It has been a year of challenges and opportunities for the Developmental Services Sector in Ontario. We have been challenged to provide more programs and supports without additional funding. But we have also been given the opportunity to express our concerns through two provincial-level reports.

The first report was prepared by the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman on the Developmental Services Sector. This report, which is due out at any time, will challenge the Ontario government to address issues such as underfunding, excessive wait lists and an ineffective infrastructure.

In December of 2012, in conjunction with Brampton/Caledon Community Living, we wrote to Ombudsman André Marin to express our outrage that for a fifth year in a row, the developmental services sector received no increase in funding from the provincial government. The lack of funding has resulted in growing wait lists, young adults graduating from the school system with little or no meaningful post-secondary opportunities, and families having to relinquish care for their sons and daughters because they can no longer cope. When the report is released, Community Living Mississauga will strongly urge our MPPs to act upon the Ombudsman’s recommendations through face-to-face meetings and various media outlets.

The second report will come from the Select Committee on Developmental Services in 2014. This committee, made up of MPPs from both the government and opposition, is currently listening to presentations and accepting letters from various government ministries as well as social service associations from across the province. Community Living Mississauga has sent a written presentation to the Select Committee detailing several key issues.

In addition to our individual efforts at the provincial level, Community Living Mississauga is also working with more than 300 other organizations in the Developmental Services sector to advocate as a unified body on behalf of the individuals we all support. By presenting a united front with common issues, we hope to force the provincial government to address our issues and take action. The Select Committee will be presenting its interim report to the House of Commons by February 26, 2014 and its final report by May 15, 2014.

But there is more that can be done.

Follow the progress of the Select Committee on Developmental Services and watch for updates about Community Living Mississauga’s ongoing efforts on this site.

Individuals supported by Community Living Mississauga and their families are urged to contact their local MPPs to show their support of both the Ombudsman’s Office and the Select Committee on Developmental Services in order to affect future change!

How to Connect with your MPPs:

Dipika Damerla, MPP Mississauga East – Cooksville – www.dipikadamerla.onmpp.ca

Bob Delaney, MPP Mississauga – Streetsville – www.bobdelaney.com

Amrit Mangat, MPP Mississauga – Brampton South – www.amritmangat.onmpp.ca

Jagmeet Singh, MPP Bramalea/Gore/Malton – www.jagmeetsingh.ca

Charles Sousa, MPP Mississauga South – www.votesousa.ca

Harinder Takhar, MPP Mississauga – Erindale – www.hstakhar.com