Alberta Budget: Your Input in Support of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities & Their Families Needed
Please go to Alberta Government Budget Input by February 3, 2017 to provide your input online. If families, individuals with developmental disabilities and their allies do not add their voice to the many others interested in impacting government’s fiscal agenda, then the disability community can likely anticipate another tepid response from government, resulting in individuals with developmental disabilities and their families falling further behind in needed supports and resources.
There is no survey to complete or questions to answers. We offer the following as general comments for you to consider.
This government needs to hear from those who know our province stands to gain immeasurably from ensuring children and adults with developmental disabilities, and their families, have access to the supports and resources that enable them to live meaningful and inclusive lives. In the 2016-2017 budget the government added some funding for supports for children and adults with disabilities but an insufficient amount to keep pace with either demand, need or rising ‘cost-of-living’.
While we are all aware of the province’s economic challenges, the government has still regularly announced and funded new initiatives. This has not been the case with respect to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The government should be commended for having halted a number of previously existing or proposed policies (e.g., the use of Supports Intensity Scale (SIS), the Safety Standards and unnecessary tendering of services), but this is not the same as having, and investing, in a plan to advance the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities. The government has implemented multiple plans to reorganize its systems relative to individuals with disabilities, but has yet to articulate, implement and begin to fund a plan that would make a fundamental difference on the ground in peoples’ homes and communities.
Without a plan, and one generated in collaboration with the developmental disabilities community, then individuals with developmental disabilities and their families are likely to get shortchanged in the forthcoming budget considerations. A forward thinking, progressive action plan would more readily ensure under the current economic constraints future investments, however limited for the moment, could be invested in making a substantial difference over the longer term.
Please consider recommending to government that its 2017-2018 budget take into account the following:
- It must engage the developmental disability community in developing a vision and plan for an inclusive Alberta where individuals with developmental disabilities and their families have every opportunity for a life comparable to those without disabilities.
- Sufficient funds in the forthcoming budget must be allocated to enable this plan to move forward and increasingly so as the province’s financial picture improves. Investing in individuals with developmental disabilities and their families will more significantly improve Alberta’s economy than the cost of the investment.
- Families must be properly supported so that those who choose to do so can participate in the economy to the advantage of their family and all Albertans.
- Individuals with the developmental disabilities must have access to increasing inclusive post-secondary education and employment opportunities, which will reduce social assistance costs and improve business productivity for all.
- Support staff must have access to post-secondary education and training, and appropriate remuneration so as to enable individual and family goals of self-sufficiency and sustainability to be achieved.
Thank you for considering this perspective.
Please go to Alberta Government Budget Input by February 3, 2017 to provide your input online.
Chief Executive Officer – Inclusion Alberta