Ombudsman Report Highlights Systemic Issues Need Addressing
(TORONTO - August 25, 2016) - The Ontario Ombudsman's Report, Nowhere to Turn, has highlighted systemic issues in the access and crisis situation response in the developmental services system that have resulted in gaps in service for adults with a developmental disability across Ontario, particularly those with challenging and complex support needs.
"Sadly, the report highlights thousands of individuals and families who are desperate for services. Agencies have been working in partnership with people needing supports and their families, and have been working closely with the Minister and her staff, to expand capacity and provide effective services," says Janet Noel-Annable, Chair of the Provincial Network.
Yesterday's announcement stresses the need for increased partnership and collaboration between ministries to ensure that people with complex needs, such as a developmental disability and a mental illness or fragile medical condition, are served appropriately in a community setting that is safe and inclusive. Increasing specialized services is critical in ensuring effective services. These are welcome recommendations, and it is important that families and agencies are included to ensure that planning is holistic, nimble and meets peoples' needs appropriately.
We were also pleased to see many recommendations on increasing flexibility to agencies so that they can respond more effectively to crisis situations. "Too often a person will go into crisis and a crisis placement is not available," says Noel-Annable,"Being able to utilize a current vacancy to provide temporary support, and keeping crisis resources available will help tremendously in reducing inappropriate placement of people with developmental disabilities."
Services for citizens who have a developmental or intellectual disability are not solely the responsibility of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and we are encouraged to see the recognition and request for other ministries to be involved in these solutions. We look forward to collaboration across government to see the Ombudsman's recommendations realized.
Our partners have been working closely with the Ministry for several years now on improving the system and working together to eliminate waitlists, make services sustainable, safe and community-based. We look forward to continued collaboration towards our collective vision that in Ontario people live independently with full inclusion in all aspects of society. We applaud Minister Jaczek for accepting all of the recommendations in the Ombudsman's report.
(TORONTO - Monday, June 13, 2016) - Congratulations to the Wynne government on today's cabinet shuffle and increasing the number of women in Cabinet.
We are also pleased to see that the Hon. Dr. Helena Jaczek has remained as Minister of Community and Social Services, a post she has held for two years. "This is great news for our sector. Minister Jaczek is committed to improving the lives of people with a developmental disability in all areas of their life," says Janet Nolan, Chair of the Provincial Network on Developmental Services. "By enabling innovative solutions to increasing people's opportunities to participate and be fully included, we are ensuring people have choice and quality supports."
However, the shuffle does raise concern over Ontario's ability to deliver a barrier free, inclusive society by 2025. By removing the Accessibility portfolio from cabinet the disability community is concerned about how the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act will be implemented within the timelines, and in a way that insures full accessibility for all Ontarians.
We are pleased to report to you that over this past weekend, representatives of DS sector employers, CUPE and OPSEU reached an agreement with respect to input to MCSS regarding the allocation of funds to the sector.
It was agreed that on February 1, 2015 funding allocation of $36million will flow for the current fiscal year. Another $36million will flow to the sector on April 1, 2015 for the 2015/16 fiscal year.
Allocation to agencies will be determined on a per capita Full Time Equivalent (FTE) basis; MCSS will collect this data and all parties will be informed of allocation amounts by January 31, 2015. 80% of each allocation must be for wages and associated mandatory statutory benefit costs, and 20% shall be directed towards Precarious Work Issues (low wages, pensions and benefits) as well as mandatory associated statutory benefit costs resulting from wage increases from this funding allotment.
If an agency is covered by a collective agreement, distribution will be determined through the local bargaining process. If no collective agreement is in place, funds will be distributed at management’s discretion.
The funds will be flowed to employees within 30 days of reaching an agreement on wage increases, which might be through the form of a Memorandum of Understanding or a ratified collective agreement. Wage increases to non-unionized employees will flow within thirty days of agencies receipt of the monies.
It was agreed that Executive Directors / CEOs and employees who report directly to Executive Directors and employees serving in a management role, which includes the right to hire and fire other employees, shall not count toward the FTE amount and will not receive money from these funding allocations.
For agencies who are currently in the collective bargaining process or where bargaining has been paused, it is highly recommended that meetings are scheduled for the beginning of February.
Developmental Services Advisory Group
It was agreed that MCSS will establish a DSAG by June 1, 2015.
A Monday morning conference call will be held on January 12, 2015 at 8:30 am at which point there will be an opportunity for a Q&A session – call details will follow. We thank you for your patience, feedback and guidance during these past few weeks. If you have any questions, please contact Michelle Palmer, email@example.com or Dave Ferguson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creating Real Change through Partnership
Our Partnership and Action plan has been submitted to government to chart a path for full social inclusion for people with a developmental disability. Building on the recommendations of the Select Committee on Developmental Services, bolstered by the recent budget investment, we believe that by bringing together government, agencies, individuals, families and the broader public we can transform the developmental services together. You can read our report here.
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