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CLGW Information Update

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Hi Everyone:

We wanted to provide you with these updates since our last communication regarding sheltered workshops and transformation:

1.    The senior leadership team has continued to meet weekly over the summer months to review information coming in, to look at options for site visits and to generate some initial thoughts for moving us forward;

2.    Between July – September we held 9 focus groups on various topics to gather information/suggestions from parents, people we support, staff, community partners, the education system. We thank all of you who participated in these events – your feedback is important and will be used when planning for the future;

3.    We have connected with several agencies who are farther along with this transformation process to determine what worked well and what were some of the cautions from their perspectives; and

4.    We have visited co-ops to see how they are operating and what makes them successful.

In September the Ministry sent out a Transition Planning package for agencies that currently have sheltered workshop programs in place. This has been helpful as it provides clarity on the types of programs affected, and some direction as to the types of alternative  programs that we will consider.

The guidelines included in the Ministry’s package outline possible program alternatives and the principles that should guide new program development.  The key principles are outlined below:

•    Employment programs should be based on real work for real pay, meaning at least the minimum wage and preferable at whatever the industry standard pay for a given position is;

•    Self-Employment options are encouraged but are distinguished from work arrangements that are managed and operated by an agency – in other words, self-employment options should ideally be community based with facilitation support from, but not control by, the agency.

•    Agency Owned Businesses are expressly not acceptable forms of self-employment, even where all profits are distributed by profit sharing.

•    Training programs are acceptable if they are: outcome focussed, curriculum-based, and have a defined timeframe.

•    Volunteering should always be in typical volunteer settings (not-for-profits) in typical volunteer roles (ie roles that individuals without disabilities would typically volunteer in).

•    Community participation should be based on a “person-centred” approach and support the needs and interests of the person.

The above principles are not out of line with the guidelines, values, processes we have imagined so that is good news indeed! We have been, and will continue to keep the Ministry updated on our progress going forward.

We are now reviewing all of the feedback/information/ideas received to date. Our next step involves a ½ day planning session on November 4, 2016 with an external facilitator who is knowledgeable about the developmental services sector, the sheltered workshop transformation process and the law.

We will keep you posted on developments.

As always, we appreciate your ongoing patience and feedback.


Laura Hanley
Executive Director

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