Today marks the fifth annual Developmental Services: Worker Appreciation Day. Communities across Ontario are celebrating the important work of people who care for and support individuals with developmental disabilities.
This year marks an achievement that has been 20 years in the making. Unions, employers and government are pursuing talks to arrive at a provincial process to bargain improvements to working conditions for developmental service workers.
“Workers have been waiting for years to hear that the province is serious about making developmental service work a career choice in Ontario,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of OPSEU. “What better time to recognize the potential to promote decent jobs and quality services than on this day.”
The majority of workers in developmental services are women, most of whom work part-time. Many still do not have pensions or benefits.
Developmental services workers in community-based agencies provide professional care to people with developmental disabilities through programs designed to enrich their lives in every way possible. The work they do is varied, providing life skills and other training; support with basic personal tasks; and administering medications. Developmental services workers provide support to individuals in community residences and in their own homes.