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Sweeping recommendations proposed for the Ontario Developmental Services Sector
Select Committee on Developmental Services releases long-awaited
The Committee, which was struck in late 2013 to make recommendations on a comprehensive developmental services strategy, tabled their final report in the Ontario legislature on July 23, 2014. With the 2014 Ontario Budget in mind – which sets aside $810 million for developmental services – the committee made a number of recommendations in order to address the crisis in DS but failed to highlight some key systemic issues. Please see the Fact Sheet below for more information on the report and to see what you can do to help!
CUPE Local 2191:
Together, we can make Community Living Toronto stronger
CUPE Local 2191 posted a message letting people that they workers always strive to provide the best possible care to individuals with developmental disabilities, but that’s hard to do after years of cuts and underfunding.
The government recently announced more money for developmental services to help the thousands of families on waiting lists. Now it’s time for employers to work with frontline workers to tackle critical issues like continuity of care, staffing ratios and recruitment and retention of qualified staff.
Let your MPP know that individuals receive the quality of care that they need.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities:
CUPE members hold “Speak Out” for Developmental Services
On Tuesday, 3 December, a delegation of CUPE’s development services workers marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities with a “Speak Out” at the constituency office of the Minister of Community and Social Services, Ted McMeekin, MPP, in Waterdown.
Forty members from Essex County, Guelph-Wellington, Hamilton and Toronto rallied to deliver the message that underfunding was creating havoc in Ontario’s Developmental Services, leading to unacceptably long waiting lists and service cuts for adults with developmental disabilities.
On behalf of the DS committee, Brother Jim Beattie and Sister Joanne Smithers organized the attendance of family members of individuals with development disabilities, including Helen Garton, a member of CUPE Local 4392 and a parent in the sector. Helen related her and her daughter Brittany’s firsthand experience of DS underfunding to media covering the event.
In the afternoon, members continued on to Hamilton Labour Council for some political action training led by CUPE reps Dave Michor, Ann Lennarson and Sarah Declerck. The group set lobbying targets, and sector coordinator Sarah characterized the day as part of wider campaign leading up to coordinated bargaining in 2014 and beyond.
Speaking up for Developmental Services at Queen’s Park
“One of our members describes a residential home that provides care to 5 supported individuals: 3 of the 5 are in wheelchairs, 4 of the 5 are in briefs that need to be changed throughout the day, 2 require support to eat food, and all need assistance in dressing and bathing. There are times when this residential home is single staffed.” – CUPE Research presentation to the Developmental Services Select Committee
On Wednesday, November 13, CUPE representatives Joe Courtney and Sarah DeClerck gave a presentation to the Ontario Legislature’s new Select Committee on Developmental Services. They described the results of underfunding agencies that provide services to people with development disabilities: forced cuts to staffing and direct support hours. They outlined how this in turn has an impact on the quality of services and supports the CUPE members are able to provide.
CUPE has attended the select committee’s meetings on Wednesday afternoons ever since the committee began meeting in October. Transcripts of previous meetings can be found here.
Beginning the week of January 13, the committee will begin its public consultations, as MPPs visit Sandy Lake, Moosonee, Thunder Bay, London, Ottawa and Toronto. They will hear directly from individuals and organizations and CUPE is urging the committee members to allow time to hear as many family members, support workers and other advocates as possible.
“It is vital that MPPs hear firsthand about the struggles faced by people with developmental difficulties and the people who support them. Only then can our elected representatives make good, informed recommendations about ways to improve the system,” said Jim Beattie, Chair of the Developmental Service Sector Coordinating Committee (DSSCC).