“This is a shortsighted decision that will expose vulnerable youth to even greater risks,” says Stephanie Smith, President Elect of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE).
Vancouver (06 June 2014) — More than 70 positions are being eliminated from the Ministry of Children and Family Development Youth Justice system. More than 60 workers at the Victoria Youth Custody Services received layoff notices this morning. Seven workers at the Burnaby Youth Custody Services centre also received layoff notices today.
Layoffs announced for youth workers in B.C.
“This is a shortsighted decision that will expose vulnerable youth to even greater risks,” says Stephanie Smith, President Elect of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE). “The closure of VYCS is especially troubling. These young people need to remain near their communities and their loved ones. They should not be shipped to the lower mainland to save money.”
Opposition to the VYCS closure has come from a broad base of stakeholders including B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth, Victoria’s mayor and police chief, First Nations, legal experts and retired judges.
BCGEU/NUPGE has offered alternate recommendations to layoffs to avoid negatively impacting the public
The BCGEU has recommended other options that were not considered, including:
- alternative uses and services for the VYCS
- reaching out in the community to explore options and to seek support
- exploring repatriation of youth females at both VYCS & Prince George Youth Custody Centre.
“In a province as big as B.C., a youth custody centre in Metro Vancouver and another in Prince George is not adequate to meet the needs of troubled young people or to keep our streets safe,” adds Smith. “We need more of these facilities and services, not fewer. How much more is the government going to cut as it pretends to improve services for vulnerable children and youth?”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE