Services Planning Coalition (HSPC) launched its report titled Towards a New Model for Social Services Funding In York Region, which highlights the need for social service investment in York Region based on fair and equitable funding formulae. Representing key human services sectors and providers in York Region, the HSPC has come together as one voice to advocate for fairness in provincial funding.
"Every person should have access to the same level of social services, on balance, no matter where you live. That is simply not the case in York Region," said Vaughan Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio, Co-Chair, HSPC.
"Investment in social services must be part of a broader co-ordinated strategy of investing in the people of York Region," added Bill Hogarth, Director of Education, York Region District School Board and Co-Chair, HSPC.
In 2000/01, York Region received substantially less per capita funding compared to the provincial average and Toronto:
• children's services was 49% of the provincial average and 45% of Toronto's average
• child welfare was 28% of the provincial average and 23% of Toronto's average
• child care was 64% of the provincial average
• developmental services was 54% of the provincial average and 73% of Toronto's average
• immigrant and settlement services were 44% of Toronto's average and 45% of the GTA average
The evidence also indicates a growing need for social services in York Region:
• 3,131 people use food banks monthly
• 8,600 people each month are on social assistance
• emergency shelter use has gone up by 54% or 1,734 additional days of shelter every year for the past six years
• the CAS reports an increase of 37% or 1,040 additional children in need of non-residential protection last year
Social service providers in York Region are doing their best to respond to rapid growth, changing needs and increasing demand but they are falling behind. Many are at a breaking point because they are still playing catch up to historical under-funding. HSPC strongly believes that the current funding is not fair to the taxpayers of York Region who deserve a better deal that reflects the needs of the community.
The HSPC believes a solution exists in the recommendations of the Rozanski Report on education funding. The Rozanski approach is a stable funding methodology based on six benchmarks – adequacy, affordability, equity, stability, flexibility and accountability.
The HSPC recommends that the Province:
1. Adopt the principles set out in the Rozanski Report as the cornerstone of a
new fiscal allocation system for social services.
2. Review current funding allocations and measure them against a new model of per capita or per user allocation to ascertain the fiscal impact.
3. Initiate a base funding system for social services, supplemented by special funding to recognize unique local requirements and adequate allowance for infrastructure and overhead costs.
4. Repatriate the York Region property tax dollars being sent to Toronto for social services – $78.8 million in 2003 and more than $515 million over the past six years – and redesign the GTA pooling formulae by applying Rozanski's principles of affordability, equity and accountability.
The HSPC was established in 2001 to support long-term, integrated planning and funding of human services, which include social services, public health, education and policing. Its goal is to have all human service providers and levels of government working together to ensure York Region residents have strong, caring and safe communities—the main thrust of Vision 2026, the Region's strategic plan for the next 25 years.
To review Towards a New Model for Social Services Funding in York Region and for more information about the Human Services Planning Coalition, visit www.region.york.on.ca
under Departments > Planning and Development > Human Services > Human Services Planning Coalition > Social Services Funding Task Group.