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Respecting Rights Projects to Make Laws and Services Better

5 Things Campaign

On April 8, 2021, Respecting Rights launched the 5 Things Campaign. This was a campaign to tell the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services what self-advocates across Ontario wanted the government to know about what people with disabilities want to see change in developmental services.

A growing network of self-advocates who participated in Respecting Rights workshops identified 5 key priorities they want changed in Developmental Services. These include: people’s voices need to be heard, making complaints must be accessible, the same rights should be available for everyone, better staff training, and accessible technology.

This is not a comprehensive list, but these are 5 key changes that self-advocates have identified as fundamental to any larger reform that the Ministry is undertaking. Please see the one page poster identifying and describing the 5 key changes that people with disabilities are asking for.

When Respecting Rights heard about the proposed Developmental Services reform that the Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services says it is embarking on, self-advocates gathered across Ontario to discuss it in December 2020. Letters were sent to the Ministry December 31, 2020 by Respecting Rights and ARCH about the proposed changes to Developmental Services. Respecting Rights brought 9 self-advocacy groups together to send off a letter to the government April 8 2021 to remind the government that self-advocates are asking to be involved in change for Developmental Services.

Respecting Rights will continue to advocate to make sure people with disabilities have a voice at the table about the Developmental Services they receive.

Download letter to The Hon. Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services

Download 5 Things Poster (RTF)

Download the 5 Things Poster (Word)

Respecting Rights – My Voice, My Choice – Final Evaluation Report, August 2020

Respecting Rights – My Voice, My Choice – Final Evaluation Report, August 2020


laptop showing 6 people in video conference call

During COVID-19 people around the world joined together on online meeting sites. But many people with intellectual disabilities were left behind.

Did you know that many Respecting Rights self-advocates are not online?

sad person thinking about using a phone and

Some don’t have the support they need to attend online meetings. Others don’t have internet access, computers, or smartphones. And others can’t afford to pay for internet service.

This means that many people with intellectual disabilities do not have online social supports.

sad person with hands in face

Without social connections like friends and family, many people are feeling very lonely, sad, isolated, and worried about their mental health.

Respecting Rights has a message for families, agencies, and developmental services providers: During COVID-19, let’s do better at helping people with intellectual disabilities get online to connect safely with friends and family and participate in virtual activities.

3 reasons why it’s important to support people to get online:

1. MENTAL HEALTH: Self-advocates tell us they feel connected and happy when they see their friends’ faces on a video call. Feeling connected to friends and family is part of mental health.

person in online conference with many other people

2. COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION in online activities: During COVID-19 the world shifted to online activities like yoga, bingo, cooking, music, and exercise programs. Self-advocates want to stay active and participate in online activities.

person cooking

3. INSTANT ACCESS to family, partners & friends: Connecting with friends and family through online meetings can help people feel less lonely and isolated.

hands holding phone with a video image from another person

How can you help?

  • ADVOCATE to make sure that people have internet service and access to devices that can connect to the internet.
  • SUPPORT people to learn how to use the device as best as they can.
    It might take some practice. Remember, everyone has the right to learn.
  • RESPECT privacy while on video calls. Do your best to help people
    have calls in a private place where they can talk comfortably with their friends or family.
person using computer feeling happy

If you know someone with a disability who is not being supported to get online, let them know that they can call ARCH for free, confidential legal advice. ARCH’s contact information can be found at

© ARCH Disability Law Centre, 2020

Images by Giuliana Barrow Lattanzio

Press Release – Get Connected!

This press release informs about the launch of Respecting Rights’ “Get Connected! campaign, which advocates for support to people with intellectual disabilities across Ontario to get online during times of social distancing.

Press Release – Get Connected! (25-08-2020)

Last Modified: November 17, 2021