By Stephanie Cadieux
When I found out last fall that Community Living BC (CLBC) had a variable pay compensation system for senior staff, I immediately directed that incentive-based compensation be terminated as quickly as possible.
In a people-first organization like Community Living BC, performance-based targets and measures are simply not appropriate.
While these incentives were a legally binding part of each employee’s compensation package at the time of hiring, they did little to motivate focus where it needs to be – on care of individuals with developmental disabilities and support to their families.
However, we needed to make this change without ripping up employment contracts – as such action would have potentially resulted in litigation. The board of directors worked to develop a new compensation plan that is much more transparent and doesn’t distract from the agency’s true mandate – care to those with developmental disabilities.
The holdback pay aspect has been eliminated, and instead, a three-year average of that portion is being applied to the base salary. Community Living BC will see an overall reduction in compensation paid to senior staff and honour the existing employment contracts, while having a net zero impact on the budget.
Over the past months, we have taken a number of steps to address the issues affecting Community Living BC, as well as at the broader system of supports for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
A thorough and rigorous review was undertaken in the fall to understand the nature of the problems, and in January, a comprehensive plan, along with an additional $144 million in funding over the next three years, plus $36 million being held in contingency, was announced to improve services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
Our government is making progress in improving supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families. A new, dedicated Integrated Services Support Team has been established to give people with developmental disabilities and their families a place to turn to for assistance when they have concerns about the services they are receiving.
For families with transitioning youth, a minimum of $2,800 annually is now available for respite or other services, with additional funding and services available to young adults with higher needs. And, we have launched two resources – a call for volunteers for a reference committee and an accessible website – designed to ensure people and their families have the opportunity to be involved.
Over the past two months, a series of self-advocate consultations were done throughout the province as part of a broader consultation taking place this year. The reference committee is part of this consultation, and will focus on the bigger picture of how all the 12 recommendations fit together to create an over-arching integrated service delivery model meets the needs of individuals and families.
We are taking time this year for public engagement and targeted consultations to ensure the design of the new integrated service delivery system will meet the needs of the individuals and families that we’re working so hard to serve. Regular updates about the progress government is making towards completing all 12 recommendations in the Improving Services to People with Development Disabilities comprehensive plan will be available on the ministry’s website www.sd.gov.bc.ca/pwd/isst.html.
Stephanie Cadieux is the Minister of Social Development in British Columbia.