Developmental Services Workers and caregivers of adults with developmental disabilities are shocked and concerned by the abrupt closure of six day program sites by Community Living Guelph Wellington.
“The elimination of day programs at Community Living Guelph Wellington is shameful and will leave hundreds of people with developmental disabilities, and their caregivers, stuck at home indefinitely,” says Fred Hahn, CUPE Ontario President. “People with developmental disabilities rely on day programs to get out of the house, have a social life, and learn new skills.”
Joanne Smithers, President of CUPE 4392 that represents direct support professionals at Community Living Guelph Wellington, continues to receive calls from concerned and angered parents, caregivers, community members, and workers about the day program closures. Caregivers, who generously provided donations to secure space for day programs, are reporting feeling baffled and confused by the program eliminations.
“Parents are gravely disappointed by Community Living Guelph Wellington’s sudden closure of day programs,” says Smithers. “Parents and caregivers recognize the importance of dedicated space for people with disabilities—there simply are not enough accessible community spaces to meet the need, day programs were the only option.”
Community Living Guelph Wellington is eliminating day programs in favor of limited supervised community outings, which poses many challenges for workers, parents, caregivers, and adults with developmental disabilities. Some former day program participants will now receive up to 29 fewer hours of direct support per week as a result of the program closures. Day program closures include two in Guelph and the sole programs offered in Erin, Fergus, Mount Forest, and Harriston.
“CUPE Ontario and CUPE 4392 will be rolling out a public campaign against the day program closures by Community Living Guelph Wellington, including a story sharing campaign featuring first-hand impact statements from caregivers and an online e-action,” added Hahn.