The Manitoba government said it is investing $29 million to shore up supports for disability services and increase wages of staff who provide them.
Premier Heather Stefanson and Families Minister Rochelle Squires made the announcement Wednesday.
According to the province, Community Living disABILITY Services (CLDS) providers will get $10 million in new money to increase front-line wages to a minimum-funded baseline rate of $15.11 per hour for direct service workers and $16.11 per hour for supervisors.
The program will also increase service rates to day service providers by 2.7 per cent to improve wages and their recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.
Premier Stefanson said the new funding will also decrease wait times for accessing services for children and youth with disabilities and their families, while adding additional capacity in the disability sector.
“We remain committed to reducing barriers and providing person-centered services that empower children and adults with a disability to discover their talents and pursue their dreams,” she said.
The province also earmarked $370,000 to Abilities Manitoba to raise CLDS awareness in order to boost recruitment and train new sector staff.
Abilities Manitoba board chair Scott Smith said the money comes at a critical time.
“Our field is facing a labour shortage unlike anything seen before, and the pandemic has meant that only a small amount of training has occurred,” he said.
“We need a multifaceted approach to help address the issues that are there, and this certainly is a multifaceted approach that will help create a stronger future.”
Another $5 million is also going to Children’s disABILITY Services to improve access for Manitoba families. It will also help St. Amant deliver case management services for children with autism, and expand capacity within the sector for children’s therapies.
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