OASIS representatives continue to have a very strong voice for provincial issues in the Developmental Sector. The OASIS Labour Relations Committee has continued to be the lead for the Employer’s group involved in the recent Workforce Stability discussions. The Workforce Stability group is comprised of representation from the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Unions and Developmental Services Employers. Despite best efforts, there have been many areas of confusion and/or disagreement since the discussions concluded in December in regards to the announced System Capacity Investment toward wages. OASIS representatives continue to be involved in discussions with the Ministry to ensure clarity and consistency.
February was a very busy month for OASIS with representation and submissions to the government for the Provincial Budget Consultation and in response to the proposed Ontario Pension Plan. Currently most OASIS member agency employees are enrolled in Defined Contribution Plans, where the contribution rate is on average 3% employee/3% employer or greater. During the 2014 Ontario general election, it was understood that the proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) would be mandatory except for “those already enrolled in workplace pension plans”. However, an ensuing consultation paper has stated the preferred option is not to provide an exemption for Defined Contribution Plans, group RRSPs or pooled registered pension plans. If this is the case, DS agencies cannot afford this additional, unexpected cost in the form of mandatory participation in the ORPP.
The OASIS messages to the Government for the Provincial Budget Consultation on how to improve services for Ontario’s most vulnerable are:
1. Ensure increased funding is used to implement programs that fit a long-term developmental
2. Work with agencies to form an inter-ministerial committee on developmental services.
3. Divest the Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia and other decommissioned properties and reinvest the proceeds directly to relieving pressure on waitlists.
Jane Joris, who will be stepping down as Past President of OASIS but remaining on the LCDS Board of Directors agreed to have her name submitted as a candidate for the Developmental Services Advisory Group representing LCDS.
At this time, LCDS would like to thank Jane for her nine year commitment and dedication to the OASIS Board. Her participation in and voice at this provincial table has been invaluable to LCDS and the Developmental Sector as a whole. LCDS will continue to support Wilma Arthurs on the Board, thereby ensuring that LCDS stays involved in all of the exceptional work that OASIS does provincially.