Dear members of the OPSEU Developmental Services Sector,
On Wednesday, June 18, 2014, OPSEU stands in solidarity with all developmental services workers across the province as we show our appreciation for everything you do to make Ontario a better place. By ensuring that individuals with intellectual disabilities live with dignity, you make a profound contribution to a better life for so many families.
Developmental Services Worker Appreciation Day is also an opportunity to recognize the critical work that must be done to improve funding for this sector. It is shameful that developmental services are so desperately underfunded. Long waiting lists and difficult access to services is unacceptable.
OPSEU’s Developmental Services Sector has lobbied hard and earned serious commitments from all three parties to fix these problems. With the newly elected Liberal majority government, we will continue our pressure. The Liberals made a $810 million promise to developmental services in their pre-election budget: OPSEU will hold them to that and more.
It is well known that there is a crisis in this sector. More than 21,000 people remain on waitlists, it is difficult to access services for children once they become adults, and families are at times driven to threaten abandoning their children before their desperate attempts to find help are taken seriously.
Investment is needed now – not over the next several years. It is needed to fund the frontline services at not-for-profit community agencies so that people receive quality, professional services. Proper funding is required to stop the high turnover of staff, and ensure good continuity of care for the people you support and their families. And funding is needed immediately to put an end to the waitlists that cause so much unnecessary stress and anxiety to families.
On Wednesday, June 18, we look forward to celebrating all of the successes, hard work and skill of developmental services workers across Ontario. We also look forward to continued solidarity as we lobby for improved access to services for all who depend on them.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
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