Ontario must face the challenges created by growing waiting lists for individuals with disabilities. There are currently over 19,000 Ontarians waiting for support and services from the provinces’ developmental services sector. An increasing number of young people with a developmental disability who are leaving school and older individuals living with aging caregiver parents will be placing an increased strain on the system.

Since 2008, the waiting list for the Special Services at Home (SSAH) program has grown from zero to more than 7,000 people. In a random sampling of ridings across Ontario, it was made clear that over 1,450 parents over the age of 70 continue to act as the source of primary care for their dependent adult child or family member. The work that OASIS agencies do advocating for and supporting these individuals with disabilities and their families is incredibly important for the overall well-being of our communities.

Ontario must take action to broaden the supports and services of the developmental services sector and encourage new initiatives to ensure the long-term financial stability of the sector. OASIS-member agencies cannot continue to offer the necessary supports and services if they are not adequately supported by the government. This support must include the opportunity for longer-term financial planning.

To meet the growing challenge, OASIS is seeking a 2% budget increase. This funding will help sustain the quantity and quality of services in our communities. To meet the demand for a growing need, OASIS is also seeking an additional $60 million increase to local agencies to offer the needed care in Ontario’s communities. With this additional funding, Ontarians will experience a significant expansion in service. This funding could see up to 5,000 Ontarians removed from waiting lists and provided with the services they need.

The needs for these services are growing. It is only with the support of the Ontario government that OASIS and the larger developmental services sector can continue to foster strong and healthy communities.