WYNNE/COTEAU: STOP IMPOSING LIFE ALTERING VALUES ON THOSE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES.
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The dismantling of the Community Living Day Programs, and the Closing of the Sheltered Workshops, was done by KATHLEEN WYNN, the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and Community Living without consulting the clients or families who actually use these services.
The Wynne ministry made a province wide blanket decision to close all sheltered workshops – and now the day programs in the community living buildings (day centers) are also being dismantled? While there was some warning that the sheltered workshops would be closing, parents, clients, and their families were never told that the day programs would also be dismantled. Now it is being done out of our awareness and we have been left out of this decision-making process.
The move away from sheltered day programs and toward a “fee for service” program will now force families to pay up to $33 per hour to hire a support worker to attend activities in community living buildings – see Guelph Wellington Community Living Passport funding page. This will cost families up to $50,000 per year to keep their adult children in activities from Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm.
In Fergus, most of the building has now been rented out to another community organization. We had no idea our adult children had lost their cooking, learning, skill building, gathering, and recreational space. Clients are now to be spending most of their time out in the community; something we refer to as "forced inclusion." Something that is very stressful for this cohort.
In our opinion, some of the decisions imposed on our adult children with intellectual disabilities, by the ministry and community living have…
o Infringed on our adult children's right to decide how much time they spend in the neuro-typical community and where they volunteer, interact, and work.
o Forced our adult children to be treated as neuro-typical adults when they may be non-verbal and/or have primary/elementary school cognitive abilities . This is stressful on these clients and allows the values of neuro-typical adults to be imposed upon them. For example, the former minister of community and social services, Helena Jaczek stated that adults with intellectual disabilities were doing “menial tasks” in the sheltered workshops. However, our children loved their tasks, took great pride in their work, and they also enjoyed the in-house day programs. The Ministry decided they knew what was best for our adult children and what was meaningful to them.
o Taken away meaningful activities, recreation, relationships, and JOBS for this cohort of citizens.
FROM A COMMUNITY/BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE
Many clients had employment in our community, but the majority of them needed to have a support worker with them. These support workers are no longer allowed to go out into the community to assist clients when they work. Clients must be able to work “independently” – thus many have lost their paid employment, because BUSINESS OWNERS do not have the specialized training to supervise these clients with their physical and emotional needs when on the job.
One local business owner, where at least 6 community living clients have worked for the past number of years, states,
o "We used to see any or all of them [clients] anywhere from 1 to 5 days a week. They would walk downtown [from the community living centre] on their lunch or on their way home and stop in to tell us about what they did that day or that week. There was much excitement in their voice and body language no matter whether it was taking computers apart, baking or cooking for the cafe, yoga, etc. Now we are lucky to see one client once every few months, and she is depressed and has nothing to say.... "Luckily we still see one client once a week when she comes to work, which we know is the highlight of her day."
o If some of our adult children are capable of working unsupervised and earning a fair wage, we whole heartedly support these new initiatives.
o However, we do not support the "FORCED INCLUSION" policy and the taking away of meaningful work from these citizens.
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