TORONTO, Oct. 27, 2014 /CNW/ - Tomorrow, Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS) will be releasing its 3rd Annual Operating Pressures Survey to an audience of more than 200 Developmental Service (DS) sector professionals. This report has become increasingly important as OASIS continues to monitor and assess the impact that 5 years of zero budget increase has had on agencies.
Recently, the Ontario Government has promised $810 million to support individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The promise of new funding to our sector is greatly appreciated and much needed. To date, the province has focused on the direct funding for families and people waiting for services, and has committed to investing in salaries within the sector. Yet to be announced is any budgetary relief for agencies struggling to manage operational increases due to the increased cost of living over the past five years, and legislative requirements such as pay equity and meeting new fire code requirements.
"Operational cost pressures continue to negatively affect our ability to deliver quality services that enable citizens with developmental disabilities and their families to live successfully in the community", said David Barber, OASIS President. "Agencies are creating new capacity and being innovative as best they can. The proper disbursement of new funding is going to make a big difference to agencies that have held the fort, so to speak."
To combat cost pressures, agencies have diligently implemented cost saving measures and necessary innovations – IT initiatives, converting property to dual purposes, and partnering with other agencies on activities such as staff training and administrative functions. However, they have also had to reduce service levels in order to balance budgets.
"These cost saving innovations will be shared amongst our agencies to ensure further efficiencies across the sector", said Dave Ferguson, Chair of OASIS Labour Relations Committee. "As we receive promised additional funding from the government, we are well positioned to ensure that every dollar is spent on helping those in need."
Ninety-four ministry-funded agencies participated in the survey, examining from where the pressures were arising, how organizations were dealing with them, and what suggestions they had for improvements. Also significant, the survey took into account the size and composition of participating organizations and took new approaches to look at pay equity and budget deficits.
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 177 member agencies currently provide more than 85% of all developmental services funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
Image with caption: "ONTARIO AGENCIES SUPPORTING INDIVIDUALS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS (OASIS) (CNW Group/Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141027_C2012_PHOTO_EN_7124.jpg
SOURCE: Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS)
For further information: Oasis President: L. David Barber, Office Tel: 1-800-961-9144, Email: [email protected]