TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On June 24, CUPE Ontario celebrates Developmental Service Worker Appreciation Day — a day dedicated to recognizing the crucial work done by workers who support people with developmental disabilities.
“Workers in developmental services are truly unsung heroes during the pandemic and year-round,” says Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario and former worker in this sector. “People with developmental disabilities and the workers who support them feel invisible, especially now during COVID-19. They all deserve better. Together we must fight for a better Ontario, an Ontario that is more inclusive and accessible for all.”
Workers have reported a number of issues that keep them from providing the best possible services to the people they support. These issues include: lack of adequate PPE; precarious, part-time jobs; growing rates of burnout and fatigue due to long hours and stretches of work; poor living conditions in assisted living residences; low and stagnant wages that make it hard to recruit and retain staff; and a growing disconnect between government, administrators, and frontline workers in developmental services.
“Ford has completely forgotten about people with intellectual disabilities in his pandemic response and recovery plan. The issues in this sector have peaked during the pandemic and the Premier must act now to support workers and people with developmental disabilities,” continued Hahn. “Ford’s Conservatives say that non-medical PPE, including fabric face masks, are acceptable in assisted living communities. Of course, this is completely unacceptable, because this sort of PPE doesn’t prevent the spread of COVID-19 either among workers or supported individuals in congregate care settings.”
CUPE Ontario recently unveiled a new campaign titled “Include Us: Developmental Services Demand Inclusion” that aims to shine a vivid light on the issues facing workers in developmental services.
“Days like Developmental Service Worker Appreciation Day are about more than just acknowledging workers,” said Hahn. “Today is about us re-affirming our commitment to the fight for inclusion and accessibility.”