WINDSOR, ON Provincial underfunding for Windsor-Essex programs and supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families is hurting clients, and front line workers are paying the price through overwork and low wages, said area community living counsellors at a media conference in Windsor today.
The Canadian Union of Public of Employees (CUPE), which represents community living workers at several Windsor area agencies that provide residential and vocational support for people with intellectual disabilities and their families, urged the Ontario Liberal government to increase funding for the sector in this coming provincial budget.
In 2004, the Liberals only increased funding for community living agencies by .5 per cent.
This underfunding has left many community living agencies across Ontario in deficit, as they scramble to provide services to an increasing number of ageing clients needing a high level of care.
When it comes to providing adequate funding for services for people with developmental disabilities, the McGuinty Liberals record is even worse than the predecessor Tories. They should be ashamed of their record so far, said Sid Ryan, the Ontario president of CUPE. He joined with front line workers from Community Living Windsor and Community Living Essex County to highlight the impact of provincial underfunding on the community living sector.
An employer study found that community living workers are underpaid compared with other social service workers. This is resulting in a high staff turnover rate in the sector, and a lack of continuity of care for the intellectually disabled.
Adequate provincial funding would allow agencies to pay higher wages, provide better staff training in order to stem the high staff turnover rate in the sector and, ultimately, improve the quality of community-based services provided those with developmental disabilities and their families.
Ryan pointed out that Windsor is Sandra Pupatellos the minister of Community and Social Services home riding, and while she was in opposition, she presented petitions to the then Conservative government from the people of Windsor asking for increased funding for community living agencies.
But now as minister, she is underfunding, and letting those in Windsor with developmental disabilities, their families, and the dedicated front line community living workers, down. The minister has an opportunity in this coming provincial budget to rectify years of underfunding for community agencies. Its the right thing to do, said Ryan.
For more information, please contact:
Sid Ryan President, CUPE Ontario (416) 209-0066
Laura Moore CUPE National Representative (519) 977-4837
Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications (416) 578-8774 COPE491/EW