CILT COVID-19 Updates

CILT remains committed to supporting consumers through the COVID-19 pandemic. CILT’s activities to support consumers are broad-ranging and are grounded in the Independent Living philosophy. Please see updates on CILT activities below. We will continue to add to this page as updates emerge.


February 18, 2021

The COVID 19 Pandemic has intensified many of the barriers that consumers faced pre-pandemic and has introduced many new barriers as well. CILT remains committed to supporting consumers with independent living by supporting access to information and services for people with disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  

To protect staff and consumers, CILT remains in remote work mode at this time. CILT staff can be reached as usual, so we encourage consumers looking for assistance to continue to reach out by email or telephone and we will assist you.  

CILT’s programs continue to operate, with additional supports aimed at supporting consumers through the pandemic provided as per below  

Direct Funding Program 

Expansion and COVID Funds from Ministry of Health 

The DF Program was pleased to receive expansion funds from the Ministry of Health, allowing additional consumers to join the Direct Funding Program. The expansion funds included funding for COVID related expenses as well. Prior to the receipt of these funds in December 2020, CILT had been given no funding for COVID related expenses and had used reserve funds to cover these expenses. Upon receipt of the expansion funds, DF provided Self-Managers with an additional payment of over $1,500.00  to use towards PPE and other COVID expenses.  Additional Expansion funds will be used to add new Self-Managers to the DF Program.  

Ongoing PPE and COVID Expense Support 

The DF program continues to offer support with PPE to self-managers through the following avenues: 

  • Self-Managers experiencing PPE shortages are reminded to contact DF directly for assistance. CILT cannot provide PPE on an ongoing basis but can assist Self-Managers with an insufficient supply, or who have no PPE by sending them some directly. 
  • In March, DF provided an immediate one-time payment of $550 to all Self-Managers across Ontario to use for COVID related expenses including buying PPE. DF provided a second payment to self-managers in December 2020 for COVID related expenses associated with the program.  
  • DF continues to receive requests and authorize additional COVID related expenses on the DF program such as PPE, cleaning supplies etc. Again, Self-Managers who need to purchase additional PPE or have other related expenses, are encouraged to please get in touch with your DF program contact (found at: for help with finding needed supplies and getting these expenses authorized and reimbursed. 

Attendant Wage Enhancements  

In these past few months, DF has ensured that wage enhancement programs available through the Ministry of Health have been made available to Self-Managers and their staff by: 

  • Processing Temporary Pandemic Pay (TPP) funds made available by the MOH to increase the hourly wages of front-line staff during the pandemic for the period from April to August, 2020.  
  • Supporting Self-Managers by distributing the Temporary Wage Enhancement (TWE) which also increased the hourly wage of attendants/front-line workers from October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 
  • Reviewing and updating budgets based on the new minimum wage increase that became effective October 1, 2020 

DF has frequently and repeatedly advocated for a wage increase for attendants on the program and will continue to do so by requesting that this wage enhancement be made permanent.  

Vaccines for Attendants and Self-Managers 

DF Manager Leisa DeBono and CILT ED Wendy Porch have been communicating the urgent need for Self-Managers and their staff to be considered as priorities in accessing COVID-19 Vaccines. Leisa and Wendy met with Ministry staff and have been participating in OHT, LHIN and sector meetings related to the need for vaccines for DF Program participants. On January 15th, CILT ED Wendy Porch sent a letter to Minister of Health Christine Elliot, expressing concern that consumers were missing from vaccine roll-out plans and urging her to include Self-Managers and attendants as Priority One for vaccine roll-out. CILT received a response from the Ministry thanking us for the feedback, but with no commitment to change the current vaccine roll-out plans.  

CILT and DF encourage any consumers with concerns about their access to COVID Vaccines to also get in touch with their own MPPs and the Ministry of Health to make their concerns known. CILT will continue to press for expedited access to vaccines for Self-Managers and consumers as well.  

CILT Core Programs  

Innovative Programs for Consumers 

CILT’s CORE program continues to support consumers experiencing barriers to inclusion during the pandemic. CILT’s Core team continues to take calls from consumers looking for information and referrals, peer programs and independent skills training and support. The Core team has worked hard to continue to provide opportunities for consumers to come together on issues of shared concern including the following: 

  • City of Toronto E– Scooter Workshop October 1st, 2020  brought together consumers to discuss/strategize on the City of Toronto’s proposed E-Scooter Pilot, despite the City’s own Accessibility Advisory Committee recommending against such a pilot.  
  • October 15th Peer Connect hosted a virtual Halloween get together and has hosted 5 additional Peer Connect sessions bringing together consumers who want to connect 
  • Participation in A11Y IRL on October 22, 2020 – CILT’S John Mossa spoke at this event on Self Advocacy and Independent Living 
  • Hosted Food Access and Insecurity in Adults with Mobility Disabilities Webinar, on November 5th 2020. CILT had supported Dr. Naomi Schwartz in her ground-breaking research on the root causes of food insecurity in consumers with mobility disabilities and she kindly offered CILT and others an inside look at her work. A link to the webinar video can be found here: 
  • Peer Support Holland Bloorview Youth Transitions Virtual Pop-Up with CILT on November 17, 2020John Mossa spoke regarding ASAC/IL, in order to make sure that young people with disabilities are familiar with independent living and the range of programs and supports that are available to help them achieve it  
  • CILT hosted two Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) for People with Disabilities Webinars on November 23rd and 27th, 2020, with each webinar having more than 100 attendees 
  • With the pandemic enforcing isolation on so many, it is important to be able to get the mental health supports consumers need, but so many services are inaccessible.  CILT’s core team offered the Self-Advocating for Accessible Mental Health Supports Workshop on December 10th, 2020 

CILT Partnerships and Coalitions 

The GTA Disability Coalition meetings have continued, with the coalition continuing to work on strategies for collectively raising awareness of the needs of people with disabilities in the GTA. CILT’s core team also continues to participate in the Accessible Housing Network (AHN), working together towards accessible housing for all. The AHN has met with City of Toronto, Provincial and Federal decision-makers and The Ontario Human Rights Commission on the urgent need for accessible and affordable housing. The new Chief Commissioner at the Ontario Human Rights Commission agrees with the view of the AHN and has written several letters (LINK THESE) asserting a right to accessible housing is a human right.  

Attendant Service Application Centre (ASAC)

ASAC continues to accept applications from people looking for supportive housing and attendant services in the GTA. ASAC’s centralized waitlist enables consumers across the GTA to be able to apply for multiple different programs through one centralized point. If you are looking for information about ASAC, please see:  or call 416-599-2458 for more information 

Upcoming CILT Events: 

In the coming months, CILT’s Core Team will be offering the following Peer-based programs: 

  • CILT Peer Connect: Exercise and Goal Setting at Home   
  • The Second Wave: Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) for COVID-19 and People with Disabilities” Zoom Webinar   
  • Vibrant Peer Support Movie Night: Always be my Maybe
    PDN Vibrant Songs Circle and Discussion for Parents with Disabilities 
  • Mindfulness for Cross-Disability and D/deaf Adults, 4-week session 

 For more information about these events, please email us at  



October 8, 2020

You can find CILT’s COVID-19 Fall Update here.