19 June 2003

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See also: Funding Issues--in OAARSN Discussion Boards and Topics. Press the Communications bar on OAARSN’s main page then choose Discussion Area

Stan Woronko advises on the results and next steps following the press conference at Queen's Park, Toronto on June 16, 2003:
Issues are individualized funding, SSAH, citizenship, choices, options, adequate
funding, families' involvement as key stakeholders. Organized by the Peel Family Network, this event and the issues are relevant for all people with special needs in Ontario. 
Read the background and agenda

Stan's report on the day at Queen's Park:
"We had a good turnout for the press conference at Queen's Park. Over 20 people
came to the Media Room and most of the group went to the 6th floor in Hepburn
Block after lunch to ask for a meeting with Minister Brenda Elliott. She stayed
in hiding but she did send an emissary to greet us. We did manage to schedule a
meeting with the Minister for next Tuesday morning for the Peel Family Network,
and we have a commitment from her to meet with Family Alliance Ontario in
"The lesson is clear. It's impossible to get a meeting scheduled with the
Minister if you request by phone or mail. But you can get one immediately if you
show up as a group in person. Simple really. Groups seem to make them very
uncomfortable, even more so with wheelchairs around. Everyone was very polite,
but our presence seemed to put pressure on them. 
"I am serious. If you want attention, show up in person.
"Every family present individually asked for a meeting with the Minister, and
Brenda Lewis (Deputy Minister's assistant) carefully and with great courtesy
took down everyone's name, address, phone, and some notes about their
grievances. They were all promised replies. The families made it clear that they
will take it as an insult if they receive any more run-around form letters.
"While we were at it, we also asked for a meeting with the Deputy Minister, John
Fleming. His assistant said she'd pass on the request to him and get back to us.
He wasn't in today.
"See the attachments for our press kit. In the kit, we also tabled a request for
the Minister to meet with the SSAH Provincial Coalition. We leave it up to the
coalition leaders to follow up on that. 
"We expect an article in the Toronto Sun, but we don't know about the other
"I presented along with Joyce Balaz from London. It went well, but we were
disappointed that the Liberal Party did not have our agenda as a priority for
question period in the Legislature. Thirteen of us met with Leona Dombrowsky,
the liberal critic for Community, Family and Childrens' Services, for about 40
minutes before the press conference. She said they might raise a question on our
behalf tomorrow or in the days ahead.
"Families who came seemed to get re-energized to carry on with renewed effort
until the job gets done. They are meeting tomorrow night to plan their Tuesday
morning meeting with the Minister."
-Stan Woronko for Peel Family Network

Click for actions requested with explanation
Click for FamilyNet's account of the rally 
Click for table summarizing main features of Individualized Funding in relation to traditional agency services

Special Appeal: Special Services at Home Families in Northwestern Ontario still need your support!
On April 1, 2003, the Ministry of Community, Family & Children’s Services, Sudbury office, assumed the responsibility
for processing invoices and reimbursing families for support workers’ wages. The transition has not been smooth and has created a number of challenges for families: 
·        The Ministry eliminated the capability to fax invoices. Families now have to mail their invoices, which results in
   significant delays for receipt of payments, especially for those residing in the district communities.
·        The Ministry was not prepared to oversee this responsibility, and as a direct result, families are bearing the financial impact to maintain their workers. Families have obligations to their workers, yet the payment schedule, set up by the    Ministry, is not being adhered to. 
·        Families have to wait a minimum of 10 days for reimbursement after the Sudbury office receives the invoices. This is creating financial hardships, families are at risk of losing valuable workers, and no strategy has been conveyed to address families’ concerns.

The Ministry of Community, Family & Children’s Services took back the responsibility of processing invoices to make the system more accountable.  Now it’s our turn to make the Ministry accountable to all the families utilizing the Special Services at Home Program in Ontario. Collectively we can effect a change! Let Nicole Cyrenne know that you’re assisting in our lobbying efforts to tell the Ministry that their current practices are unacceptable and something must be done in support of families! Nicole Cyrenne, Thunder Bay, ON:



progress report by Nancy Cherry of Waterloo

9-1-l Protocol and Crisis Plans
Nancy Cherry of Waterloo has begun a project with the hope of accomplishing several things: 
1. developing a template for calling 9-1-1 should the primary caregiver be unable to make the call 
2. registering with the police so that when a 9-1-1 call is placed there is an electronic alert displayed that gives background information 
3. registering with the local hospital or crisis clinic to avoid the intake procedure when dealing with an out-of-control individual who has special needs and may be non-verbal 
4. finding a tracking device to monitor children who regularly wander (and adults who want to develop more independence of movement) 

Nancy began her project with the needs of children and adults with autism. But it has grown into something that would help also others with special needs. Nancy has made many useful contacts. One meeting she has planned is set for Thursday July 10 with a company in Toronto that could build on its existing products to make a (wireless interactive) tracking device that would also hold vital medical and other personal information. If you are interested in learning more about Nancy's project or this meeting, please contact Nancy at phone (519) 884-3309 or email

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