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HAMILTON, Ont. – Today a delegation of development services activists marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities by holding a rally to at the constituency office of the Minister of Community and Social Services, Ted McMeekin, MPP.

Developmental services workers and family members of adults with developmental disabilities gathered to protest waiting lists, program cuts and reductions in services for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Participants at the rally, which was organized by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), called on Minister McMeekin to heed the grave concerns of families directly affected by underfunding in the Developmental Services sector.

The collective experiences of family members and workers clearly demonstrate that program cutbacks and long waiting lists threaten the quality of life for adults with developmental disabilities.

For example, Jeannie, a retiree, is the mother of 27-year-old Shaunna, who has physical and intellectual disabilities. Jeannie has been searching for three years for a suitable residential home for her daughter.

Mark’s sister, Sharon, is 52 years old. Sharon was on a waiting list for two years before going to live in a residential home. However, Mark is concerned about the layoffs and high staff turnover that create disruption for Sharon and her fellow residents.

Their situations contrast with that of Paul, 54, who has Down’s syndrome. He has lived in a group home for many years and his brother Wayne attributes Paul’s successful situation to his age: services were available for Paul when he needed them, before cutbacks and underfunding affected Ontario’s Developmental Services.

Says Jim Beattie, chair of CUPE’s Developmental Services Committee: “CUPE members and families are calling on the Liberal government to ensure adequate funding for services and supports for adults with developmental disabilities and ensure that people have the support they need to live a life with dignity and respect.”

For more information, please contact:

Mary Unan
CUPE Communications Representative
905-739-3999, ext. 240 or 416-206-5609 (cell)