TORONTO, Nov. 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Leaders from 84 adult developmental services agencies met today to discuss the results of a province wide study assessing the impact of operating pressures on the developmental services sector. The meeting was part of a province wide session hosted by umbrella organization Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS).
The 2013 OASIS Operating Pressures Survey was completed by 111 agencies, representing 89% of the province's Developmental Services budget. The survey examined what costs are increasing, how organizations are managing increasing costs and innovative methods of cost mitigation.
"Inflationary costs pressures and labour unrest result from a sector now facing its 5th year without base funding increases. Our services have been dramatically impacted. These pressures are eroding our ability to be responsive to the growing needs of families on waiting lists, and the ability of our staff, to provide the highest quality of care to vulnerable Ontarians," said, Michelle Marshall, Executive Director of The Participation House Project (Durham Region), an OASIS member agency.
Participants shared real life examples of the impact their current operating environment is having on services, including the reduction of staffing hours in order to meet provincial directives that maintain services despite the reduction of staffing.
"We're at a crossroads. These pressures are pushing our agencies towards a precipice. It's not just quality of care that is at risk - I worry about the health and safety of our staff, and the ability of aging families in my community who continue to support their adult children as they face their own health challenges," continued, David Ferguson, Executive Director at Ottawa-Carleton Association for Persons with a Development Disability, and Chair of the OASIS Labour Relations Committee, which coordinated the survey.
The operating pressures faced by service providers compound the pressures on province-wide waiting lists that are currently estimated at 20,000 vulnerable Ontarians.
"We understand the difficult economic situation facing our province. That's why we've worked collaboratively with the government to identify efficiencies, close costly and unneeded institutions, and help return Ontarians to their home communities to be with loved ones, in turn further containing costs," said Jane Joris, President of OASIS.
These steps forward will rapidly become irrelevant if the government doesn't take a strategic look at how to fix the problems created by chronic underfunding.
"We've done our part; it's time for the government to do theirs. Ontarians with developmental disabilities, their families, their loved ones, and everyone working to improve their quality of life are disappointed with the current approach to our most vulnerable citizens," concluded Joris.
Image with caption: "Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (CNW Group/Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131121_C9639_PHOTO_EN_33693.jpg
SOURCE: Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS)
For further information:
For more information about the survey or OASIS member agencies, please contact Jane Joris, Executive Director and President of OASIS at [email protected] or by phone c/o Amanda Brown at Community Living South Muskoka, 705-645-5494, ext. 285.