Community  Living eyes merger with Kawartha Lakes

By Angelica Ingram

While plans are underway to merge Community Living Haliburton County with its partner organizationin Kawartha Lakes changes to the local organization will be minimalsays its executive director.

Last week the organization that helpsadults with developmental disabilities held its annual general meetingin Haliburton where the board brought the public up to date on shiftshappening with Community Living.

“The conversation is about creating a joint agency or one agency that serves both communities” said Teresa Jordan executive director for both Community Living Haliburton Countyand Community Living Kawartha Lakes.

Jordan says plans will beworked out over the next six months at which point it will be broughtback to members of both agencies.

If everything goes according toplan on April 1 the two corporations will wind down and a newcorporation will be formed Jordan said.

“No one will probablynotice that anything has changed” she said. “It will probably take ayear before we do anything differently if we do anything differently.”

The partnership has been hinted at for some time said Jordan who points to her own shared title as a prime example.

“I think most people understood that my role as a shared ED between the two agencies was kind of an initial step” she said.

Jordan insisted there will be no cuts to frontline staff or day-to-dayoperations. She said the merge is about streamlining operations andensuring there is one contract agreement with the Ministry of Communityand Social Services and one reporting mechanism.

The move towards a merge is the result of government funding and increasing costs she said.

“I don’t want to downplay the fact that the Ministry of Community andSocial Services pledged an extra $810 million for our sector last yearbut that money is being vetted to new and expanding services. None of it is going to prop up existing infrastructure and existing day-to-daybusiness. Increasing costs just keeps eroding at that base budget” shesaid.

Community Living Haliburton County has a staff of 20 whoserve approximately 60 clients and their families. In Kawartha Lakes the agency employs about 115 people.

Jordan said she has emphasized to staff that at no point will there be mandated transfers.
“The plan right from the get go … has never been to cut front linesupport and front line jobs in either communities. That won’t be part of the plan” said Jordan.

A committee comprised of three boardmembers from each agency a project consultant and Jordan has beencreated to assist with the merge.