Developmental services sector agencies partner to receive Employment and Modernization Fund

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Community Living Toronto, Community Access to Transportation, Geneva Centre, Kerry’s Place Autism Services, Salvation Army Lawson Ministries, and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), have received a $674,352 grant from the Ministry of Community and Social Services’ Employment and Modernization Fund to fund a comprehensive, city-wide Travel Training Program for people with an intellectual disability in Toronto.

The government’s investment of $674,352 over a two-year period will allow the above organizations to work together to:

  • Coordinate a 22-month pilot project that will initially train 150 participants free of charge.
  • Teach people with an intellectual disability how to safely and independently use public transit in Toronto.
  • Improve the quality of life of people with an intellectual disability by supporting them to better access their communities for work, education, community participation, and expand their potential for life experiences.
  • Provide training that will include in class training covering pedestrian safety skills, public transit use, emergency procedures and a field component with a one-to-one Travel Training Coordinator to learn a specific transit route of the participant’s choice in their community.

“We are thrilled to receive funding from the Ministry of Community and Social Services Employment and Modernization Fund. This grant will allow us to work with our partners to develop a travel training curriculum that will have a profound impact on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It will enable them to move about their community and pursue opportunities in employment and education, and participate in social activities. This is particularly important for young people as many only have access to public transit, which can be daunting especially if they need additional support with learning to navigate the system. This collaborative project will bring access to transit and community mobility for people with a disability across the region, opening up new possibilities and opportunities in their lives,” says Sarah Keenan, life skills coach, participation and inclusion, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

“The TTC is excited to be part of this initiative that will ensure that customers with cognitive disabilities can access the necessary support to use all TTC services – buses, streetcars, and subways. Travel training will complement TTC’s investment and objective to make its services fully accessible by 2025,” says Eve Wiggins, head of TTC Wheel-Trans.

“We are thrilled to be working on this collaborative effort with our sector partners,” says Brad Saunders, CEO, Community Living Toronto. “We’re confident this project will enable more individuals with an intellectual disability to travel the city independently and enjoy what their communities have to offer.”

This fund is part of the Ontario government’s $810 million investment strategy for community and developmental services. It will support the ongoing transformation of the developmental services sector towards greater inclusion and independence for individuals, and to encourage agencies in identifying and providing new approaches and innovative services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities.

To read more about the Employment and Modernization Fund click here.