TORONTO, Feb. 23 /CNW/ - The government of Ontario proposed a new model
for funding critical services to deafblind Ontarians that, if
implemented, could result in a 45 per cent reduction in services and
funding for Ontario's most vulnerable.
DeafBlind Ontario Services is a not-for-profit organization that
provides residential and other specialized services to adults who are
congenitally deafblind. These vital services enable clients to gain the
necessary communication and life skills to be more independent, and
contribute to the greater community through the use of Intervenors,
specially trained professionals who act as the "eyes" and "ears" of the
The Ministry of Community and Social Services proposed a funding formula
in the fall of 2010 that could result in a drastic reduction to
Intervenor services, seriously impacting the quality of life of
DeafBlind Ontario Services has participated in several meetings with
Ministry staff on this issue, including other service providers in the
sector, to achieve a positive outcome that is fair and equitable to all
deafblind Ontarians. The Ministry recognizes that Intervenor services
are a vital support service, and that the proposed funding allocation
model needs to be re-worked. While the ministry is committed to
working with their partners on a new funding model for Intervenor
services, they also must manage the model within available resources.
It has now become clear that those resources are simply not sufficient
to provide these essential services and avoid cuts.
Since the fall, DeafBlind Ontario Services has been hard at work,
advocating for more dollars for the Intervenor services sector.
Representatives have visited or written letters to every MPP in the
province. They have written directly to Premier Dalton McGuinty.
The organization has participated in pre-budget consultations and has
met with Ministry of Finance staff to advise them how small an
investment it would take in the government's budget to solve this
problem - $2 million a year over five years.
The ball is in Finance Minister Dwight Duncan's court, and deafblind
Ontarians now wait in limbo.
Julia Ford's stepson, Karl, is deafblind. "Karl has been living in a
DeafBlind Ontario Services group home in Peterborough since August
2009," says Ford. "He absolutely loves it and has been thriving in the
environment. His Intervenors have been helping him to understand the
world and have helped him to accomplish things like being successful at
a small job in the community helping the firefighters wash their
Diane Gabay, whose son Charles is also a client of DeafBlind Ontario
Services, agrees. "Without the support of an Intervenor, Charles would
be trapped in his body, unable to participate in life - literally in a
prison. I don't like to imagine him with less support because of these
"If 95% of what we learn comes from our eyes and ears, imagine the
challenges of being deafblind," says Roxanna Spruyt-Rocks, Executive
Director of DeafBlind Ontario Services. "We are hopeful that the
Ministry of Finance will open their eyes and ears and give this sector
the resources needed to enable deafblind Ontarians to reach their full
About DeafBlind Ontario Services
DeafBlind Ontario Services (www.deafblindontario.com) is a not-for-profit organization that creates safe and comfortable
environments that enable individuals who are deafblind throughout the
province to live more independently. DeafBlind Ontario Services
currently supports adults who are deafblind with community-based
housing, professional Intervenor services, independent living skills,
work experience and social programs.
SOURCE DeafBlind Ontario Services
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