Response to 2011 Provincial Budget

Ontario ~

March 30, 2012
Honourable Dwight Duncan
Minister of Finance
Frost Building South
7th Floor, 7 Queen’s Park Crescent
Toronto, ON M7A 1Y7

Dear Minister:

Too many people who have an intellectual disability and their families continue to struggle through their daily existence as they wait for your government to turn its attention to their desperate and growing need for assistance. I am writing on behalf of the 12,000 people that Community Living Ontario represents through a federation of 115 local Community Living associations, to ask you why the needs of these families and individuals are not enough of a priority of your government to deserve their due attention within the provincial budget that you presented this week.

• More than 12,000 people are waiting for support to live in a home suited to their needs;
• 7,000 families who are seeking daily living support through the Special Services at Home program have no idea when assistance may come;
• 4,000 people await funding through your government’s Passport program, which has been seriously underfunded since its introduction;
• Aging parents throughout Ontario who are supporting their sons and daughters at home move day-by-day towards the time when their personal capacity to carry on will end while your government provides no indication when, if ever, they can expect to receive support. Random samplings in ridings across Ontario estimate that over 1,450 parents over the aged of 70 are still providing primary care to their adult child or family member, and 20% ofthese parents are over the age of 80.
• People struggle to live on an income support system that provides benefits that remain more than 18% below what they were in 1993 when inflation is taken into account and which are 40% below the current poverty line while your government offers a 1% increase – an amount that does nothing to address the desperate poverty in which so many people live.

Meanwhile, the community service system that has been built up over the past 60 years to provide support to people who have an intellectual disability and their families continues to be eroded as a result of chronic underfunding by the provincial government.

• In 2010, the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) reneged on the 4th year of a four-year funding commitment resulting in further destabilization of services. Agencies that provide services and supports made binding commitments in collective bargaining agreements based on this funding commitment.
• In the coming months, the developmental services sector faces labour negotiations of more than 100 collective agreements, with no new funds. This will mean that even those people who receive support run the risk of disruptions to their lives as a result of labour unrest and a withdrawal of their
supports when service providers reduce programs in order to pay for wage settlements.
• The MCSS Increased Community Capacity Initiative (ICCI) forced more people into a support system that was already under tremendous stress.

While we hear repeatedly that your government has no money to invest, the budget did in fact make new funding commitments to many government priorities such as health, education, job creation, childcare, universities, safe water, infrastructure, etc. On behalf of my members, I am requesting an explanation as to why the desperate
plight of so many citizens who have an intellectual disability and their families was not of a significant enough priority to your government to warrant similar attention. would also appreciate knowing what portion, if any, of the $535 million in new funding to the Ministry of Community and Social Services may be directed towards the needs of this population.

Yours truly,
Deborah Roilier

c.c. Honourable Dalton McGuinty
Honourable Madeline Meilleur

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