History

The Alliance of Direct Support Professionals of Manitoba (ADSPM) was founded in 2014 with the goal of professionalizing the direct support profession. This concept had been recognized for some time, with the understanding that it would enhance the quality of life for both the people receiving services and those who support them.  

In 2012, a working group consisting of representatives from St.Amant, Red River College, Inclusion Winnipeg, Abilities Manitoba, and other interested individuals began to explore the formation of a DSP association. After several meetings and consultations, a day-long facilitated session was held in April 2013, attended by over 200 DSPs and members of the disability community. The outcome of this session was the development of Five Bold Steps: creating a mission statement, a board of directors with defined roles and responsibilities, a governing constitution, a communication strategy, and a business plan with a funding and revenue stream. 

The association was incorporated under its original name, the Manitoba Alliance of Direct Support Professionals, and a vision statement, mission, constitution, and membership structure were drafted. The founding AGM was held in May 2014, when the first board was elected. While the working group members continued to provide support, the new leaders of the organization were responsible for making key decisions and taking the next steps. 

Today

Since 2014, the ADSPM has consistently advocated for the professionalization of the disability support profession. Our efforts include campaigns and lobbying to address critical issues, such as wage enhancement, recruitment, retention, and essential service designation. 

However, the COVID-19 pandemic created an unstable and unsafe environment within the disability sector, resulting in unprecedented turnover and burnout among professionals. In response, the ADSPM joined a coalition with Abilities Manitoba, Community Living Manitoba, The Family Advocacy Network of Manitoba and, People First of Manitoba, to raise awareness of the situation. After tireless advocacy, the government announced a historic 2023 funding increase to raise the average wage for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) in Manitoba's government-funded programs. 

Over the course of 2022-2024, the ADSPM engaged in several initiatives to further our mission. We created a new website, aimed at increasing capacity and reducing administrative workload, providing a more efficient platform for our organization. Most significantly, the ADSPM engaged with Exchange Group for strategic planning, reaffirming our mission, setting new goals, and charting a clear direction for the future. These efforts strengthened our network and support system, enhancing our ability to advocate for the direct support profession and address ongoing challenges in the sector. 

The new goals outlined were: 

  1. Increased Number of Member Organizations

  1. Define and Advocate for Professional Standards 

  1. Research to Advance Our Advocacy Position

  1. Onboarding Specialized Resources for Enhanced Operational Efficiency

  1. Growing Strong Government Relations for Sector Advancement

  1. Diversifying Revenue Streams through Corporate Sponsorships

  1. Broadening Stakeholder Engagement for Sector Collaboration

  2. Strengthening the Direct Support Profession

The strategic plan will cover all aspects of the ADSPM’s operations for the next five years. 

Board Members

"Change never happens at the pace we think it should. It happens over years of people joining together, strategizing, sharing, and pulling all the levers they possibly can. Gradually, excruciatingly slowly, things start to happen, and then suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, something will tip." -Judith Heumann

photo of Stevie wearing a disability matters vote t shirt

Stevie Goller (she/her)

Chair

picture of rochelle smiling, she is wearing a black t shirt and glasses

Rochelle Tabinga (she/her)

Vice-Chair

Photo of Sean smiling

Sean McGrath (he/him)

Outgoing Treasurer

photo of jeannine smiling

Jeannine Blanchette (she/her)

Secretary

Photo of Jillian smiling

Jillian Beauchemin (she/her)

Director

Photo of Whitney smiling.

Whitney Hodgins (she/her)

Director

picture of Bev using sign language

Bev Sofroniuk (she/her)

Director

photo of Jocelyne smiling, she is wearing glasses and a floral shirt

Jocelyne Courcelles (she/her/elle)

Director

Diamond

Purpose

The Alliance of Direct Support Professionals of Manitoba (ADSPM) was founded in 2014 with the goal of professionalizing direct support work. We have been actively involved in campaigns and

Eye

Vision

Our vision is a future where DSPs are recognized and respected as professionals, well-trained, and receive valued compensation for their vital role in enhancing the lives of Manitobans with disabilities.

Target

Mission

We are dedicated to advocating for the direct support profession. We promote professional standards, comprehensive training and valued compensation for all those who serve in this vital sector.