critical to come clean in the job interview. Show the employer that you have given lots of thought to this issue. Mention that you need certain accommodations with the work schedule and negotiate alternative ways to make up the time. For example, instead of asking for “days off”, consider offering to work later, in the evenings, the weekends and/or on Christian holy days. Reiterate to the employer that are willing to do whatever it takes to do a great job.
  3. Keep it professional. As true with any topic at an interview, avoid talking about religion or politics. It can be damaging to your candidacy and hurt your chances of getting the job offer. Remember, focus on the job you are applying to unless it’s relevant to the position and qualifications. I would avoid specific details of your religious or any other personal matters as this could cross into risky territory. Never ask the interviewer back about his or her beliefs, faith, or religion. If they choose to share this information voluntarily, that’s their decision.
  4. Find out the hours, the flexibility with the shifts, and workplace culture. Are you able to work from home sometimes? Will there be travel? Try to find out as much as you can about the company from other employees prior to the interview (and even the application if you can).. Use social media, information interviews, and other networking activities. This information can help you prepare for the interview as well as enable you to see if you would be a good fit. Also, target your job search by identifying lists of companies and managers where you will be free to practice your religious observances.

Thanks very much for the great question: Joanna

To submit your questions and comments to this column in confidence, please email Joanna Samuels, Employment Resource Supervisor at Reena. 

Expanding Autism Services for Ontario Kids

Ontario Enhancing Choice and Access to Support for Families of Children and Youth with Autism
Office of the Premier

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced today the government is taking action to expand autism services for children and youth across Ontario.

Premier Wynne was joined today by Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services, at Etobicoke Children’s Centre to highlight the province’s 2018 Budget commitment to invest $62 million in new funding for the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) over the next year. This increase will expand the current system so more children and youth can access behavioural services, family supports and training.

The new funding builds on the government’s previous and unprecedented commitment of more than $500 million over five years to create the Ontario Autism Program and expand autism services. Today’s announcement will further expand that program, which seeks to meet a child’s specific needs at any age. This funding will offer families across the province more access to flexible, individualized services that are based on the needs and strengths of their children.

The commitment Premier Wynne highlighted today is also about continuing to increase choice for families of children and youth with autism, while also recognizing the need to address wait times. The government introduced a direct funding option for behavioural services on January 15. Families can now choose either to receive direct funding to pay for evidence-based behavioural services for their child, or service through one of Ontario’s regional service providers.

Increasing supports for children and youth with autism is part of the government’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free preschool child care from 2 ½ to kindergarten.

Quick Facts

  • One in 66 children and youth is identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

  • The Ontario Autism Program was shaped by the collective voices of parents, caregivers and other experts and advocates. Services are flexible, individualized and based on the needs, strengths and goals of each child and youth with autism and their family.

  • Ontario has increased the maximum hourly rate for evidence-based behavioural services purchased through the OAP from $39 per hour to a maximum of $55 per hour, for families who choose the direct funding option.

  • Over 5,000 children and youth are currently accessing behavioural services through the direct funding or direct service options.

  • Since January 2017, five new diagnostic hubs have been improving the availability of ASD diagnoses so that children and youth can start accessing the supports they need as quickly as possible. These hubs have conducted more than 2,000 assessments across the province.

  • Since 2004, the government has invested more than $20 million to support more than 20 autism research initiatives.

  • Ontario is also investing $1.8 billion over three years to improve services for adults living with developmental disabilities. This investment will give families more choice and flexibility when it comes to care, increase access to safe and secure housing, and enhance supports for caregivers. It will also help ease the transition between the children and youth system and the adult system.

For more information click here.

Federal government ‎launches multi-billion dollar National Housing Co-Investment Fund

Thousands of vulnerable Canadians can look forward to a brighter future with access to safe and affordable housing that meets their needs. The National Housing Co-Investment Fund (NHCF), under Canada’sNational Housing Strategy (NHS), will strengthen the middle class, fuel our economy and give more Canadians across the country a place to call home.

Through the NHCF, the Government of Canada will work with partners to create up to 60,000 new affordable units and repair up to 240,000 affordable and community units over the next ten years. Investments will also support the creation or repair of at least 4,000 shelter spaces for survivors of family violence, the creation of at least 7,000 new affordable units for seniors and 2,400 new affordable units for people with developmental disabilities.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, was in Toronto today to announce the launch of the NHCF, a cornerstone initiative of the federal government’s historic NHS. With this $13.2 billion Fund, the federal government will have an active, sustained role in housing and draw upon up to $4.52 billion in contributions and $8.65 billion in low interest loans to ensure existing rental housing is well maintained and modernized for better energy efficiency and accessibility standards. It will support the development of new high-performing affordable housing across the country that is built to last and supports a human rights-based approach to housing.

The NHCF will be delivered in tandem with the recently created $3.75 billion Rental Construction Financing initiative and the $208.3 million Affordable Housing Innovation Fund. Combined, these three initiatives represent an investment of over $17.15 billion. This includes investments under Investing in Canada Plan.

The collaboration and commitment of partners, including municipalities, is more important than ever before to attain the NHS goal of creating a new generation of housing in Canada and help families in need. Investments under the NHCF will support projects that attract additional funding from other levels of government, not-for-profit and co-operative housing providers, and the private sector.

The NHCF will improve accessibility for people with disabilities, increase affordability and contribute to energy efficiency by prioritizing projects that exceed mandatory requirements.


For more information click here.

Ontario Supporting Better Health Care for Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Online Tools Will Help Family Doctors Implement the Latest Practices in Patient Care
Ministry of Community and Social Services

Ontario is improving health care for adults with developmental disabilities through new supports for primary care providers, including family doctors. 

The Developmental Disabilities Primary Care program will be led by Surrey Place Centre and will help primary care providers, like family doctors, provide the best possible care for adults with developmental disabilities through updated clinical practice guidelines and online tools and resources.

These guidelines include information related to the care needs of adults with developmental disabilities, recommendations for person-centred approaches to care, and preventative care measures. By making these resources available, this new program will help people with developmental disabilities access the health care they need.

Investing in better health care for people with developmental disabilities is part of the government’s broader plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free preschool child care from 2 ½ to kindergarten.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is investing $900,000 over two years to fund the Developmental Disabilities Primary Care Program, which is led by Surrey Place Centre (SPC).
  • This investment will help SPC become the source of primary care information for people with developmental disabilities and advance primary care education in Ontario.
  • The updated clinical practice guidelines were published in the Canadian Family Physician Journal in April 2018.
  • There are an estimated 70,000 adults with developmental disabilities in Ontario.
  • The 2018 budget proposes an increased $1.8 billion investment over three years to support developmental services. If passed, it will be the largest one-time investment in developmental services in the province’s history.

To learn more click here.