Minister of Community & Social Services in Attendance

BY: Community Press staff
DATE: Monday, June 25, 2007

A33-CLC-OpeningCampbellford – On June 21, Madeleine Meilleur, the Minister of Community and Social Services attended the opening of a new group home that will house five women with developmental disabilities. The home was restored as a project by Community Living Campbellford/Brighton.

Meilleur also took the opportunity to speak about the provincial government’s investment of $3.3 million in base funding for the 48 developmental services agencies in Central Eastern Ontario. It is partially designed to close the wage gap between agency staff in this area and those working elsewhere in the province. “We are working hard to ensure that social services workers get paid a fair wage and people with a developmental disability and their families have the support they need,” the Minister said.

Chris Grayson, Executive Director of Community Living Campbellford/Brighton said that the wage gap was an issue for the agency, and he was glad to see the some balance and order restored to the sector. “Our staff here deserves to be paid as high as anybody else in this province,” Grayson said.Meilleur said her background as a nurse working in delivery rooms allowed her to see first hand the challenges that parents of disabled children dealt with. “They were so concerned about what was going to happen to their loved one,” Meilleur said. “When I visit these group homes that we have across the province, with such a caring group of people working with them, it’s very reassuring.” She said for parents caring for children with disabilities who are themselves getting old, the homes provide support and help for them as well. “If you’re not able to look after them, there are these good people, these good organizations like Community Living who are taking care of them.”

Dianne Garrels-Munro, Ontario president of Community Living, said the agency’s long term goal to bring the disabled out of institutions and reintegrate them back into communities is now being realised in group home projects such as this one. “We have pursued the full participation, inclusion and citizenship of people who have an intellectual disability in our society,” Garrels-Munro said. “In order for this to happen, people do have to come home. All people deserve to live in and belong to a community. This is the vision that inspires and drives the Community Living movement.” She was applauded when she announced that, “This work began more than 30 years ago and in 2004, this government confirmed if would close the three remaining institutions in the province by 2009, effectively ending the era of institutionalization in our province.”

MPP Lou Rinaldi is the Honorary Chair of Fundraising for Community Living Campbellford/Brighton. Rinaldi said, “I truly believe that we all belong to the same community. We all deserve the same services, we all deserve to walk the same sidewalks, go to the same churches, go to the same grocery store. There’s really no difference between any of us.”