Editorial: Protecting what matters most?

Protecting what matters most. That’s the title of the Ontario government’s budget for fiscal 2019/20, announced last week.

Apparently, among those things that matter most include:

  • A new logo for Ontario;
  • New license plates with a new motto;
  • Expanded access to alcohol;
  • Easier access to gambling.

However, if you are one of the tens of thousands in Ontario who were hoping for a lifeline of support, you do not matter most. Instead, you must make do with what you have, or maybe less. For the specifics, please read our analysis of the budget.

Suffice to say, if you receive ODSP, you will not be seeing any increase over the next year. You do not matter most. If you are a family member who is desperate for support, you do not matter most. If you are a support organization hoping for annualized stabilization funding after a decade of nothing, you and the people you support, do not matter most. Instead, you must be content with the knowledge that the government will be whittling down the deficit; that they’ll be looking for evidence-based efficiencies, streamlining and transforming services. Does that make you feel like you matter most? Does it make you feel like you matter at all?

For nearly a year, we have reached out to this government, encouraging them to consult and work with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and support organizations. With few exceptions, the response so far has been frustratingly silent.

People are tired of waiting, tired of feeling ignored and just plain tired.

I would love nothing better than for this government to prove me wrong. Please, prove to us all that you care. Talk to us. We have lots of ideas on how we can work together to make supports better for everyone. Prove to us that we matter.

Chris Beesley, CEO, Community Living Ontario