Cuts to Developmental Services to hit London's most vulnerable - OPSEU

LONDON, ON, Jan. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - An announcement this week by Community Living London that seven staff will receive layoff notices will be a catastrophic blow to services for persons with developmental disabilities, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, says the government's refusal to provide adequate funding for developmental services is a shameful act, hurting the most vulnerable people in the London area.

"The Ministry of Community and Social Services has continued to ignore the chronic under-funding crisis in this sector," Thomas said. "Waiting lists across the province continue to rise with no relief in sight."

Community Living London announced early this week a plan to lay off seven developmental service workers and to dramatically reduce part-time hours in an effort to balance their budget. Community Living London has made it clear that unless the Ministry provides the required funding further cuts and loss of employment will occur in April. The impact of this for families throughout the City will be profound.

The government's refusal to provide adequate funding comes on the heels of announcing a $36 million expenditure on "performance bonuses" for civil service managers. This reflects the current private-sector trend of prioritizing executive bonuses over the needs of the marginalized. "The Public Sector is expected be a role-model of public accountability," Thomas said. "Public funds should be spent to the benefit of the public, not for select managers."

Currently in Ontario there are more than 12,000 people waiting for residential supports, 7,000 waiting for other supports and 1,500 providing primary care to their sons or daughters who have an intellectual disability on a waitlist for residential services. Eighty per cent of these parents are over the age of 70.

"The newly-appointed Minister of Community and Social Services, John Milloy, is refusing to talk to both Community Living London and the union about this crisis," Thomas said. "The Minister needs to take immediate action and resolve this funding issue before something tragic occurs."

OPSEU represents approximately 420 employees at Community Living London.


For further information:

Debbie Morphew, OPSEU Local 166  519-671-2121
Lynne Easter-Froats, OPSEU Staff Rep 519-657-8312

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