Yes, but you are encouraged to apply and get on the waiting list.
The average wait for an interview is less than a year, but this is subject to change. Please check with your local Independent Living Resource Centre.
No. We interview applicants at their nearest Independent Living Resource Centre, i.e., in Collingwood, Kapuskasing, Kingston, London, Ottawa, Parry Sound, Sudbury, St. Catharines, Thunder Bay, Toronto and Waterloo. However, we do interviews in other Ontario cities/towns. If travel is difficult for you, let us know; we will try to find a suitable location.
Finding attendants can be done in a variety of ways but online job boards such as craigslist and kijiji are popular. Some participants place an ad in the local newspaper, or post a note on the supermarket bulletin board. Even in small communities, finding attendants is not usually difficult as it is regular employment. Since you train your attendants, they do not need to have any special experience.
This is a common fear for applicants but is not a frequent occurrence for program participants. The relationship between attendants and consumers on the program is quite different from traditional services. In Direct Funding, the attendant works for you, the employer, and a close relationship of trust and reliance may develop.Â Attendants are usually reliable in this arrangement.
If an attendant needs to be absent, he or she would let you know and you would call upon your back-up attendant(s). (You can also hire temporarily from an agency in emergency situations).
Self-managers have come up with different ideas on how to have someone available at night, including having a "sleep-over" arrangement or someone on call. For example, some sleep-overs (overnights) can be included although they are typically paid at a different rate than the daytime shifts, especially if the person can sleep during the night if, for example, you need assistance only once or twice in the night.
People with a high level of disability use this program and are usually happy with it. The types of disabilities are diverse; needs range from about 1 hour per day to 7 hours per day (and higher for full-time ventilator users). We could put you in touch with someone who has similar needs to yours. On the other hand, this Program is not for everybody; especially persons who are quite ill, or who need "looking after".
Actually, once you get rolling, it doesn't take much work at all to keep your system going smoothly. A big help is the funding we provide each participant to hire a bookkeeper who can help prepare payroll and financial reports for you. In addition, participants often use different people in the community who can give advice and share experience. Also, there is a wide network of successful self-managers who are willing to share their experience and give you advice. Finally, each ILRC has trained staff willing to help you.
To qualify, you must meet all the eligibility criteria listed in the Direct Funding Application Guide and be able to demonstrate this, by yourself, in an interview. Direct Funding is about personally taking responsibility for managing your attendant services yourself. There are other, less hands-on, options for attendant services in Ontario, if you prefer. Ask your CCAC or local Independent Living Resource Centre, or visit CILT's website under the Attendant Services section.
If you like to have control over the things in your life, then this program may be for you. On Direct Funding, gone are the problems of not knowing who is coming into your home. Gone is hoping that "management" will get around to fixing problems.Â
As the employer and manager, you get to select who your attendants will be and schedule them around your daily needs. You can have attendants help you anywhere you go in Ontario. In return for full responsibility and some risks, you get control, flexibility and choice in your attendant services.
Direct Funding is portable within Ontario: funding is not dependent on where you live in the province. In other words, if you move, all you have to do is call us with your new address and phone number; you do not have to be reassessed for the program.
Yes. There are many Direct Funding participants who have no use of their hands and/or are non-speaking. As long as you can demonstrate that you can direct the assistance you need (perhaps through some augmentative or alternate method of communication, including but not limited to bliss board, symbol system or speech device), you may be able to manage on Direct Funding. If you have no use of your hands, you may have someone physically assist you with first applying for the program, although the application must be in your own words, and then, once on the program, you may direct someone to assist you with the paperwork involved in maintaining a payroll of one or more staff. You may also “sign” cheques and other legal documents with a signature stamp, which would be used by someone else under your direction.
Participants on the Direct Funding Program are not allowed employ or pay immediate family members as attendants. The Direct Funding Agreement defines an “immediate family member” as “any parent, child, sibling, person to whom the Participant is married, or person, other than a blood relative, with whom the Participant has lived for at least 1 year, and with whom the Participant has a personal relationship of primary importance.”
Some applicants and participants occasionally ask if they can employ family members who would fall somewhat outside this definition (for example, nieces, sons/daughters-in-law, romantic partners who maintain a separate residence), but we always advise strongly against this. When the program was first designed, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care was emphatic that participants not employ family members. Additionally, mixing family with employer/employee relationships is fraught: just imagine having to dismiss a family member. There is also the potential of a conflict of interest, since there would be a financial benefit to the family.
In most cases, Direct Funding is a life-long program for Self-Managers. However, staying on the program is always contingent on a participant meeting both the eligibility criteria and their obligations under the legal agreement between the participant and the program. Participants on the program are responsible for all aspects of recruiting, hiring, training and firing their staff and must comply with all employment legislation in Ontario. They are also accountable for all program funds they spend and must provide quarterly reports on a set schedule, including all necessary documentation and receipts. The program provides funds to hire a bookkeeper, but ultimate responsibility for program funds rests completely with the Self-Manager. Although it is rare for an agreement to be terminated, there is a clause in the agreement that allows the program to stop funding individuals for whom there is proof they have breached their legal agreement.
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.