Today brought very welcome news for the Community Disability Services (CDS) sector. The Ministry of Seniors, Community and Social Services announced a $26 million increase in funding for the Community Disability Services sector; this includes $24 million towards increases in wages (a 10% increase), and an additional $2 million in funding to support indirect costs.
These are significant gains for the CDS sector. We are grateful for the sustained efforts of many who played a role in advocating for this funding, including service providers, staff, allies, and other disability worker advocates.
Informed by our ongoing research on the sector’s workforce, ACDS has long advocated for increased worker wages as part of the necessary actions to address the sector’s broader workforce crisis. In the last two years, as the pandemic exacerbated the sector’s chronic workforce issues, our evidence-informed advocacy has allowed us to articulate these issues continually and effectively to government, notably through the Service Provider Partnership Committee (SPPC).
Earlier this year, we were awarded funding for Project Blueprint CDS, a landmark initiative to allow ACDS to lead the development of a collaborative, evidence-based strategy to address the sector’s chronic human resource challenges and new pressures from the pandemic. The project’s newly finalised recommendations provide a suite of actions for immediate, short-term, mid-term, and long-term systemic attention.
In March, we released The Perfect Storm: Workforce Challenges and Escalating Costs in Community Disability Services, highlighting the combined effects of workforce issues and stagnant funding since 2014, and the impact of high inflation. The report has been central to our persistent advocacy related to indirect costs, as well as the advocacy by many others on this issue.
While today’s news is encouraging, there is much yet to ensure that the indirect costs gap and the wage gap are fully addressed. We are pleased that the government committed to further support at today’s announcement and to continued work with ACDS on these issues.
In the new year, we will begin working diligently on implementing the comprehensive suite of strategies articulated in Blueprint CDS: A Comprehensive Workforce Strategy for Community Disability Services to achieve a sustainable and thriving CDS sector.
We sincerely appreciate the advocacy of many service providers, staff, and other allies, who have been instrumental in helping to advance workforce and addressing other major issues impacting our sector.