Ontario Government Must Take Action on Developmental Services Crisis, Parents and Advocates Say
TORONTO, June 1 /CNW/ - A group of family members, people who have a disability, Community Living representatives, and other concerned citizens attended the Developmental Services Day at Queen's Park today. The event was organized by MPPs Sylvia Jones and Christine Elliott, Progressive Conservative Party critics of Community and Social Services and Health and Long-Term Care, respectively. The event was held to draw attention to the needs of more than 19,000 people who have a disability and their families who are desperate for government-funded supports and services, but are caught up in waiting lists and facing reduced services following recent provincial budget announcements.
"Community Living associations have a long history of working together with the Ontario Government, including all three political parties, to provide community-based supports and services for families and people who have a disability," said Gordon Kyle, Director of Social Policy and Government Relations. "Many people and families have benefitted from this, but for too long the developmental services sector has been critically under-funded and has now reached a breaking point. We need urgent action now, and before more families suffer as a result."
Along with the problem of waiting lists, challenges within Ontario's current economy have only compounded the funding crisis facing developmental services. In 2007, the Ontario Government promised a 2% increase (approximately $22 million) to the sector for 2010-2011. That commitment was effectively withdrawn in this year's Provincial Budget released March 25. Today, agencies that had planned for services based on that funding are now scrambling for dollars and having to reduce services. In the end, families - both those on waiting lists for residential services and other critical supports, and those who are receiving services that will now be reduced - will be adversely affected.
"This is a troubling and desperate time for families and for all of us in the sector. We know that among those on waiting lists are about 1,500 parents who provide primary care to their children, 80 % of these being parents over the age of 70," added Kyle. "Parents are worried about what will happen to their loved ones after they die; incidents of family breakdown, death, or other emergencies seem to be the only way people can move up the lists. We are urging all parties within the Ontario Government to come together to work out an immediate and sustainable solution for people who rely on these services to live and get by each day."
Community Living Ontario is a province-wide federation that promotes and facilitates the full participation and inclusion of people who have an intellectual disability. More than 12,000 people are members of Community Living Ontario through membership in 117 affiliated local associations. Community Living provides direct support and services to people who have an intellectual disability, helps communities build the capacity to support people, and advocates for social change toward the full inclusion of all people in community.
SOURCE Community Living Ontario
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