Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

June 09, 2008 09:37 ET

OPSEU: Children With Disabilities Take the Hit as KidsAbility Lays Off Child Treatment Staff

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 9, 2008) - Children struggling with disabilities will be the victims of staff layoffs at a children's treatment centre serving Waterloo Region, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.

KidsAbility will issue layoff notices to eight staff today. Therapy Aides, Communicative Disorders Assistants, and Psychometrists will lose their jobs. This will cut services and increase wait times for children with cerebral palsy, autism, speech difficulties, motor skill problems, and other developmental delays.

I really don't know what will happen to those kids," says psychometrist Wilma Veenhof, who loses her job July 31. "From my perspective, the ones who will be hardest hit are the children awaiting a diagnosis of autism. Children with autism can only access funding for recommended Intensive Behavioural Intervention therapy once they have a diagnosis."

The cuts, which will wipe out the Psychology Department at KidsAbility, mean that a three-year wait list for psychological assessments can only get worse, said Veenhof.

The cuts come just weeks after the McGuinty government's budget froze funding for children's treatment for the current year.

"The cuts at KidsAbility are a slap in the face to children with disabilities who are crying out for our help," said OPSEU staff representative Neil Fraser. "We said two months ago that the funding freeze would be paid for with layoffs and service cuts to children, and now it's happening.

"We are calling on the Minister of Children and Youth Services to step up to the plate and deliver stable, adequate funding to these services and these kids."

Contact Information

    Neil Fraser
    (289) 260-3520 (cell)