Developmentally disabled British Columbians are being put at serious risk as government funding for community agencies is being squeezed and as a result services are being reduced.
Vancouver (26 Oct. 2010) - Developmentally disabled British Columbians who receive services funded by the B.C. government’s provincial crown agency, Community Living BC (CLBC), are being put at serious risk. CLBC is squeezing its agencies to find roughly $22-million in “efficiencies” this year.
As a result, agencies are closing and reducing service quality and capacity in the community living sector, at a time when demand for CLBC-funded services continues to rise.
“We’re very concerned about CLBC’s rapid overhaul of the community living support system,” said James Cavalluzzo, chair of British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union's (BCGEU/NUPGE) community social services component.
"Service providers tell us CLBC is pressuring them to make radical staff cuts and move group home residents into a residential service delivery model that’s largely unregulated and untested. Changes are being driven on the basis of cost considerations and there has been inadequate consultation with families.”
The BCGEU has learned at least 10 group homes have closed or are closing across the province, with a loss of approximately 34 places (or "beds"). There’s the potential for 10 (or more) additional shut downs by 2011.
“We’re demanding the provincial government and CLBC end these cuts and closures and increase funding for CLBC to meet the support needs and choices of adults with developmental disabilities,” said Cavalluzzo.
The B.C. Liberal government established CLBC in 2005 to deliver services and supports to more than 10,000 developmentally disabled British Columbians. The organization has roughly 3,000 contracts with private and non-profit service providers province-wide. As of March 2010, 2,461 adults were living in staffed residential (group home) placements.
The BCGEU represents the majority of unionized community social services workers in B.C.
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