Three leading organizations providing supports to 65,000 of Ontarians who have an intellectual disability estimate that the Ontario Government’s Bill 148, the so called Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, will divert an estimated $55 million away from direct service provision for people with developmental disabilities.

Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS), Community Living Ontario and the Provincial Network on Developmental Services support, in principle, the objectives that the Government identified in undertaking the Changing Workplaces Review and that underlie Bill 148.

However, the increased costs associated with this Bill, cannot be passed on to Ontario’s vulnerable citizens with disabilities and cannot be funded by finding more operational efficiencies.  For individuals employed in the sector, they will experience a loss in jobs and/or a reduction in hours of work.  For the individuals supported by the developmental services sector, they will experience a decline of the support available, and correspondingly, an impact on their standard of living.

We are making a united appeal to the Ontario Government to provide additional funding to transfer payment agencies, and amend Bill 148 in order to avoid reductions and provide flexibility to respond to Ontario’s most vulnerable people.

“The developmental services sector is in crisis.  Without incremental funding from the Wynne Government the people that we support every day will suffer,” said OASIS President Ann Kenney. “If Bill 148 passes as-is, it will result in a decline of the support available, and correspondingly, an impact on their standard of living,” added Kenney.

The $55 million impact is calculated considering the cascading effects on workers earning greater than minimum entitlements in addition to new unfunded obligations around equal pay for equal work provisions, public holiday pay, minimum wage, personal emergency leave and vacation.

“Agencies in the Developmental Services sector exist to help people.  When that ability is threatened or compromised, they are compelled to speak out.  Clearly, the government’s intention with Bill 148 is to enhance the quality of people’s lives by providing fair employment and a living wage.  We are simply bringing attention to the unintended consequences of this legislation, as it will have the exact opposite effect on both the people who rely on these supports every day and the people who provide them,” added Chris Beesley, CEO of Community Living Ontario.

About OASIS

OASIS is a volunteer-run, member-driven organization.  Its member agencies serve over 65,000 of Ontario’s most vulnerable citizens and employ 25,000 full time and part time staff.  Its 195 member agencies currently provide more than 85 percent of all developmental services funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services

About Community Living Ontario

Community Living Ontario is a family-based association assisting people who have an intellectual disability and their families to lead the way in advancing inclusion in their own lives and in their communities.  As a province-wide confederation, we are a progressive leader in the Developmental Services Sector representing more than 12,000 people, families and over 100 member organizations.

About the Provincial Network on Developmental Disabilities

A network of provincial organizations coming together to work on issues of shared interest and consensus, and functioning as a vehicle for open communication, information sharing, and position and message development between the organizations and government representatives.

SOURCE OASIS – Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs