“When we met recently with Minister Cadieux, we discussed other uses for the centre. Closing it was never mentioned as an option. Closing it is bad for these young people, bad for our justice system, and bad for the people of B.C.” — Darryl Walker, BCGEU President.
Vancouver (15 May 2014) — The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) is calling on Children and Family Development Minister, Stephanie Cadieux, to halt the planned closure of the Victoria Youth Custody Centre (VYCC), as more and more civic leaders and organizations are opposing the closure.
B.C. government plans to close Victoria Youth Custody Centre despite outcry
“This surprising and short-sighted decision needs to be reversed immediately,” says BCGEU President Darryl Walker. “Key, informed stakeholders are raising very real concerns about the ramifications of this cost-cutting move.”
B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, has called the decision “dangerous”. The past chair of the youth division of the Canadian Bar Association calls the decision to close VYCC “appalling."
Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin has opposed the decisio, and today Victoria Police Chief Frank Elsner said his force will refuse to hold young offenders diverted from the soon-to-be-closed VYCC.
Commitment to keep centre open broken by Liberal government
Monday’s surprise announcement comes after government assurances that the centre would remain open while other options were explored. “Our members were committed to working with the Ministry to explore new uses for the centre that would address the government’s concerns around overcapacity,” says Walker.
The BCGEU/NUPGE is concerned that other options were not considered, including:
- exploring alternative capacity uses for the centre
- reaching out in the community to explore options and to seek support
- exploring the repatriation of housing youth females at both Victoria Youth Custody Centre & Prince George Youth Custody Centre.
“When we met recently with Minister Cadieux we discussed other uses for the centre. Closing it was never mentioned as an option,” says Walker. “The minister needs to meet with key stakeholders and front-line BCGEU/NUPGE members to explore possible uses of the facility. Closing it is bad for these young people, bad for our justice system, and bad for the people of 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