It’s Not Coal, but Disability Support Workers Will Not Be Getting Any Gifts This Christmas

PRESS RELEASE

It’s Not Coal, but Disability Support Workers Will Not Be Getting Any Gifts This Christmas

(MANITOBA, December 19, 2014) Low staff wages mean significant risk to our most vulnerable citizens ,  adults living with intellectual disabilities, through high staff turnover, staff shortages and difficulty recruiting workers with relevant knowledge and skills.

“My son is vulnerable and depends on Disability Support Workers for all of his care, including bathing, meal preparation, and helping him to participate in the community. This is not a job that just anyone can do. It takes skill, compassion and dedication,” said Arlene Bodnar.

The Province’s Wage Enhancement Fund, announced in August, was a good first step but it’s not nearly enough to resolve the wages crisis. Today’s announcement by the Province on the Wage Enhancement Fund roll-out confirms the measures are inadequate.

“Collectively, we are very disappointed in this band-aid solution. We have made it clear to the Minister of Family Services that we need a comprehensive plan to provide a professional wage for this industry,” said Malinda Roberts, President of Abilities Manitoba. Respite, independent living and day services staff are excluded from the Wage Enhancement Fund.

“Disability Support Workers are responsible for ensuring personal safety, medical care, personal care, nutrition, recreation and support to build bridges and form connections in their community. It is a skilled job that is way undervalued. The Minister of Manitoba Family Services needs to rectify this unacceptable situation with the introduction of professional and equitable wages for all Disability Support Workers,”  said Roberts.