Community Living Algoma workers tell politicians: don't repeat home care fiasco in developmental services



    SAULT STE MARIE, ON, Aug. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - Workers from Community Living
Algoma, members of CUPE 1880, travelled to Timmins today to tell provincial
politicians that new proposed legislation could mean longer waiting lists and
uncertain services for individuals with a developmental disability and their
families.
    "Bill 77 is supposed to herald a new era of community living in Ontario,
but it fails to guarantee supports and services for adults with a
developmental disability," Cindy Hertz, northern area representative for
CUPE's ACL bargaining committee, told the Ontario Legislature's Standing
Committee on Social Policy. "Our worst fear is that we will see all the
problems currently plaguing home care in Ontario re-created in developmental
services."
    The committee is holding public hearings into the bill this week.
    "Instead of adequately funding the existing, decades-old, community-based
infrastructure, the province wants to entrench waiting lists in legislation
and divert money to central application centers, creating another level of
bureaucracy whose primary function is to determine eligibility, prioritize
individual needs and manage those waiting lists."
    The legislation would also allow private, for-profit brokers to find
support workers for individuals and families who opt for direct funding,
taking on the role of employer but not subject to the same accountability
measures as community-based service agencies.
    "Recruitment and retention of workers in this sector are huge problems
that are not addressed by Bill 77," said Hertz. "High staff turnover means the
consistency that supported individuals need simply disappears. That is a
threat to their well-being and development."
    CUPE's recommendations to the standing committee include:

    
    - Deleting any reference in the bill to waiting lists and mandating the
      provision of services and supports for any individual deemed eligible
    - Requiring the use a common assessment tool to determine eligibility in
      order to ensure consistency across the province
    - Ensuring that any public monies go only to not-for-profit service
      providers.
    




For further information:

For further information: Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario, (416)
209-0066; Kathy Johnson, CUPE Social Services Coordinator, (416) 272-6698; Luc
Tittley, CUPE Communications, (416) 910-2389

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