Jobs don’t undermine services

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LETTERS/OPINION:

Jobs don’t undermine services

Doug Woollard / Richmond News
November 13, 2013

The Editor Re: “A little goes a little way,” Editorial, Oct. 11.

Your Oct. 11 editorial rightfully commends businesses that are creating inclusive employment opportunities for adults with developmental and other disabilities in B.C. and Canada.

At the same time, you wonder if a concerted effort to find more jobs for this population will excuse the government from its responsibilities and justify cuts to social services.

Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) is responsible for delivering support and services to over 15,000 adults with developmental disabilities, autism and FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) each year on behalf of the provincial government.

Many of the people we serve want to work and are able to work. Many others do not and cannot. I want to assure your readers that we respond to both.

Like you, we commend inclusive employers who are hiring people with diverse abilities. CLBC is investing directly to increase the number of these employment opportunities through a comprehensive Community Action Employment Plan. Our goal is to create 1,200 jobs over the next three years for the people we serve.

We believe hiring a person with a disability should be good for a company’s bottom line – just as hiring any other person would be.

However, these efforts pose no threat to service levels for people with developmental disabilities who are not able to work. In fact, the opposite is true, as service levels are increasing.

Last year, CLBC provided more services to more eligible British Columbians than ever before.

Over the past year, the number of people we serve has increased and we delivered $37.4 million in new supports for families and individuals in all regions of the province.

We are planning for a similar level of new service provision in 2013/14.

It is important to recognize – as you did in the editorial – that more needs to be done despite these successes.

CLBC is committed to working with families, self-advocates, employers, other government agencies, service providers and community organizations across the province to ensure our services are more responsive to the needs of the people we serve.

Thank you for your interest in this issue and for recognizing inclusive employers.

Doug Woollard Interim CEO Community Living B.C.

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