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Community living workers ask local Liberal MPPs to “have a heart”

Feb 16, 2007 11:49 AM
 

HAMILTON, Ont. — With the snow finally letting up, workers from Community Living Hamilton delivered special Valentines today to Liberal MPPs Marie Bountrogianni, Jennifer Mossop, Judy Marsales and Ted McMeekin as part of their campaign for increased and secure supports for persons with a developmental disability.

“We’re asking members of the provincial government to have a heart,” said Jim Beattie, president of CUPE 3943 and chair of the union’s community living bargaining committee. “We want them to help ensure that individuals can get the consistent, quality supports they need. Years of underfunding have made that increasingly difficult.”

Since the mid-1990s, community living agencies have struggled with an initial 5% base budget cut followed by years with no increases. There were minimal base budget increases in 2004-05 and 2005-06, including some agency revitalization funding, but this did not even keep up with the pace of inflation.

A study conducted six years ago by KPMG on behalf of community living agencies showed that workers in developmental services earn 25% to 30% less than people doing similar work in hospitals, schools and other institutions. Recruiting and keeping developmental services workers has become increasingly difficult and some community colleges have even considered closing support worker diploma programs because of low enrolment.

“It’s time for increased and secure supports for persons who have a developmental disability,” said Beattie. “We need adequate, multi-year funding to provide consistent and quality supports, to meet increasing demands and to recruit and retain staff.

“We’re asking our MPPs who have a voice in the Liberal government caucus to remember, when it comes to deciding on the next provincial budget, we count too!”

Community living supporters across the province have joined forces with a postcard campaign aimed at Premier Dalton McGuinty and his cabinet. Information and the postcard can be found at www.wecounttoo.ca.

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For more information, contact: Jim Beattie, President, CUPE 3943, 905-578-1103; cell 905-512-4556; Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, 416-292-3999 ext 240; cell 416-616-6142