CBC News Stories June 2015

Non-profit agencies in Manitoba have been pressing the provincial government for years to increase funding so they can pay higher wages and attract or retain staff.


Former Government Manager Criticizes Family Services   CBC June 2, 2015


Non-profits that care for clients with disabilities say they’re in crisis –  CBC Report June 1, 2015


 InfoGraphic on Expectations of Direct Support Worker   CBC June 1, 2015


Abilities Manitoba Position on the Stories

Many of us cringed when the media quoted “(agencies) have been forced to hire untrained or incompetent staff due to an inability to compete with other employers at current funding levels.”   Abilities Manitoba does not believe that our thousands of employees are incompetent. 

 Due to the low wages currently offered in our sector it is challenging to hire people from the outset who are trained and experienced in our sector.  There are also examples where the pool of potential staff is slim to non-existent due to wages offered by other industries.  However, this does not equate to incompetence. We know agencies spend incredible time and resources providing training to ensure staff are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills. 

 We also want to recognize and commend all the Direct Support Professionals who provide such critical and high quality supports throughout the province. We honour those, who despite low wages, continue to provide continuity and help ensure a good quality of life for adults with intellectual disabilities. We recognize the value of the work you do and want you to know that wages and training are high priorities for Abilities Manitoba.

 Minister Irvin-Ross was quoted as saying “One of the issues we need to talk about in the rural areas: amalgamation.” This too raised some concerns with member agencies.  Abilities Manitoba recognizes the value and diversity that the member agencies offer throughout the province. Diversity in missions and services means that individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families have choices.  Our member agencies are of varying size and structure and we are in support of the diversity this offers Manitoba. We will endeavour seek clarification from the Minister on this comment at our meeting on June 16th.

 Though we may not agree with all messages being sent through the media, the fact the issue is getting out to the public is a great success. It starts a dialogue where one did not exist before. We appreciate the efforts of Westman Parkland Network in creating a forum for these discussions. We are discussing launching a public awareness campaign in the near future and see this media coverage as an opportunity to build momentum.

 Also note that though I have been contacted twice by CBC and provided comments in keeping with our messages above, the content was not aired.  We have not been silent on the issues.     Jennifer Hagedorn, President


Abilities Manitoba Hires an Executive Director!!


A historic moment for Abilities Manitoba! In March 2015, we hired Margo Powell to assume the responsibilities of Executive Director.

Margo began working in the disability sector in the early 1990’s. She has worked for small and large community organizations both in Winnipeg and rurally. Her experience also includes running a provincial organization.

Margo is a proud alumni of the Disability and Community Support Program at RRC and has her degree in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies from the University of Calgary. Her experience also includes teaching the Foundations Course for RRC and sitting on the original Staffing Stabilization Committee. She was also the community representative on the MDC transition team 10 years ago and has taught Vulnerable Person’s Act training. Margo is passionate about inclusion, equality, community living and quality of life.

To reach Margo 204 890 6751 or margo@abilitiesmanitoba.org


Annual General Meeting

2015 Abilities MB AGM  The theme for the AGM this year is “Moving Forward Together”.  We are hosting a dinner on the evening of April 22nd  for our members and Minister Irvin-Ross will be attending the cocktail hour at the beginning.  This evening is a great opportunity to network, share resources, and have some good conversation with colleagues – there is always very positive feedback from those that attend.  The actual AGM will be from 1-2 on April 23rd – more program details will follow.  Email events@abilitiesmanitoba.org to register!


Meetings for the new fiscal year 2015/2016 have not yet been set.  We will post them as soon as we have them.

Signed and Sealed – Yet to be Delivered

All three of the NDP leadership candidates have now responded to the joint Abilities Manitoba/Barrier-Free Manitoba  request for their positions on key disability issues.

While we all know that commitments made during an election can be different from action after, this is a remarkable development:

  • Disabilities are the only major public issue that all three candidates have addressed in their campaigns so far.
  • Like the candidates themselves, their responses are quite different but all three have committed, if elected, to the full and timely implementation of the landmark Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA).
  • All three candidates also made important commitments on related disability issues.
  • One of the three candidates will be the Premier of Manitoba after March 8.

This is good news indeed.

The even better news is that Manitoba’s disability communities worked together once again to make this happen. We’ve proven once more that there is real strength in numbers and in collective action.

We urge you to share the candidates responses with others you know who are concerned about disabilities. As the contest is for the NDP leadership, we also strongly encourage you to share them with people you know who may be party members and ask them to consider the candidates positions in deciding who they support in the leadership race.

Once the leader has been elected, we will need to continue to work together to ensure the leader and the government fulfill the promises that have been made. And we will need to work together yet again to ensure that disability issues are key priorities in the general election scheduled for next spring.

Thank you for your incredible support.