Getting Other Kinds of Support

It’s not only a person’s health that is affected by epilepsy – the condition affects their entire life. In our modern times and our complex, multi-faceted lives, this can mean that epilepsy touches a lot of areas. For all of those varying things and the unique challenges they pose, there may be a variety of supports that can help.

Home & Vehicle Modification Program:Expand Home & Vehicle Modification Program: Section

March of Dimes Canada is a registered charitable organization. It administers the Home & Vehicle Modification (HVM) program, which helps Ontarians by providing funding for basic home and/or vehicle modifications.

Who is Eligible?
To be eligible, a person must be all of the following:

    • A permanent Ontario resident
    • A person with a substantial impairment that is expected to last one year or more
    • The impairment impedes mobility and results in substantial restriction in activities of daily living (e.g., personal care and functioning in the community)
    • Additionally, the applicant must be a homeowner, a tenant, a vehicle owner, or a host family.

How to Apply
To apply, you can access the program guidelines and download the application form on the website, as well the Ontario March of Dimes address that you will mail your application to.

What else?
The program was established by the Government of Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services. The HVM program is intended to assist permanent Ontario residents with a substantial impairment that is expect to last 1 year or more.

Those who meet the criteria for the program can apply up to a $15,000 lifetime maximum for home modifications and up to $15,000 every ten years for vehicle modifications.

For further information you can visit the HVM program webpage.

Ontario Renovates:Expand Ontario Renovates: Section

Ontario Renovates is part of the Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) program, funded by the provincial and federal governments. It provides financial assistance to lower income households to modify their homes to improve qualities such as accessibility and energy efficiency. However, it is a limited program that will not be available for the long-term.

Who is Eligible?
The details of the program may vary from region to region, but generally you may be eligible for the RRAP if:

    • Your home is valued below a certain amount
    • Your household income is below a certain level
    • Your home is substandard and needs major repairs in one of the following areas: heating, structural, electrical, plumbing, and fire safety

It may also qualify if work is needed to help reduce overcrowding; but keep in mind that other criteria may also apply.

Be sure to look into your city or region’s website for more information on how you can be eligible for Ontario Renovates.

How to Apply
To find out how to apply, as well as other details, visit your city or region’s website and search for “Ontario Renovates”, or call a representative in your city/town. Note that funding is on a first-come, first-serve basis and there are deadlines to adhere to.

What else?
The IAH is set to end on March 31st, 2015 and the Ontario Renovates program will most likely end at this period. Be sure to determine the deadlines for applying in your area.

You can also visit this webpage for information about Ontario Renovates and other affordable housing programs in Ontario.

ARCH Disability Law Centre:Expand ARCH Disability Law Centre: Section

ARCH Disability Law centre, a registered, not-for-profit charitable organization, is a legal resource Centre for people with disabilities in Ontario. It is focused on providing legal services for anyone living with a disability, including advice, referrals, and legal representation to ensure equality.

Who is Eligible?
If you or someone you know has a disability and requires legal advice you may be able to use ARCH’s services.

How to Apply
You can contact ARCH by various methods found on their website.

What else?
It has several priority areas:

    • Attendant services, which address situations where people are being abused by those providing assistance to them
    • Education law, which focuses on access, accommodation, and inclusion of children with disability in Ontario to primary and secondary public education
    • Legal capacity, which concerns situations in which the right to make one’s own decisions is challenged
    • Services for persons with intellectual disabilities

You can refer to the ARCH website for more details on the organization, as well as read more about Epilepsy and the Law on our site.

Community Legal Education Ontario:Expand Community Legal Education Ontario: Section

Human Rights Legal Support Centre:Expand Human Rights Legal Support Centre: Section

Ontario Job Opportunity Information Network for Persons with Disabilities:Expand Ontario Job Opportunity Information Network for Persons with Disabilities: Section

The Ontario Job Opportunity Information Network for Persons with Disabilities (JOIN) is an organization dedicated to linking job-seeking people with disabilities to employment, as well as assisting employers to create a more accessible workplace.

Some helpful resources that JOIN provides include a job board that is available on their website, a mentoring program to help integrate people into the workforce, and a career fair.

Legal Aid Ontario:Expand Legal Aid Ontario: Section

Ombudsman Ontario:Expand Ombudsman Ontario: Section

The Ombudsman is an independent official whose job is to investigate complaints from the public about the government, such as with services and major systemic problems. If you have been unable to resolve an issue you’ve experienced with a provincial government organization, you can make a complaint. If you are doing so, it’s important to describe the issue, as well as any unfair, illegal, unreasonable, mistaken, or incorrect treatment you might have experienced.

However, there are some areas that the Ombudsman cannot investigate: private businesses, courts, politicians, the federal government, and the “MUSH” sector (Municipalities, Universities, School Boards, Hospitals and long term care facilities, children’s aid societies or police). They are also a neutral party, meaning they do not advocate. In other words they don’t “take sides” with anyone unless there is a pattern with complaints, enough evidence, and several other factors. But if a significant problem is found, the Ombudsman can make recommendations to fix it; and if they are not acted upon, he can then report to legislature.

If you have had particular challenges, difficulties and hardship with an Ontario government ministry, corporation, agency, boards, commission, or tribunal, it may be able to be investigated. For more information, such as about how to make a complaint and what can be investigated, you can visit the Ombudsman website.

Your Legal Rights:Expand Your Legal Rights: Section

Access 2:Expand Access 2: Section

Access 2 is a program dedicated to empowering people with disabilities who have attendants so that they can participate in recreational activities without extra expenses. Applying to the program can get you a card which, when presented with ID, can get your attendant free admission to the attraction or activity.

Who is Eligible?
You can apply if you’re a person with a permanent disability who would need an attendant/support person when going to a movie theatre or other attraction. There’s no age restriction – you simply have to follow the terms and conditions for using the card.

A support person is considered anyone who accompanies a person with a disability to provide services such as helping with eating, administering medication, and communication.

How to apply
The application form can be found online at the Access 2 site as well as the instructions on to fill it out. It’s recommended that you also consult the program’s Frequently Asked Questions throughout the process.

What else?
If you obtain the card your attendant will have free admission, but you need to pay regular price. The card itself also costs $20 in administrative fees, and it’s valid for five years.

The Access 2 card can be used all over the province in various theatres (such as Cineplex, Empire, Rainbow, and TIFF Bell Lightbox), attractions (such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, Casa Loma, and the CN Tower), and recreational facilities (such as Great Wolf Lodge, Wild Water Kingdom, and the Milton Centre for the Arts). For a full list of venues that accept the card, you can visit the Access 2 page.

For more information you can visit the Access 2 website.

Ontario Photo Card:Expand Ontario Photo Card: Section

If you’re over 16 and you need government identification, but you don’t have a driver’s license, you can use this card as an alternative. With it, you can perform any activities that you would otherwise use a driver’s license for, such as opening a bank account.

Who is eligible?
If you’re a resident of Ontario and you’re over 16, you can get this card.

How to apply
You must go to your local ServiceOntario centre with the following:

  • Original identity documents to prove your legal name, date of birth, and signature
  • Your marriage certificate if you’re applying under your married name
  • A method to pay the $35 cost (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Debit, Cash, or Certified Cheque)

What else?
When you take your photo for the card, you can have on headwear for medical or religious reasons but they can’t cover your face. Anything else will be asked to be removed.

After you apply the card will be delivered to you in 4-6 weeks by mail. If, after you receive the card, you or can and wish to get your driver’s license, you will need to turn in your Photo Card. Otherwise, if you wish to keep your card for the long-term, you will need to renew it every 5 years at a ServiceOntario centre with another piece of ID (if it expired) and another $35 for the fee.

For more information (e.g., changing your address, retaking your photo, replacing your card, and changing your information), you can refer to the ServiceOntario webpage about the Photo Card.