50 OPSEU developmental services locals to bargain new contract

TORONTO, Jan. 13, 2014 /CNW/ - 50 OPSEU Developmental Services locals will serve a Notice to Bargain to their respective employers on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. All of these locals' contracts are set to expire on March 31 of this year.

More than 10,000 OPSEU developmental services workers want to know how the government plans to fix the crisis in services for people with developmental disabilities.

"It is time for a serious commitment to properly funding developmental services," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "Ontario families are stressed and pushed to the limit waiting for access to services. Lack of adequate funding means that there are not enough staff to meet the needs of people waiting for services."

There are 24,000 Ontarians with developmental disabilities on the waitlist for services. Of those, 12,000 are waiting for residential opportunities. Meanwhile, some people with developmental disabilities are receiving the wrong kind of care. Many reside in long-term care facilities, psychiatric facilities, nursing homes and even in jails.

"Families cannot and should not wait 10 years and more to receive the care they need for their loved ones. It breaks my heart to see families struggling to get access to the specialized care their loved ones require for a decent quality of life. There are too many people who are growing old and worrying about who will care for their family member when they are gone," said Patti Markland, OPSEU Developmental Services Sector Chair.

"Developmental services workers are deeply committed to the people we serve. However too many of us have to juggle multiple jobs just to make ends meet. This leads to a high turnover rate and a lack of service continuity for the people we support," said Markland.

A developmental services select committee, including MPPs from all three Ontario parties, is currently holding meetings at five different Ontario communities. OPSEU is preparing a report to coincide with the provincial report coming out of these meetings.

SOURCE OPSEU

For further information:

Patti Markland, OPSEU Developmental Services Sector Chair: 613-848-6016
Emily Visser, OPSEU Communications: 416-557-7936