Saturday, 28 September 2013

Developmental Services Lobby Day ..............WE CAN AFFORD TO CARE


Developmental Services Lobby Day :
  We traveled to Queens Park in two school buses prepared to show the government WE CAN AFFORD TO CARE and we no longer can afford not to. Upon our arrival we were greeted by a large group of family members, who had come to show support and speak on the crisis and how it is affecting their families. The day began with the Chair of OPSEU Developmental Services, Patti Markland, delivering a very inspiring speech reminding all of us that WE CAN AFFORD TO CARE in this province. She then encouraged the families to tell their stories. The bravery of these families to stand up in a room full of strangers and share with us their stories was amazing and very moving. Family member after family member approached the microphone and in the end there was not a dry eye in the room. These stories needed to be told and were validated by the compassion in the room. There were videos made by Operation Maple and OPSEU: Family members, direct care givers and MPPs all took part in these videos.

   Warren (Smokey) Thomas addressed the room and as he was speaking the Minister of Community and Social Services came into the room. Smokey introduced Minister Ted McMeekin who acknowledged the importance of the need for changes to occur in Developmental Services. Many MPPs committed to taking the issues in developmental services to the legislature. Many also agreed to vote yes on a committee to address the issues in the sector. MPPs and/or representatives from all parties came to the lobby: A very unusual occurrence. Attendance at the Lobby Day included 30 plus MPPs, numerous Queens Park staff, over two dozen family members, and close to 100 direct care providers. This level of attendance has completely acknowledged and solidified the immediate importance of implementing a plan that will begin to tackle the Developmental Services crisis. This lobby could not have been as successful as it was without the hard work of the OPSEU staff, OPSEU members and most importantly the openness of families to share their stories. Thank you to all who made this day truly inspiring.

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