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Budget delivers less than Community Living hoped for

While there was a push to increase funding for developmental services by 5 per cent, the provincial increase was 2 per cent this year
Queens Park, Toronto (File)

After asking for a five per cent increase in funding, Community Living isn't getting the boost it was looking for.

The 2024 budget includes a two per cent increase for Community Living Ontario, less than the five per cent it was lobbying for. There's also an additional $114 million for the Passport program that helps adults with developmental disabilities work, volunteer, take classes, and participate in their community.

Community Living Timmins offers support services to over 200 individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families. It has operated for nearly 65 years. 

The estimated operating budget for this year is $5.6 million. The organization employs over 100 full-time, part-time, and casual employees and operates six group homes, along with other services. 

So far, the local office does not know what the funding announcement will look like on the ground. 

Earlier this year, Community Living Timmins was part of the #5toSurvive campaign, which called on the province to increase the core funding for developmental services agencies by five per cent, as well increase funding for the Passport and Special Services at Home.

In March, Community Living Timmins executive director Johanne Rondeau told TimminsToday that without the five per cent being asked for, programming could be cut.

“We’ve cut some much in the past. We’ve cut management positions, we’ve cut lead hand positions, we’ve never touched programs,” said Rondeau during an interview in March. “We’ve got to the point where we can’t cut anymore.”

RELATED: Community Living Timmins pushing for funding boost

Since 2017-18, a Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services spokesperson said the funding for developmental services has increased by $1 billion.

“This investment will enable continuing support of people currently in service, and those who are high-risk and are entering service,” reads an email from the ministry.

The #5toSurvive campaign drew attention to the need for operational funding in Community Living organizations across the province and the impact of price increases on transportation, utilities, food, and other essential services.

The petition for more funding reached its goal of 10,000 signatures and it’s still active online on the Community Living Ontario website

Amanda Rabski-McColl, LJI Reporter

About the Author: Amanda Rabski-McColl, LJI Reporter

Amanda Rabski-McColl is a Diversity Reporter under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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