ABOUT ABILITIES MANITOBA
Abilities Manitoba is a network of agencies that exists to foster excellence in services for people with intellectual disabilities.
Together we can create a province where all Manitobans value the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities, and the partnerships between communities, governments, families, and the agencies that support them.
To promote the interests of Manitobans with intellectual disabilities and the supports necessary to realize their chosen lives in their community.
To act as a provincial body on behalf of members, promote member concerns to government, and represent members to relevant planning bodies.
To strive for optimum service standards, advocate for the resources necessary to achieve those standards, and promote a shared code of ethics for all members.
To facilitate the sharing of information and resources, both between members and with other interested parties.
Community Participation: We need community participation to make inclusion, choice, and respect for all people a reality.
Respect: The people we support are deserving of qualified staff. Member agencies must comply with all pertinent legislation such as the Vulnerable Persons Act, Human Rights, and all others to ensure all persons are treated equitably.
Human Rights: We promote the interests, rights, and freedoms of supported individuals in member agencies.
Transparency: Member agencies will be respectful of and accountable to the people they serve, employees, funders/government, and the community at large.
Not-For-Profit: Services provided to the people we support will be not-for-profit.
Natural Supports: We recognize the value and contribution of natural supports for people with intellectual disabilities.
We understand that the Province of Manitoba needs to be an effective steward of public resources. We also understand that spending on these services has increased substantially over recent years to meet increasing needs and demand. In short, we understand that sustainability is a key issue.
But we also believe that true sustainability can only responsibly be achieved through a comprehensive and inclusive process. Effective planning also needs to be evidenced-based with accurate information made accessible to all affected stakeholder groups.
Without a strong sustainability plan, we believe substantial short-term changes may result in unnecessary risk and reductions to the quality, scope and viability of services currently available to Manitobans with intellectual disabilities.
Abilities Manitoba believes that the Ministry of Families wants to do what is right and responsible. We have set out five basic steps the Minister can commit to that we believe will achieve a better and more sustainable future.
- Establish an inclusive planning process to ensure the long-term sustainability of services upon which so many now depend.
- Ensure that planning fully incorporates the voices and views of persons with intellectual disabilities, their families, as well as service agencies, their employees and the public.
- Provide immediate support to those agencies already facing serious financial challenges in maintaining basic services.
- Take measures needed to provide reasonable wages for agency employees.
- Ensure that other funding decisions made in the short term do not diminish the quality, scope and viability of current services.
We believe that planning needs to be based on basic principles. These principles will need to be fully consistent with:
- Principles and values set out in The Vulnerable Persons Living with Disabilities Act (VPA)
- Principles in the new Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA)
- The obligations established in the recent United Nations (CRPD)
The recent comprehensive system planning process in Nova Scotia set out what we believe are strong basic principles. We have adapted these and believe the following provide a working basis for the AC process.
- Home and Community Oriented
- Socially Inclusive
We refer to these as working principles in that our hope is that they can be refined over the coming months so that they provide the basis for long term planning.
When we talk about better outcomes, we are seeking fair wages for disability support staff, improved training and a quality assurance framework.
When we talk about better access, we specifically mean better access to services and are seeking to address wait times, system coordination and cost of living increases for agencies.
When we talk about better inclusion, we mean a stronger emphasis on person centred supports. This relates to an increased focus on relationships and community connections as well as continued work on the Accessibility for Manitobans Act, employment for people with disabilities and a dignified income.