A non-profit advocating for children and adults with developmental disabilities is fuming over the NDP’s latest budget.
Bruce Uditsky, the CEO of Inclusion Alberta, is disappointed that funds for the organization in Thursday’s budget remain stagnant over last year.
READ MORE: Highlights from Alberta Budget 2017
The non-profit receives the majority of its budget, 70 per cent or approximately $3 million, from the province. The rest comes from fundraising and other grants.
The funds have been fairly consistent over the last several years, but Uditsky said that is not enough.
“While the rest of the province has an agenda to move forward, in terms of affordability, employment and making life better…we think that promise needs to include people with disabilities and their families,” he said.
The province is forecasting a $10.3 billion deficit this year. It is also expected to rack up $45 billion in debt by the end of the year with the number ballooning to $71 billion by 2020.
Uditsky, who has a son with developmental disabilities, said the lack of funding increase translates into less opportunities for employment for those with developmental disabilities, less supports needed for employment and less assisted support for individuals to live independently.
He said it does not appear the province is making those with disabilities a priority.
READ MORE: Alberta budget 2017: Winners and losers
“This is a difficult period but the government has cherry-picked who it wants to see moving forward in this province and somehow we get left behind,” he said.
Uditsky said the money allocated to Inclusion Alberta this year does not take into account the rising minimum wage, the carbon tax or the cost of living going up.
“It doesn’t really amount to protection. The government keeps announcing new initiatives and yet there have been none for individuals with disabilities and their families,” he said.
Uditsky said the organization will be able to hold the line in spending this year but warns there may be less resources for children with developmental disabilities in the child welfare system as well as less resources on reserves for adults with disabilities.
Roughly 6,000 families across the province are affiliated with Inclusion Alberta.