Disability council didn’t meet government standards: Graham

The decision not to renew the Yukon Council on Disability's funding was made because the organization couldn't meet the guidelines set in its agreement with the Yukon government, says Education Minister Doug Graham.

The decision not to renew the Yukon Council on Disability’s funding was made because the organization couldn’t meet the guidelines set in its agreement with the Yukon government, says Education Minister Doug Graham.

The non-profit has just had too much on its plate, Graham said.

“They had to provide case management services to people with disabilities and get them ready for the labour market,” he said.

“And that’s where the numbers seem to have caught up to them. But it wasn’t only the numbers – it was really poor case management.

“There was a lack of documentation and referral practices, and in fact a lot of people self-referred directly to advanced education when they found they didn’t receive the services they required from the non-profit.”

On March 31, a three-year funding agreement ends between the non-profit and the Yukon government.

Executive Director Charlene Donald told the News last week it would have to close its doors if it couldn’t find other sources of funding.

She said case management is a lengthy process that can take up to two years before someone is ready for employment.

“Once trust is gained, it may take two or three visits before they may self-identity as having a disability,” she said.

“It could be months or years before you get down to the bare bones and find out what the barriers are, and how we can help them. With us it’s not all about education and employment, it’s getting them their self-esteem back and getting the trust required to effectively assist these people.”

Graham said issues with the non-profit began appearing in late 2011, such as its capacity to hire staff and update its website on a regular basis.

“That all contributed to the difficulties they were experiencing,” he said. “It’s really unfortunate because they’re a great organization.”

The government has issued a request for proposals to determine if other organizations could provide the same kind of case management services.

The original funding agreement was signed with the Yukon Council on Disability because at the time, they were the only organization capable of helping disabled people find employment, Graham said.

But today there are several organizations providing employment services in the territory, he estimated, and one of them might be able to incorporate the case management services the Yukon Council on Disability has been providing.

“If we have a couple organizations all providing the same basic services and we’re funding them all, you have to wonder why,” he said.

“We’re wasting money in many cases. We have to make sure that the money we’re spending, we’re spending wisely.”

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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