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TORONTO — The McGuinty government must ensure that new funding announced today for developmental services is used to strengthen the whole sector and not just to adjust wages of the lowest of the low-paid, said CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan.

“Our optimism about the $200 million in new funding announced in the provincial budget is waning now that the province has said that only one-tenth will be used this year for a wage adjustment,” said Ryan, whose union represents about 7,000 developmental services workers in Ontario. “Community living employers have said that $200 million is required immediately to close the wage gap that has had such a negative effect on service quality and consistency.”

It has been seven years since the first study commissioned by employers showed a 25% wage gap that’s only been growing in the intervening years, he noted. Meanwhile, the job of developmental services worker has lost much of its appeal because it has come to mean working part-time, often for two or more employers just to make ends meet.

“Our members love their jobs and the contribution they make to their communities, but it has become increasingly difficult to remain in the field,” Ryan said. “High staff turnover has affected their ability to provide consistent, quality services to the individuals they support and their families.”

The Ministry of Community and Social Services must recognize that the wage gap applies to the whole community living sector and not just some so-called low-wage agencies in order to put the whole sector on a solid foundation and secure supports available for persons with a developmental disability, he said.

“Meanwhile, congratulations are due to our members, who worked for years to show the government that underfunding destroys service quality and consistency,” said Ryan. “I am pleased that the McGuinty government has finally started to hear their voices, as well as those of supported individuals, their families, other unions and employers in the sector. “


For more information, contact:

Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario, 416-209-0066 (cell)

Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, 416-616-6142 (cell)