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Bill 148 threatens service cuts to people with developmental disabilities

November 20, 2017

The provincial Liberal government’s Bill 148 – the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act – could have a devastating impact on services for people with developmental disabilities. Today in question period, Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece called on the Minister of Community and Social Services to protect them from her own government’s policies.

“Last spring the government introduced Bill 148, making drastic changes to employment and labour laws. They did no cost-benefit analysis,” said Pettapiece in his question. “And now, social service agencies face millions in new costs.”

Many social service agencies have publicly raised concerns, including OASIS (Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs), which represents over 200 member agencies across Ontario. As Critic for Community and Social Services, MPP Pettapiece has met with many heads of developmental services agencies and heard their concerns about the government’s legislation.

“The Minister is not listening to OASIS and its members,” asserted Pettapiece during today’s Question Period. “Many agencies have not seen a core funding increase in nine years [and] OASIS estimates Bill 148 will add at least $55.96 million in new costs.” He also pointed out that Community Living Toronto recently estimated a reduction in 80,000 service hours per year with 40+ full-time jobs cut.

In her response, Minister Helena Jaczek stated that she is “extremely aware” of the concerns raised by OASIS and other developmental services agencies. Yet, the minister offered no assurances that her ministry would address these extraordinary new costs.

Pettapiece expressed great frustration with the government’s lack of commitment.

“To say she is ‘aware’ of this problem just isn’t good enough”, noted Pettapiece. “People with developmental disabilities and their families deserve real action—not just empty words.”