Community Support Month

To mark Community Support Month, the October edition of On the Radar looks at some of the legal rights of people who use community support services.

What is community support?

Disability, illness, or the limitations of aging sometimes mean people must stay in hospital or move into a long-term care home. But with the right support services, many people would be able to function independently enough to stay in their own homes.

There are a wide variety of support services available, both at home and in the community. Many are provided by non-profit organizations employing professional staff, as well as trained volunteers.

For more information visit and

Home Care

Home care is an essential type of community support for many people. Home care includes services such as:
  • Nursing
  • Personal support (help with bathing, dressing, etc.)
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech-language therapy
  • Social work
  • Nutritional counselling
  • Medical supplies and equipment
  • Home-making services (in limited situations).

As part of Ontario's health care system, home care is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The services are provided, at no charge, through the 14 Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) across the province. In addition to providing home care, CCACs coordinate access to other community support services and admission to long-term care homes. For more information about CCACs, visit

Bill of Rights

Individuals who receive services through a CCAC have a "Bill of Rights" which is part of a law called the Home Care and Community Services Act.

The Bill of Rights guarantees the following rights:
  1. To be treated with respect and to be free from abuse,
  2. To have your privacy and dignity honoured,
  3. To have your needs and preferences respected,
  4. To receive information about the services you get,
  5. To take part in decisions about your services,
  6. To comment or criticize without anyone taking action against you,
  7. To receive information about relevant laws and policies and how to make a complaint, and
  8. To have your records kept confidential.

For more detail about what these rights mean, see CLEO's publication Home Care Bill of Rights.

Complaints and appeals

People applying for or receiving services through a CCAC have the right to complain to the CCAC or to take other action if these rights are not respected or if they are unhappy about the quality of the services they are getting. Each CCAC is required by law to have a complaint procedure and to provide a copy of it if requested.

Individuals also have the right to complain if:
  • the CCAC refuses some or all of the services they have applied for;
  • the services they have been getting are changed, cut back, or stopped; or
  • they need more hours of service than they have been given by the CCAC.

Complaints about these three issues can be appealed further if someone is not satisfied with the CCAC's response to the complaint. This appeal is to an independent tribunal called the Health Services Appeal and Review Board (HSARB).

For more information see the CLEO publication Home care complaints and appeals.

This email alert gives general legal information. It is not a substitute for getting legal advice about a particular situation.
October 2012

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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
119 Spadina Ave., Suite 600, Toronto, Ontario, Canada  M5V 2L1
Phone: 416-408-4420 Email: 

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