Critical Time for Services to Manitobans with Intellectual Disabilities

Manitoba Family Services is the provincial department responsible for managing and funding the service system that supports adults with intellectual disabilities. Starting in 2012, the department began work to redevelop this service system.

Initially, the emphasis of redevelopment was to strengthen services to better supports while ensuring the financial sustainability. Since the fall of 2013, the emphasis seems to have turned to cost containment.

This is very concerning.

The safety, quality of life and very well-being of thousands of Manitobans with intellectual disabilities currently depend on these services. Indeed, the service system developed over the past decade has become a fundamental part of our basic social safety net.

While all Manitobans can be proud of the progress achieved to date, this essential service system has become increasingly complex and remains all too fragile.

• There are substantial inequities in funding arrangements among agencies and even differences in funding to provide similar services to participants being served by the same agency.
• Several of these agencies are under extreme financial stress and are struggling to remain solvent.
• Disability support workers among all agencies remain one of the lowest paid human services workforces in Manitoba making it difficult to recruit and retain qualified staff.