An Interview with Voices 4 Ability

by donnak on November 5, 2014

Voices 4 Ability is an online radio station that provides a variety of content, both entertaining and resourceful, for people with disabilities and their allies. On September 25, I was interviewed by Jodie Eleanor, MSW, RSW. We had a great time and covered some topics that will be of interest to many who read this blog. Enjoy!

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Since the Final Report of the Select Committee on Developmental Services was tabled in July 22 2014, has anything been done? Has Minister Jazek followed through on any of her six promises?

Monique Taylor, one of the Committee members, addressed the legislative assembly of Ontario. Here, in part, are her words:

“I am proud of the work that’s being tabled today (July 22, 2014). I look forward to the government response to our recommendations. I am hopeful that our recommendations will be implemented and not used as a political football but as a plan that will make fundamental changes in the lives of those the system serves. They are amongst the most vulnerable in our province and they deserve to have stability in their future.”

The last two of six promises in Minister Jazek’s report:

  • Support agencies and front-line workers in the community services sector, and
  • Promote innovation so that any savings can be re-invested into improving services

All of Minister Jazeks promises and particularly these two, feed directly into the Committee’s central recommendation – that a new Inter-Ministerial Committee on Developmental Services (IMCDS) be created with the mandate of implementing the recommendations in the Final Report. The Minister of Community and Social Services should be answerable for the progress of the IMCDS and the implementation of the recommendations in the Final Report. The IMCDS should also make regular progress reports to the Legislative Assembly. [1]

I have sent Monique Taylor an email asking if any action has taken place. While I wait for her response, sources tell me that the lion’s share of the $810 million is going to Passport and Support Services at Home. Not necessarily a bad thing – it addresses some of the concerns in the report. However, the crisis is so wide and so deep it would take millions more to address all the recommendations.

Given the enormity of the issues, a provincial deficit of $19B and a stalled economy, progress will be incremental and very slow and will be measured in different ways by different stakeholders. Government would say they are on it; people who just received funding would say there’s been progress and the have-nots will say not enough is being done.

Plus, there continues to be a delay with regards to releasing funding for enhancing the wages of direct support workers. OPSEU has called for strikes at several community living associations because they are (understandably) frustrated with the time this is taking. The money for direct support workers in health and long-term care has already come through. This has caused tension within some organizations who are funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care as well as the Ministry of Community and Social Services – one set of workers getting raises and another set of workers waiting.

Couldn’t the MHLTC and MCSS have seen this coming?

Who’s got the ball?

 

 

 

Sources:

Legislature of Ontario, July 22 session

Jim Triantafilou, Executive Director, Brampton Caledon Community Living

Minister Jazek, July 22, 2014 Statement

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Legislature of Ontario, Final Report of the Select Committee on Developmental Services

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