October 27, 2005

To: OASIS Member Agencies

Re: The Fair Wage Campaign

Dear Members:

Most of you will no doubt be aware that a CLO committee has been gathering data to support a campaign aimed at securing much improved wages for employees in this sector. The information gathered will be important to the Ministry in this year’s budget submission and in any subsequent allocation of new funding that we hope will result. A secondary objective is to secure a long term resolution to the Pay Equity issue that challenges most developmental services agencies in Ontario.

There is a perception that OASIS does not support the campaign for a fair wage. This is not the case. Initially OASIS and CLO were working on wage issues through separate approaches. At the Provincial Network meeting of October 26th, CLO outlined the work they have accomplished to date and we agreed to work together on the common objective of increased wages for the sector.

OASIS has consistently worked towards the goal of increased funding for the sector in a multi-pronged approach. This has occurred through direct discussions with Government and Ministry officials, and via a series of submissions on the following issues:


  • Static base funding – noting the debilitating effects on agencies in effort to maintain current service levels, without incurring liability in the wake of reduced staffing levels and a decreased ability to accommodate consumer choice, control and aspirations;
  • Community Waiting Lists – noting that funding to eliminate the huge backlog for services is essential if this sector is to meet its obligations to the growing demand for service as a result of both population growth and the increasingly urgent needs of ageing parents;
  • Recruitment and Retention – this issue has been addressed repeatedly, with emphasis that agencies are facing the dual reality that retaining their best employees and attracting replacements is a losing battle in the absence of competitive salaries, compounded by a declining capacity within the education system to provide a qualified workforce for our sector;
  • Adequate Funding Levels – this requirement has been raised regularly, to ensure sufficient resources (both financial and professional) are in place within the community to support the depopulation of the remaining institutions; and,
  • Developmental Services Sector Pressures – OASIS as a member of the Provincial Network, fully supported the findings outlined in the report entitled “Beyond Numbers” and acted to ensure that all Ministers within the Provincial Cabinet were provided with the report.

For more specific detail on the issues and activities referred to above, I would suggest that you refer to the OASIS website, taking particular note of the following:

  • November 2004 – OASIS submission I re Transformation
  • May 2005 – letter to Minister Pupatello re Pay Equity
  • June 2005 – letter to Minister Pupatello re Oaklands
  • August 2005 – OASIS II re Transformation

This brings me to the question which interests you; does OASIS support an increased wage for our employees? The answer must be Yes!Competitive wages for our employees with the broader public sector has been an integral part of the work of OASIS since its inception as a Provincial organization. The difference that most folks notice is how we lobby for change.

The Board of Directors has consistently focused upon our Mission Statement “To facilitate the sharing of ideas, resources, systems and information, OASIS will liaise with Government on behalf of member organizations with the goal of improving the development of cost effective quality supports for individuals with developmental disabilities.” To the Board, this has meant practical matters that benefit our members and the people that they support. There are many examples, but for the sake of brevity permit me to highlight the work of the OASIS Labour Relations Committee. More specifically, you should know that in addition to keeping you abreast of trends in labour relations, the Committee has on occasion provided timely advice to the Ministry on important developments. The advent of last year’s coordinated bargaining strategy by the Unions and the crucial implications of

192 Member Agencies and Growing