Statement by Chris Beesley, CEO of Community Living Ontario regarding the Ontario Government Throne Speech
Community Living Ontario’s CEO Chris Beesley released the following statement today:
“If the Government of Ontario has ‘a plan to build a fairer, better Ontario by supporting everyone in the province with the care and opportunity they need to get ahead,’ then the Lieutenant Governor’s Throne Speech did little to convey how the province intends to best support people who have an intellectual disability, their families, and community agencies in the Developmental Services sector.
Given the recent statements by Premier Kathleen Wynne on the need for a long-term plan for the sector and Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s speech earlier this month to the Economic Club of Canada, where he stated the government would be committing to more support for developmental services, Community Living Ontario is disappointed that people who have an intellectual disability and their families were not priorities in today’s speech.
To date, investments have not been sufficient to turn around the crisis facing people who have an intellectual disability and their families with respect to accessing government supports and services identified by the Select Committee on Developmental Services and highlighted by the Ontario Ombudsman in his 2016 report, Nowhere to Turn.
People continue to be placed on waitlists for residential and daily living supports with no way of knowing when, if ever, their needs will be addressed. Parents continue to lose supports for their children when they turn 18 and then they must reapply. It is even more dire for families when young people age out of the school system at 21.
In addition, it has been close to a decade since community agencies have received any new funding to address operational pressures other than some modest increases for staff wages and legislated changes resulting from Bill 148.
In her December of 2013 apology to survivors of the province’s regional centres, Premier Wynne called on Ontarians to look out for and care for one another, and challenged us to be led by our sense of moral purpose before all else. She also spoke of striving to support people with intellectual or related disabilities, so that they can live as independently as possible and be more fully included in all aspects of their community.
We eagerly await the 2018 Budget on March 28th to see how the government intends to fulfill its own sense of moral purpose and provide a long-term plan on how best to support people who have an intellectual disability and their families, as well as how the province intends to prevent crises from occurring while creating greater opportunities for people to connect with their community and the community with them.”
For additional information and interviews, please contact:
Director, Communications, Marketing and Fund Development
Community Living Ontario