“We’ve come to a real crossroads now, where everything is just log-jammed,” said Community Living Mississauga’s Interim Executive Director Debbie Moffatt, discussing the reasoning behind the Peel Planning Group’s recent efforts to raise awareness regarding the chronic underfunding and systemic issues that exist for people who have an intellectual disability and their families.
“In terms of the Peel Planning Group,” she explained, “it’s very specific to Peel because Peel has been underfunded for decades, however, many of the issues are also province-wide.”
Moffatt says the region is receiving fewer provincial dollars compared to other jurisdictions in Ontario not only in developmental services, but also in other areas like healthcare and education.
“Peel is receiving 45% less when it comes to Developmental Services funding than our counterparts across the province, if you look at population.”
The Peel Planning Group is a network of family groups and support organizations including Community Living organizations that form a planning body for the Developmental Services sector in the Region of Peel, ensuring people and families have access to necessary services and funding.
The group has been circulating an online petition (www.itisunacceptable.com) on behalf of people and families highlighting the unacceptability of issues like abandonment and waitlists. The petition has over 1,100 signatures. Paper versions, which can be presented in the Legislature, have garnered over 100 names so far.
“It’s really to look at services that can be responsive to the needs of individuals and families in Peel Region,” Moffatt said.
The Peel Planning Group started the petition in December and, by the end of January 2017, had put it in front of several Members of Provincial Parliament. Bramalea-Gore-Malton MPP Jagmeet Singh intends to present it to the Legislative Assembly at Queen’s Park in April.
Moffatt is optimistic that the Peel Planning Group and the Ministry of Community and Social Services can collaboratively address the challenges outlined in the petition.
“We’re not in opposition, we want to work together by trying to identify solutions.”
Daniel Share-Strom and Ron Laroche, Community Living Ontario