March 18, 2022
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The Honourable Christine Elliott
Deputy Premier & Minister of Health
80 Grosvenor Street, Floor, Hepburn Block
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1E9
Dear Minister Elliott,
Easter Seals Ontario is seeking a meeting with you to discuss the critical need to add basic and essential pediatric accessibility and bathroom equipment to the list of eligible items in the Ministry’s Assistive Devices Program (ADP).
Easter Seals supports families with the cost of basic and essential mobility and accessibility equipment. Some of this equipment is partially funded by ADP but many basic and essential devices are not. Easter Seals has consistently provided $1.5 million annually to help families with the cost of necessary equipment. The demand for equipment has frequently exceeded the available fund-raised dollars, and it is predicted that the end of the pandemic will result in significantly increased demand for mobility and accessibility equipment. Access to rehabilitation services has been severely limited and we anticipate a backlog in equipment funding requests from families.
Easter Seals is a key partner in helping families with the cost of equipment and would like to meet and discuss whether the ADP list of eligible equipment can be expanded to meet basic and essential pediatric needs.
Bathroom / Bath Aids
Using the bathroom is a vital function of life and children and youth with physical disabilities require specialized equipment to do so safely. Specialized commodes can provide the supportive positioning of the child to keep the child safe and in the correct position. Bath lifts and bath chairs can take the strain off the backs of parents as the child is safely lifted in and out of the tub or shower; however, these items are currently not covered.
Accessibility equipment can support the child’s safe movement around the home, supporting the physical health and safety of the child and parent. In many cases the equipment can help to increase the child’s freedom of movement between their bedroom and the rest of the home. Lifting equipment, for example, keeps the child safe and prevents injury to the parent. Hospital beds can have multiple functions including appropriate positioning of the child and convenience for feeding and changing the child or teen. These and other items are necessary for many families who have children with disabilities, and yet they are not currently covered.
I have attached a detailed support document that specifies the basic and essential items for which we are seeking ADP coverage and outlines their need. As the document notes, in most cases Ontario’s peer provinces already cover this equipment; Ontario is behind B.C., Alberta and Quebec in this regard.
Thank you for considering my request. I look forward to meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss this important issue.
Kevin J. Collins
President and CEO
Easter Seals Ontario
cc: Monica Da Re, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Premier
Syed Raza, Policy Advisor, Office of the Minister of Health
Patrick Dicerni, Assistant Deputy Minister, OHIP, Pharmaceuticals and Devices Division,
Ministry of Health
David Schachow, Director, Delivery and Eligibility Review Branch, Ministry of Health
Emily Szeto, Senior Manager, Assistive Devices Program, Ministry of Health