TORONTO, Jan. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS) President Jane Joris, Vice-President (Volunteer) David Barber, and Vice-President (Executive Director) Allan Mills addressed the Ontario Government Select Committee on Developmental Services at Queen's Park.
OASIS Executives warned the committee that developmental services in Ontario have reached a breaking point. Existing services alone face a funding short-fall of $100 million by 2015/2016. That figure does not take into account the 12,000 to 20,000 Ontarians with developmental disabilities currently on wait lists.
"We have seen first-hand, countless families struggling to make ends meet and having to make decisions that most Ontarians would never have to contemplate. We have seen families languishing on wait lists forced to leave their jobs in order to care for a loved one", said Joris. "Worst of all, we have seen too many make the heart wrenching decision to leave their child on the doorstep of a service provider because they are no longer able to provide care."
OASIS member agencies have been responsive and responsible in doing their part to help mitigate the financial challenges of the province, while continuing to honour commitments to our most vulnerable citizens in need of developmental services. OASIS member agencies have built partnerships and collaborative approaches, forging in-roads to access in five critical developmental service success areas: providing housing, employment, respite care, knowledge sharing, and leadership development. "We have done our part," said David Barber. "Now the government has to do its part. There need to be immediate investments to stop more families and their loved ones from continuing to reach crisis."
The current funding model based on crisis alone will ensure that waiting lists continue to grow and that the burden to taxpayers will continue to skyrocket. OASIS Executives detailed solutions that will address a growing backlog of crisis care, while proactively investing in preventative solutions to stop crisis situations from germinating in the first place:
- Commit to proactive systems changes.
- Provide additional investments to ensure that critical and immediate needs are balanced with the imperative for preventative and proactive services.
- Prioritize inter-ministerial and cross-sector collaboration to develop an integrated strategy that addresses poverty and the need for accessible and affordable housing in order to ensure that every person who has a developmental disability and their family has access to the support they need.
OASIS is a volunteer run, member driven organization. Our member agencies serve over 65,000 of Ontario's most vulnerable citizens and employ 25,000 full and part-time staff. Our 172 member agencies currently provide more than 85% of all developmental services funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
SOURCE: Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS)
For further information:
Jane Joris, President
Office Telephone: 519-381-7488