"Let’s hope the government will commit to greater transparency, and work together with the all community living stakeholders to address the crisis faced by vulnerable families." - Darryl Walker, BCGEU President
Vancouver (26 Sept. 2011) - Statistics showing how many people with developmental disabilities are waiting for services across B.C. will be released because the government must comply with a freedom of information request (FOI) filed by the British Columbia Government and Services Employees Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) last May.
“The government is sharing the waitlist information because it was forced to: the response to our FOI request is in the mail,” says BCGEU President Darryl Walker.
“We need to know the full measure of the community living crisis in B.C., which is why we filed this FOI request. Let’s hope the government will commit to greater transparency, and work together with the all community living stakeholders to address the crisis faced by vulnerable families,” Walker added.
Community Living BC (CLBC) originally refused to comply with union's information request. The union then asked the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to intervene.
BCGEU/NUPGE and other advocates have been trying to get accurate waitlist numbers for months, without success.
The union is an active partner in the BC-Community Living Action Group (BC-CLAG), a network of self-advocates, families, support staff and agencies that support adults with disabilities.
“The next step will be to examine the waitlist statistics closely, to ensure they are reliable and provide an accurate picture of the situation,” said Walker.
Approximately 14,000 adults with developmental disabilities are served – but not necessarily funded - by CLBC. BC-CLAG conservatively estimates that at least 1,500 people are waiting for services. Overall, families continue to provide 90% of the supports for adults with developmental disabilities in BC.
Last week, the government announced $6 million in new funding for CLBC, an amount which is wholly inadequate to stem the community living crisis. A BC-CLAG analysis of CLBC caseload projections shows that at least $70 million is needed immediately to address the existing backlog of unfunded new clients who urgently require services.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE