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

    SARNIA, ON, Aug. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - Workers from Community Living Sarnia,
members of CUPE 4370, travelled to London 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," Brian Biggers, president of CUPE 4370, 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 centres, 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 Biggers. "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

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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