The year 2020 was unlike any other in our memory. The COVID-19 pandemic was declared in Canada on March 11. We saw the closure of public schools, restaurants, and retail. We moved to online learning and working from home. We experienced social isolation due to safety protocols and the closure of many in-person services. New terms like “lockdown” and “physical distancing” became commonplace. Front line heroes, including CLTO employees, were recognized for the essential services they continued to provide.
In this year’s annual report, Above and Beyond: Supporting our Communities Through the Pandemic, we will describe the many ways we responded to an environment that was constantly changing. Program closures and staff redeployment due to COVID-19 reduced the total number of individuals we supported from 4,092 in 2019-20 to 3,661 in 2020-21. We sent 476 activity boxes and 150 tablets to residents of our group homes, facilitated 281 “Friendly Connections,” adopted new technologies for remote work, pivoted to virtual day supports, rolled out on-site vaccine clinics, and advocated for enhanced staff wages. Through it all, we did our best to ensure our community stayed protected and connected.
What is an intellectual disability? An intellectual disability is an impairment in cognitive function that affects areas of daily living, such as personal care, relationships, community participation, language skills, learning abilities, and the capacity to live independently. It arises before adulthood and usually lasts throughout life.
The people we support:
- People with an intellectual disability want to find meaningful employment and make a contribution to their communities but according to Statistics Canada 2017 survey results, the employment rate for people with a developmental disability is below 25%.
- 70% of adults with an intellectual disability live in poverty, according to the Canadian Association of Community Living.
- Parents and caregivers value their relationships with their loved ones with an intellectual disability, but it is often difficult to make connections in the community, access services, find resources, and hire qualified and caring support staff.
- Individuals with an intellectual disability are much more likely to experience homelessness, and are overrepresented (13 – 15%) in Toronto’s shelter system.
- People with an intellectual disability are welcomed into their communities like never before, however historically they experienced segregation, social exclusion, and were not given the opportunity to make their own choices.