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