OPSEU/NUPGE, and now the Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS), are clear: The government must provide stable, increased, and long-term funding to see that people get the services they need.
Toronto (29 Oct. 2014) — A province-wide survey of developmental service agencies confirms the crisis in services and reiterates the urgent need for the Ontario Government to provide the funds needed to help people with developmental disabilities.
Survey results show crisis in developmental services sector
“The agencies said they have cut staff hours, shut down programs, and, quite incredibly, have turned to student volunteers and fundraising,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).
“More than 10,000 OPSEU/NUPGE members are developmental services workers and they have seen first-hand the effects of too little funding year after year,” he said.
The 2014 report of the OASIS Operating Pressures Survey documents the effects of lack of funding, including: high staff turnover and lack of continuity of care, greater focus on financial issues and less on the people who require care and support, dietary concerns and fewer activities. The Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS) represents 177 agencies.
Despite promises by the Liberal government during the Ontario budget to infuse $810 million into developmental services, agencies have not seen the money
Only one of three developmental services workers in Ontario is full-time. Low pay and unstable casual and part-time work means employers can’t attract and retain skilled workers.
"Many of the people we support don't know who's coming through their door next," said OPSEU Developmental Services Chair Patti Markland. "And far too many of them are inactive and losing quality of life because agencies don't have the staff to work with them and get them out into their communities."
Agencies that responded to the survey account for more than half of Ontario’s budget for services and supports for 66,000 people with autism, Down Syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, cerebral palsy and other intellectual disabilities in Ontario. More than half of them are on waiting lists for services, and the wait can last for years.
An all-party legislative committee earlier this year documented the extent and depth of the crisis. OPSEU/NUPGE, and now OASIS, are clear: The government must provide stable, increased, and long-term funding to see that people get the services they need.
Before the Ontario election in June, the minority Liberal government promised $810 million. Now with a majority, the Liberals have yet to turn that money over to the agencies.
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