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TORONTO, ON – In anticipation of the Ontario government’s announcement of an additional $730 million over three years to fund developmental services, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has outlined its recommendations for providing the greatest relief to the greatest number of families waitlisted for services.
CUPE is calling on the government to direct the entire sum immediately – and not over the anticipated three years – into non-profit, community-based agencies and services, in order to provide vital help to the 23,000 families on waitlists in Ontario.
“If the government drip-feeds this money into developmental services, they are simply telling 2 out of every 3 families on waitlists, ‘Better luck next year’, ” says Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, Chair of the CUPE Ontario’s Social Service Workers Coordinating Committee.
“In Ontario, there are adults with developmental disabilities whose ageing parents are their main caregivers. These families may have spent years, even decades, waiting for support. They can’t wait another year or two until the next round of funding.”
There are 23,000 Ontario families currently on waitlists for developmental services and supports. CUPE has estimated that additional funding between $744 million and $1.2 billion per annum is needed to eliminate the growing waitlists in Ontario. 
CUPE is calling on the government to invest the bulk of new funding into the network of Ontario non-profit, community based agencies to expand services. Agencies have long reported challenges with recruiting and retaining qualified staff as a result of low wages and the need to ensure continuity of care in support through more permanent, full-time staffing arrangements. CUPE represents 8,000 developmental service workers in Ontario.
“Developmental services in Ontario are in crisis,” said Jim Beattie, the Chair of the CUPE Ontario Developmental Service Workers Coordinating Committee. “The new funding that the government invests must go immediately to expanding services and supports for families so that families can get the help they need today – not next year, or the year after.”
For further details of CUPE’s response to Friday’s announcement by the Minister of Community and Social Services or interview opportunities with Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario, please contact: 

Craig Saunders
CUPE Communications

Mary Unan
CUPE Communications
905-739-3999 ext. 240 or 416-206-5609