We understand that the Province of Manitoba needs to be an effective steward of public resources. We also understand that spending on these services has increased substantially over recent years to meet increasing needs and demand. In short, we understand that sustainability is a key issue.
But we also believe that true sustainability can only responsibly be achieved through a comprehensive and inclusive process. Effective planning also needs to be evidenced-based with accurate information made accessible to all affected stakeholder groups.
Without a strong sustainability plan, we believe substantial short-term changes may result in unnecessary risk and reductions to the quality, scope and viability of services currently available to Manitobans with intellectual disabilities.
Abilities Manitoba believes that the Ministry of Families wants to do what is right and responsible. We have set out five basic steps the Minister can commit to that we believe will achieve a better and more sustainable future.
1. Establish an inclusive planning process to ensure the long-term sustainability of services upon which so many now depend.
2. Ensure that planning fully incorporates the voices and views of persons with intellectual disabilities, their families, as well as service agencies, their employees and the public.
3. Provide immediate support to those agencies already facing serious financial challenges in maintaining basic services.
4. Take measures needed to provide reasonable wages for agency employees.
5. Ensure that other funding decisions made in the short term do not diminish the quality, scope and viability of current services.