Here are stories from people who have an intellectual or developmental disability and their families. They illustrate the challenges that exist in the Developmental Services sector.
Waiting for Passport funding since 2015
“I’m poor,” says Yvonne Spicer, regarding what she sees as ongoing governmental failure to provide adequate income support for people who have an intellectual disability.
“I don’t have that much money coming in. I can’t even buy clothes for myself. I can’t afford groceries. I can’t afford anything.”
“It makes me feel that I’m not providing for myself very well.”
The Milton resident wants all candidates to know how critical it is that the Developmental Services sector receives needed attention and a plan of action.
“These parties,” she adds, “even though [they] say this, they say that—how do you trust them? I’m still waiting for Passport funding, and I’ve been on the list since 2015.”
“Who knows when I’ll be able to do things? Right now I can’t do much of anything.”
Yvonne does have a job as a lunchroom supervisor at a local school, but that is only for one hour per day.
As part of its 2018 Budget, the Government of Ontario has announced that people who are eligible for Passport will be receiving a minimum of $5,000 a year, beginning in 2018.
Monthly funding from the Ontario Disability Support Program, which was raised by 2% last September to a maximum of $1,151, is intended for housing and basic needs, like groceries. The government plans to raise the limit by 3% in each of the next three years.
Yvonne believes the limit needs to be higher if people are going to get out of poverty.
“That’s not right! There’s more to life than your rent and food,” she states. “If people are driving, then they need money for gas [and insurance] …it makes it hard, every day, for people to get that coverage.”
She also wants to see OHIP+, which launched this year and makes prescription medications free for people aged 25 and under, expanded to include everyone in the province, along with coverage for vital services like dental care, massage therapy, and chiropractic work.
“I want to work,” she clarifies, stating she has no desire to live off the system forever. “No employer is, right now, hiring me…I really need more money coming in to cover my expenses—I have so much debt to my name, I can’t get out!”