EDITORIAL: Ottawa’s policy change a concern

It’s easy for federal officials not to panic as it’s not them facing uncertainty.

Independent Living Vernon, which provides a range of services to the disabled, has been told that guaranteed core funding is disappearing and it will have to apply and go up against other groups and businesses across Canada for a dedicated pot of cash.

“Organizations with strong and established connections to Canadians with disabilities will be well-positioned when competing for funding in the future,” states an e-mail from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

So ILV may get money, but then again it may not. And even if there is a cheque, it may not be the $53,500 that makes up 25 per cent of its total annual budget.

Not willing to take any chances, the agency, which has served the region since 1993, is already cutting back. Staff has lost hours and part of the office has been handed over to another group. That means there are already fewer resources available for the disabled, whether it is employment planning, crisis intervention, helping clients access government tax credits or lending support to someone who is newly disabled.

HRSDC states the new funding model is focused on spending transparency, leveraging outside revenue sources and tangible outcomes. Anyone who has ever used ILV or is familiar with the agency would say it’s already doing all of those things. If that’s the case, why is there a need to jump through more bureaucratic hoops?

Ottawa insists it is not reducing support for disabled programs, but that appears to be the case by allowing more groups to  fight over $11 million.

If ILV’s concerns become reality, it is the disabled who will pay the price.

---The Morning Star


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