Finding funding: Navigating a complicated system

At Safehaven, we know that families who rely upon our services take pride in caring for their loved ones at home, and gain an immense amount of joy from the experiences they share with their children. That being said, we know caring for an individual with complex care needs can be stressful, emotionally draining, and expensive. That’s why we’ve created this blog post. It’s full of helpful links and resources that are perfect for parents, families and guardians that are looking for a little extra financial support.

Funding for Equipment

“More than 8 out of 10 persons with disabilities use aids and assistive devices.”

Stats Can report on Disability in Canada, 2012

From wheelchairs to bedroom lifts, many of our families need to purchase specialty equipment, and the expenses can pile up quickly. Luckily, there are a range of private, government, and charitable foundations in Ontario that can provide financial relief.

If your child is under the age of 18, Ability Gives can help you cover the costs of adapted equipment, specialized seating, therapy, writing aids and more! You can reach them at: 416-650-6207, or via email at:

If you have a long-term physical disability, and need help purchasing mobility aids, hearing aids, respiratory equipment and home oxygen therapy, custom orthotic braces, enteral-feeding pumps or ostomy supplies, you should check out the Government of Ontario’s Assistive Devices Program:

If you need a one-time grant to help transform your home for barrier free living, a good place to start is Ceridian Cares:

Easter Seals’ Financial Assistance Program picks up where the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s Assistive Devices Program (ADP), insurance and other family resources leave off. Many ADP items are only partially funded. Easter Seals helps make up the balance by providing up to $3,000 in additional support.

Finally, the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy offers a funding assistance program for individual members of their organization. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, you can explore their funding programs here:

Funding for Respite

For families who provide 24/7 care to their children at home, there is nothing more valuable than finding the time to take a break and recharge. That goes for all parents and guardians, regardless of whether your child has complex care needs. But the need for space and relaxation is even more acute when your child has special needs. That is why respite care is, or should be, an important staple of every family’s care plan. If you need help funding respite stays, here are two great places to start:

The Ministry of Community and Social Services offers help to families who are caring for a child with a developmental or physical disability through a program called Special Service at Home. You can explore Special Service at Home funding opportunities here:

If you are a parent caring for a child with a severe disability, you may be able to receive financial support through another Government of Ontario support called the Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities Program. This program provides financial support for low- to moderate-income families to cover some of the extra costs of caring for a child who has a severe disability.

Funding for Fun

Last but not least, here are some good places to start if you are interested in funding for accessible recreational, leisure and entertainment opportunities.

Chai Lifeline is a Toronto based charity that offers retreats, respite vacations and more! We love their recreational programs, because they offer opportunities for the entire family to get involved.

Another great option is the Easter Seals ACCESS 2 Entertainment Card, which is specifically designed for individuals who require the assistance of a support worker. The goal of the Access 2 Program is to improve social inclusion and provide access to entertainment, cultural and recreation opportunities by getting support workers into participating venues free of charge.

Finally, the Starlight Escapes program is another awesome tool to help families experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. This program provides Starlight Families with a chance to create priceless memories and relax through: movie screenings, harbour cruises, holiday parties, sporting events, picnics and more.

Every kid deserves an opportunity to thrive, regardless of their abilities or care needs. We hope these resources and links are helpful in finding the services you need to provide the most fulfilling experiences to your family.