SERVICES FOR THE
Dev Services in the Legislature yesterday - McMeekin in Hansard
Mr. Bill Mauro: Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community and Social Services. In my riding of Thunder Bay–Atikokan, both my constituency offices, actually—the one in Thunder Bay and the one in Atikokan—prove to me to be the best vehicle through which I get information relative to the concerns of the people in my communities and the constituents I represent. I’d say it’s probably the case for most of the members here.
One of the issues that I have consistently heard about from my constituents in Thunder Bay–Atikokan is in regard to the supports and the programming, the services and the financial investments that we made when it comes to people with developmental disabilities and their families. Minister, I’m just wondering if you can recount to the Legislature what we’ve done since being elected in 2003.
Hon. Ted McMeekin: I appreciate the member’s question, and given it’s clearly coming from a place of caring, I will respond as best I can. Our government remains strongly committed to assisting folk in this sector. Last year, our government invested some $1.7 billion on developmental services, an increase of over half a billion dollars since 2003. It’s important to note that 98% of that funding goes directly to services.
The answer to the member’s question: Our 2013 budget proposes to add 42.5 million additional dollars a year for developmental services, and we estimate that this will help some 1,104 families with various supports. With this new investment, our government will have invested $620 million more; that’s a 63% increase since 2003. We’ve got some tough work ahead, but we’re committed to getting the job done.
Mr. Bill Mauro: I want to thank the minister for that response. I know that my constituents and most of the constituents across the province will be very proud of what we’ve managed to do when it comes to that sector.
I will say, though, however, that the $42 million, of course, that you’ve just mentioned as being included in this year’s budget is going to require the passing of the budget for that $42 million to flow. I know my constituents are very interested and hopeful that both of the opposition parties will find the capacity to, first, read the budget and, second, support the budget.
Speaker, through you to the minister: once again, can you define for me, please, what that $42 million—should we get the budget passed—will be used for to support people with developmental disabilities not only in my riding of Thunder Bay–Atikokan but right across the province?
Hon. Ted McMeekin: Mr. Speaker, those investment dollars will support a wide range of supports that are needed. Like the member, I’m obviously hopeful that the budget will pass. We hear a lot of concern about this sector from all parties in this House, and we do need to move ahead with this; the quickest way to do that is through the budget.
I just want to emphasize that this is new money. It’s money that’s badly needed. There’s much more to be done, of course, and we’ll continue to work with Ontario’s developmental services sector, families and others to make sure that we have a more fair and sustainable system.