QUEEN’S PARK — During Monday’s question period, Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky, the NDP Official Opposition critic for Community and Social Services, asked the Ford government why it is spending $1 million to hire a consultant to help it cut even more funding from supports for people with developmental disabilities.
Gretzky also asked why the winner of that million-dollar contract was instructed not to consult with people with disabilities, their families or their advocates — terms reported by the Canadian Press.
“For people living with disabilities, especially developmental disabilities like autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and FASD — who rely on crucial care and support from the government — the Ford government’s $1-billion budget cut to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services was a slap in the face,” Gretzky said.
“People with disabilities were already let down by 15 years of underfunding and neglect under the Liberals. Now, we’ve learned that the Ford Conservatives will pay up to $1 million to hire a ‘consultant’ to tell them how to deliver their deep cuts — and specifically, how to axe programs that support those with developmental disabilities.”
Among the programs Ford is eyeing for cuts are respite care, day programs and in-home caregivers — crucial supports for which many families remain on years-long waitlists. The tender for bids on that contract directed the contract winner not to consult with anyone outside Ford’s own ministry — excluding people with disabilities or their families or advocates.
“Families with a loved one with a developmental disability are worried sick about what these drastic cuts could mean,” said Gretzky. “Support service providers are worried too. It’s been seven months since the start of the fiscal year, and agencies in the developmental services sector still don’t have their annualized budgets. Frontline workers are still being kept in the dark by the Ford government regarding the future of their funding.”
“Ford’s drastic cuts to people with disabilities is inexcusable; people with disabilities and their families deserve a government that invests in programs that support them.”