Special Needs Strategy Update - Integrated Delivery of Rehabilitation Services

The Ministries of Children and Youth Services, Community and Social Services, Education and Health and Long-Term Care are working to implement the Special Needs Strategy which has goals to support children and youth with special needs get the timely and effective services they need at home, at school, in the community and as they transition to adulthood. 

A key  component of the Strategy is the integration of rehabilitation services, specifically speech-language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy to ensure that services will be easier to access circulated and seamless from birth through the school year.  The Ministries have provided a March 7, 2017 update on the Integrated Delivery of Rehabilitation Services initiatives. This update outlines activity and decisions to date & expectations of the ministries for service provider agencies and District School Boards regarding next steps for implementation, including engagement with local partners in order to finalize service delivery proposals.  Planning will take place over 2017 - 18 with a goal to see implementation begin as early as Fall 2018.

View the March 9, 2017 Communique - Next Steps for Integrated Delivery of Rehabilitation Services.

To support consistent communication to families, reassuring them that there will be no disruption in access to services, the Ministries have prepared a template letter that they have requested service provider organizations to circulate to families currently receiving or waiting for services by not later than April 30th.  View the family communication template.

Implications for Occupational Therapists

In 2015 Local Planning Tables in 34 regions developed initial plans for integrating rehab services.  These were reviewed by the Ministries and over the next several months the Ministries will work with local Steering Committees as they undertake the work required to develop final proposals and implementation plans for the transition to new service delivery models, including planning for changes to local service delivery structures, and composition of providers for school-aged children, to enable the integrated delivery of rehabilitation services.   During this process, Committees will be expected to consult with local stakeholders and service providers to allow for meaningful collaboration and decision-making with partners and stakeholders, to explore opportunities and interest for involvement, and leverage all existing service capacity within the service delivery area in the new delivery model. Occupational therapists need to ensure that the voice of front-line clinicians and clinical experts are heard through this consultation process.  Ensure that your service organization represents your insights and perspectives, contribute to innovative solutions for service delivery options....be engaged!