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OPSEU President to new Social Services Minister: overhaul developmental services

OPSEU Developmental Services

Toronto – During a rally today, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas will join workers and activists from across Ontario as they demand that the new Minister of Community and Social Services overhaul the developmental services system.

  • What: Rally for an Overhaul of Developmental Services
  • When: Friday, March 2, from 11 am to 1 pm
  • Where: Outside the constituency office of Michael Coteau, the newly appointed Minister of Community and Social Services, 1200 Lawrence Avenue East, Suite L02

“This is a full-fledged crisis, and we’re demanding that Minister Michael Coteau and his government take action,” says Thomas. “We need to invest now in the services that people and families need, and we need to invest now in the workers who provide those services. “

In 2016, the Ontario Ombudsman recommended that developmental services be overhauled. The provincial government has responded with small funding increases, but those increases haven’t been nearly enough. Last year a family launched a class-action suit against the government over the years-long waiting list for services.

Precarious working conditions are adding to the crisis. For example, 75 per cent of the developmental services workers represented by OPSEU are part time and have no pension or benefits, leading to high turn-over rates and instability.

“Tens of thousands of people with developmental disabilities are falling through the cracks,” says Erin Smith-Rice, a developmental services worker and OPSEU member from Thunder Bay. “People are languishing on waitlists for services and housing, and many of them are ending up in psychiatric wards or unregulated private group home with deplorable conditions.

“Ontarians deserve better. Ontarians deserve dignity.”

For more information:
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, Member: 613-329-1931
Developmental Services worker Erin Smith-Rice, 807-627-8709