The Select Committee on Developmental Services interim report released on Wednesday, March 5 reveals the need for immediate long-term solutions to a serious crisis.
"Families and frontline staff who support people with developmental disabilities have made compelling pleas for help to all three of Ontario's political parties and we expect swift and substantial action," said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
"Frontline staff are deeply committed to the people they serve in our communities. It breaks our hearts every day to see the suffering caused by the systemic underfunding of developmental services. We are all hoping the government will step up and do the right thing," said Patti Markland, OPSEU Developmental Services Sector Chair.
There are about 66,000 people with autism, down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, cerebral palsy and other intellectual disabilities in Ontario. Of these, more than half are on waiting lists for services.
"Families can't keep waiting endlessly for the services their loved-ones depend on. I never want to hear another story about a person requiring services or housing who ends up in a psychiatric facility or long-term care home, in jail or on the street. Why should parents have to give up custody of their child to get them the care they need? Each and every one of those people is suffering from a failure of the government," said Thomas.
The current budget for developmental services in Ontario is approximately 1.8 billion dollars. It will take another billion just to put an end to the waitlist. And more is needed to improve access to quality care.
"Ontario has more money than ever. There are no excuses," said Thomas. "The interim report is clear. It's time to fix this."
OPSEU Developmental Services Sector Chair: