New Service for Vulnerable Adults

Did you know that the Government of Ontario, IBM Canada and ARCH have launched a new service for vulnerable adults?

The Government of Ontario, IBM Canada Ltd. and ARCH (Defending the Rights of People with Disabilities) have partnered to launch InfoAbility, a new information and referral service for Ontario’s estimated 300,000 vulnerable adults. Vulnerable adults are defined as those whose disability, medical condition, communication problem or age makes it difficult for them to express or act on their own wishes.

The core of this program is a free, confidential telephone information service, through which trained operators will answer questions on issues of concern to this community, such as criteria for government programs, service availability, and how to address abuse. It will be offered in both English and French via telephone, TTY/Teletypewriter, fax, mail, e-mail and a Web site.  Callers will be referred to appropriate agencies for legal advice, counselling and service coordination.

"This initiative reflects the province’s approach of supporting community-based services that protect the independence, dignity and quality of life of vulnerable adults,&uot said Isabel Bassett, Ontario Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation. "It also demonstrates how effective partnerships between the community, private sector and public sectors can help deliver much-needed services to our communities."

The project is funded under a two-year $1.2 million contract from the Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, as part of the Ontario Government’s Initiative for Vulnerable Adults, which provides support to community-led advocacy and services to deal with abuse and neglect. IBM Canada Ltd. has donated $80,000 in computer technology and software to support this service, which will draw on an extensive computerized database of services, research and reports.

"Our donation to InfoAbility is a way for IBM to help support thousands of adults who may be in need of support," said John Wetmore, President and CEO, IBM Canada Ltd. "We hope it will also allow InfoAbility to devote more time and resources to its services and programs for the community."

"There is a tremendous need in our community to access information about programs, services and policies that affect the lives of vulnerable adults in Ontario," said Hugh Scher, President of the ARCH Board of Directors. "InfoAbility represents a unique partnership to make this information available to the community in a variety of formats, making it an essential resource to protect the rights of vulnerable adults in Ontario."

InfoAbility is a project of ARCH (Defending the Rights of People with Disabilities). It develops and delivers its services in partnership with the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) at the University of Toronto, and the Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (ONPEA).