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London developmental services workers protest service cuts for most vulnerable

We the North
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Developmental services workers at Community Living London are holding an information picket on Tuesday morning outside the Ministry of Community and Social Services to protest layoffs of seven staff. These cuts to London’s services will directly impact the most vulnerable members of the community.

What: Information Picket
Where: Ministry of Community and Social Services, 217 York Street, London
When: Tuesday, January 10, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, says the government’s refusal to provide adequate funding for developmental services is a shameful act, hurting the most vulnerable people in the London area.

“The Ministry of Community and Social Services continues to ignore the chronic funding crisis in this sector,” Thomas said. “Waiting lists across the province continue to rise with no relief in sight.”

Community Living London announced early this week a plan to lay off seven developmental service workers and to dramatically reduce part-time hours in an effort to balance their budget. Community Living London has made it clear that unless the Ministry provides the required funding further cuts and loss of employment will occur in April. The impact of this for families throughout the City will be profound.

The government’s refusal to provide adequate funding comes on the heels of announcing a $36 million expenditure on “performance bonuses” for civil service managers. This reflects the current private-sector trend of prioritizing executive bonuses over the needs of the marginalized. “The Public Sector is expected be a role-model of public accountability,” Thomas said. “Public funds should be spent to the benefit of the public, not for select managers.”

Currently in Ontario there are more than 12,000 people waiting for residential supports, 7,000 waiting for other supports and 1,500 parents providing primary care to children with an intellectual disability while they are on a waitlist for residential services. Eighty per cent of these parents are over the age of 70.

“The newly-appointed Minister of Community and Social Services, John Milloy, is refusing to talk to both Community Living London and the union about this crisis,” Thomas said. “The Minister needs to take immediate action and resolve this funding issue before something tragic occurs.”

OPSEU represents approximately 420 employees at Community Living London.

Update January 13th, 2012

Pictures of the event

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More information:

Debbie Morphew,
OPSEU Local 166
519-671-2121

Lynne Easter-Froats,
OPSEU Staff Rep
519-657-8312