Province steps back on disability services cuts
Chandra Lye, CTV Edmonton
Published Saturday, May 18, 2013 4:31PM MDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 18, 2013 6:23PM MDT
It appears the province will be reviewing funding for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) after hundreds protested the cuts at the Legislature on Wednesday.
One of the protest organizers said that several groups across the province received letters from the government on Friday.
“Basically saying that the allocations that were sent out originally with some large amounts of cuts have been stopped and that they will be looking at the provincial allocations again and sending out information again by the beginning of June,” Rayan Geake explained.
“In simple terms it means that it looks like the cuts they made were larger than they are planning now and they are going to identify a smaller amount.”
Geake said many consider the news a small victory after concerns about changes to day programs and residential services the cuts might bring.
“We were looking at laying off lots and lots of staff on the organization side and people probably not being able to stay in the kinds of residential models that have worked for them.”
“They are going to end up living in the street or maybe, if they are lucky, in a hospital bed but we all known that psychiatric beds are scarce as hen’s teeth,” Joan Bowes, a retired community health nurse stated during Wednesday’s event.
“These cuts are hurting us. It’s not helping us,” Marlene Paisley told CTV News at the rally.
“It’s putting us backwards and we want to go forward in life,” she added.
The Minister for Services for PDD said money would still be available.
“They don't know that we're going to bring supports over from the human services side of the budget and as I said in the house if I need additional support I'll ask for it,” Frank Oberle explained at the legislature earlier in the week.
“If you need services you will get services and I'm not at all afraid of making that commitment.”
Geake explained that he hoped progress made by those living with disabilities will not diminish.
“I think people have worked really hard on feeling proud to be who they are as disabled citizens.
“We don’t want people back in basements hidden away, we want them to be visible,” he said.
With files from Amanda Anderson