A landmark agreement reached by labour, government, and community living agencies will bring greater stability to the lives of people with developmental disabilities in Ontario as well as to the low-waged workers who care for them.
On Saturday, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), along with other unions, government and agencies concluded a consultation on the distribution of $180 million, which was earmarked to improve continuity of care and services for people with developmental disabilities by tackling such problems as high staff turnover, the inability to attract and retain qualified staff, and staffing shortages.
Workers in developmental services – the great majority of whom are women and many of whom are low paid – traditionally work in jobs that are precarious and part-time.
Greater funding for developmental services was provided as part of the government’s last budget, including funds to improve pay for frontline, low-wage earners. Over the past several months, CUPE representatives took part in discussions about the best and most effective ways to distribute $180 million meant for wage improvements.
“We are pleased that government and agencies have both recognized the importance of a better paid, stable workforce as the key to providing better services for people with developmental disabilities,” said Jim Beattie, chair of the Developmental Service Workers Coordinating Committee.
“Developmental service workers serve some of the most vulnerable people in society. But in Ontario, the jobs they do are traditionally undervalued and underpaid. No one is served under that model – certainly not people who rely on the services.”
Under the agreement CUPE reached with government, other unions and the developmental service sector’s employers’ association, funding from 2014 to 2016 will be allocated to improve wages for frontline workers in developmental services, including an allocation for Precarious Work Issues, such as low wages, pensions and benefits.
“Properly distributed, this funding has the potential to transform the lives of people who work in developmental services and, as a consequence, the lives of the people they serve,” said Beattie.
For more information, please contact:
Chair, Developmental Service Workers Coordinating Committee
CUPE Social Services Coordinator
905-739-3999 ext. 240 or 647-390-9839