Instead of expanding access and enhancing community-based services and supports, the Ontario Liberals today introduced a new Act for persons with developmental disabilities that is a step backwards, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
The legislation proposes expanding a funding model where parents and families need to navigate purchasing services directly from independent providers. There appears to be no emphasis on strengthening community-based services that would deal with existing gaps in services, says CUPE.
Families who are already stretched by the constant challenge of providing support to children or other loved ones with developmental disabilities “will now have the added responsibility of becoming an employer,” says Sid Ryan, CUPE Ontario President. “This is a step backwards for people with developmental disabilities and their families.”
Under the new proposed system, parents and families will need to find, hire, orient, schedule and manage the independent service provider they hire. If the worker is sick, families do without the support.
Community living agencies report that the existing program and support system is severely underfunded by the province. “The best way to provide better access to services and supports is by funding community-based agency programs adequately. The agencies manage and train staff and ensure quality standards for programs and support. But this Liberal government is going the other way,” says Ryan.
The Bill has a provision for a new application process for parents and families to enter into direct funding agreements with a new central processing agency that acts as a clearing house and has the power to deny eligibility, dictate the level of service and support, and prioritize who gets support and when.
CUPE is calling on the Ontario Liberals to engage in province-wide consultations on the Bill.
For more information, please contact:
Sid Ryan CUPE Ontario President 416-209-0066
Valerie Dugale CUPE Communications 647-225-3685