Factsheet – Bill 175 – Connecting People To Home and Community Care Act – Fact Sheet 1
Bill 175 is moving quickly through the Ontario Legislature. It was introduced by Health Minister Christine Elliott on February 25, 2020, when it passed First Reading. Debate on the Bill was held on March 2nd – 5th and 9th & 10th, 2020. The Bill passed Second Reading on March 10th, 2020. The Bill is now before the Standing Committee on Social Policy. The Standing Committee may hear witnesses and accept written submissions. After the Standing Committee has considered input, the Bill will go to Third Reading. Once it passes Third Reading, it needs Royal Assent and then becomes law. As with many Bills introduced by the Ford government, there are very small windows of opportunity in order for us to raise our concerns.
ARCH and Citizens with Disabilities Ontario (CWDO) will be providing a series of Fact Sheets about Bill 175 on our websites.
What is Bill 175?
Bill 175 repeals the Home Care and Community Services Act (HCCSA), which is the framework for the provision of attendant services in Ontario. The Bill is said to “modernize” attendant services and bring them in line with the People’s Health Care Act. We have concerns about how the Bill will operate and how it will be implemented.
Purpose of Bill 175
The purpose of HCCSA is to provide alternatives to institutional care by delivering attendant services in homes and communities. When Minister Elliott introduced Bill 175, she stated that it was part of Ontario’s efforts to end hallway health care and modernize the delivery of home and community care services. The omission of “promoting” home and community services is important. The absence of “alternatives to institutionalization” is also of great concern.
Language used in Bill 175
The title of Bill 175 no longer contains the word “services”. It is about “care”. Throughout the Bill there is reference to consumers as “patients”. Both words, ‘care’ and ‘patients’ reflect a medical approach to attendant services. Consumers are now recipients of services. There is no mention of consumers as experts in their own disability who direct the services they receive. The Bill does not acknowledge that persons with disabilities want to live independently, participate in our communities and make our own choices. Instead, the language in the Bill reflects our unfortunate history of marginalization and being objects of pity or charity. It perpetuates stereotypes of persons with disabilities.
Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights contained in HCCSA is no longer part of the proposed law. The Bill of Rights will now be found in a Regulation. The Bill of Rights was the only written recognition of dignity and choice in the HCCSA, which is currently the law. Having the Bill of Rights in a Regulation means that the government can change it, or omit it altogether, without having to go through a vote in the Legislature.
Much of the substance of Bill 175 will be found in Regulations. This is very problematic. It means that we will not know important details about what will be in the law until after the Bill is passed. This is because detailed Regulations have not yet been drafted, and they don’t have to be. The Bill can be passed into law and the Regulations can follow at a time of the government’s choosing.
The government is asking for feedback on what should be contained in a Bill of Rights. There could be an increase in consumer rights. There could also be a decrease or change to the Bill of Rights as we know them. The government has set April 14, 2020 as the deadline for submissions on the Bill of Rights.
We are also concerned that, like The People’s Health Care Act, there are opportunities for mergers, closures of services and privatization of services. Often, when services are privatized, the quality of services decreases because profit is a determining factor.
Bill 175 does not contain issues that are important to consumers. Improving access to services, quality of services and addressing how missed visits will be handled are absent from the Bill.
ARCH and CWDO are working together to plan a path forward. We will post updates for our community members as they become available.
For more information
Persons with disabilities who live in Ontario can call ARCH for free, confidential summary legal information and advice. To find out about the kind of legal advice ARCH provides and how to book an appointment, go to: www.archdisabilitylaw.ca/services
For more information about attendant services, go to: www.archdisabilitylaw.ca/resource/guide-attendant-services-in-ontario
* The information provided in these materials is not intended to be legal advice. Consult a lawyer or legal worker if you need legal advice on a specific matter. This information is current as of March 2020.