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Toronto—Front line Association for Community Living (ACL) counsellors, who provide quality services for people with developmental disabilities, today outlined a vision for change in the sector that would mean improvements to the delivery of supports and services for the developmentally disabled.

At a Queen’s Park media conference, Fred Hahn, a residential counsellor with the Toronto Association for Community Living and the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2191, said front line workers are consistently shut out of any government consultations addressing systemic problems in the sector.

Tomorrow marks Association for Community Living Day at Queen’s Park. But workers were not invited to attend. Essentially, this government doesn’t want to hear from us because we are the ones sounding the alarm bells that services for the developmentally disabled are severely underfunded. The developmentally disabled, their families and workers face much hardship and pain that could be avoided if there was more money for staff training and services were mandated by the province to ensure equal and timely access to supports,” said Hahn.

Sid Ryan, the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union that represent the majority of ACL workers province-wide, joined Hahn and Teresa Colangelo, also a member of CUPE Local 2191, at the media conference.

Workers in the system have solutions to improve the delivery of services and this government should be listening to them and making services for people with developmental disabilities a priority. Unfortunately, the Tories are ignoring their needs. It speaks volumes that in the budget this week there was no new money for ACLs,” says Ryan.

CUPE outlined the following recommendations for improving services for people with developmental disabilities:

  • Services must be mandated by the Province of Ontario, to ensure no family or individual who needs support is on a waiting list for years and years.
  • Services and supports must be public and accessible, and not for profit.
  • Workers must have the right to have advocates on their behalf – Unions – in order to ensure their concerns, voices, and valuable input are heard.
  • Value the work - value the worker, through adequate system funding, appropriate wage compensation and training for workers.

For more information please contact:
Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario
(416) 209-0066
Fred Hahn, CUPE Local 2191
(416) 456-9116
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774