How do I know if DF is right for me?

If you are considering submitting an application to the Direct Funding Program for yourself, or referring a client, you should know that Direct Funding is often the right program for the person who needs attendant services, who wants more control over those services and who is willing to accept responsibility for managing those services. Although the management aspects can seem daunting at first, almost 700 people across Ontario are managing their own services very successfully. Following are a few points to keep in mind if you are thinking of Direct Funding for yourself or your client:

  • You must able to self-direct, which means you understand your disability including what assistance you need, when and how you need it and you can instruct attendants to help you.

  • Self-management, in terms of the Direct Funding Program, describes an individual who is willing and able to accept the responsibilities of recruiting, hiring, training and paying the attendant staff they need to live independently. A self-manager must be able to make difficult decisions about which people they want to hire, and, if the situation arises (which it may) which people must be fired. Direct Funding requires an individual, or “self-manager” to become an employer, register with Revenue Canada, and submit the required monthly and quarterly government submissions. There is money in the budget to hire a bookkeeper and a good bookkeeper is a key part of Direct Funding but ultimate responsibility always rests with the self-manager. Once again, this may sound like a lot of responsibility for someone new to the world of self-management but the plus is that many people are able to hire long-term, reliable staff. Much of this has to do with the important personal fit that can be found when people hire their own attendants.

Following is the list of eligibility criteria for the program. A person must meet all the eligibility criteria for the program in order to receive Direct Funding.

Eligibility Criteria

These eligibility criteria reflect the Regulation Made under the Ministry of Community and Social Services Act: Grants for Persons with Disabilities, which stands as the final authority.

To be eligible for the program a person must be a resident of Ontario, hold a valid Ontario Health Card and must meet ALL the following criteria:

A person is an eligible person for the program if he/she:

  • is at least 16 years old;
  • requires attendant services as a result of a permanent physical disability;

Service Needs

  • requires the attendant services referred to in at least two of 1 to 8 and at least one of them is from 1 to 4 of the following:
  • “Attendant services” means assistance with activities of living referred to in 1 to 8 of the list below.

    An “attendant worker” means a worker who provides any of the attendant services referred to in 1 to 8 of the list below.

    1. turning in bed, lifting, positioning or transferring;
    2. washing, bathing, showering, shaving or personal grooming;
    3. dressing or undressing;
    4. catheterization, emptying and changing a leg bag, using the toilet, urination or bowel routines;
    5. breathing, or caring for a tracheostomy or respiratory equipment;
    6. eating;
    7. meal preparation, dish washing, laundry or other housekeeping tasks; and
    8. essential communication;

  • has attendant services requirements that have been stable over a period of at least one year;
  • has service requirements that can be met while residing in his/her home;


  • understands the nature of his/her disability and its impact on his/her ability to carry out the essential activities of daily living;
  • is aware of the type of attendant services he/she requires and when, how much and how assistance should be provided;
  • is capable of scheduling his/her attendant services as well as making alternative arrangements to ensure that his/her requirements are met in case an attendant worker is not available at a scheduled time;
  • is capable of training or arranging the training of, supervising, instructing and communicating with attendant workers;


  • is capable of recruiting, hiring and dismissing attendant workers;
  • is capable of understanding and carrying out the responsibilities as an employer of one or more attendant workers;
  • is capable of managing and accounting for the expenditure of the funds that would be granted to him/her;
  • is capable of evaluating the attendant services he/she would receive and of communicating his/her evaluation; and
  • is prepared to undertake the functions referred to in clauses mentioned above and to assume the responsibility and risks inherent in undertaking those functions.
For more information on the Direct Funding program, contact CILT:

Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT)
365 Bloor Street East Suite 902
Toronto, Ontario
M4W 3L4

Tel: (416) 599-2458
Fax: (416) 599-3555
TTY: (416) 599-5077
Toll Free:1-800-354-9950

"The freedom and flexibility that I am experiencing were not imaginable in the other settings."
- 46-year-old man living alone

Program puts more people with disabilities in control

The Direct Funding Program is being expanded to allow more Ontarians with disabilities to live independently in their homes.

You can read more about this in our News Release.

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