Volume 12 Week 5

Monday, Nov. 20


 

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney



 

 

 

   


(Posted 3:30 a.m., Dec. 11)
1.5% increase 'not enough', say social service agencies

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Ottawa’s social service agencies are having a difficult time keeping up wuth rising demands combined with changes in provincial funding and minimal financil support from the city.

In the past four years the city has increased funding levels for social service agencies by 1.5, 2.0, 2.0 and 1.5 per cent while demand has gone up by 30 per cent over the same period.

The Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre, which operates a food bank and provides counseling for families and individuals in personal and financial crisis, has seen an 11 per cent increase in demand since Jan. 1.

The 1.5 per cent funding ncrease contained in the 2016 budget passed earliercthis week by city council is little more than a drop in the bucket and will barely cover a modest salary increase for the Centre’s dedicated staff.

The continued failure of the city to maintain funding levels on par with demand means the city’s community resource centres are increasingly dependent on the generosity of the communities they serve.

The frustrating part is that the city has benefitted from the uploading of tens of milliins of dollars in social service costs by the provincial government over the past eight years and has failed to reinvest any of those savings back into social services.

Thus far, provincial uploading is saving the city about $65 million a year. By 2018, when the uploading measures are fully implemented, the city will be saving $79 million a year. Only a small percentage of those savings have been reinvested in social services, mostly in social housing, while the balance has been folded into general revenue.

That in itself wouldn’t be so bad if the province, having uploaded the costs, provided adequate funding increases on their end to keep up with the demand on the ground. But it, too, has failed in it’s caoqcity which brings the issue back around to the city.

The funding issue is especially critical in light of the federal government’s commitment to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February.

With over 1,500 refugees expected to be resettled in Ottawa, the demand on social services, including child care services, will inevitably increase.

The city is hoping the federal government will privide special funding to the municipalities to help cover the additional costs, but if it doesn’t, the burden will likely fall on the social service agencies themselves which will have to make do as best they can unless the city can free up some money from elsewhere in the budget.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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Posted Jan. 12



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