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OPSEU Block Walk informs community about underfunding

Developmental services workers from Community Living Prince Edward and Pathways to Independence held a “block walk” in Picton Monday to inform the community about funding needs. Across the province, more than 12 workplaces are hosting walks this week. The workers are asking the provincial government to make lasting improvements to the lives of people with disabilities.
“We’re asking the government to do the right thing and improve services and funding to this sector immediately,” said Patti Markland, Local 448 president. “The union is concerned that the funding mandate that the Ministry of Finance has given the Ministry of Community and Social Services is unrealistic. Funding to the developmental services sector must increase if we are going to maintain our current levels of service. Developmental services clients are particularly vulnerable – they depend on these services. People living with a  developmental disability are one of society’s most vulnerable and this underfunding needs to stop.”
This past year the Ministry of Labour undertook an initiative to facilitate discussions between the Ministry of Community and Social Services (COMSOC), employers and unions to stabilize and strengthen the sector. Talks broke off in March due to lack of sustainable funding.

The provincial waitlist for residential supports has risen to more than 12,000. There are currently 16,000 people with a developmental disability who receive residential supports across Ontario.

OPSEU has launched a new campaign website, http://www.developmentalservices.org which features the “block walks” and also includes a letter-writing campaign. OPSEU members and their allies are sending letters demanding funding for developmental services to Ministers Dwight Duncan and Madeleine Meilleur.

There are more than 8,000 OPSEU members working in developmental services.

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