Closed legislature another failure to reform Community Living B.C.

VANCOUVER, Sept. 20, 2012 /CNW/ - The B.C. Liberal government's cancellation of the fall legislative session represents a failure to be accountable to the population of B.C. and another failure to address the crisis B.C.'s beleaguered Community Living sector, says the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU).

"In January, the government admitted that the public's trust in the community living system had been broken. By failing to convene a fall session of the legislature, the government is not being accountable to British Columbians. They are also breaking another promise to improve oversight of Community Living B.C. They are failing to extend the mandate of the representative for children and youth," says BCGEU President Darryl Walker.

On January 19 last, the government announced a series of measures to improve CLBC services, including extending the mandate for the B.C. representative for children and youth. Turpel Lafond's mandate would include overseeing youth with disabilities transitioning from Ministry of Children and Families to adult services under CLBC. This mandate extension requires legislative assent, which had not been granted by the end of the spring legislative session.

BCGEU supports the mandate extension but maintains that an independent advocate is needed for all adults with developmental disabilities, not just youths.

"There continues to be too many hollow or broken promises about reforming Community Living B.C.," says BCGEU Component Chair Doug Kinna, who represents CLBC workers. "Staff are still facing chronic underfunding for adequate services and we have serious concerns about executive and fiscal management."

Consider that:

  • CLBC Executive bonuses tied to cost-cutting targets were cancelled by government until media discovered that that the bonuses were paid out and subsequently rolled into base wages for senior CLBC executives;

  • The $40 million in funding announced in January actually amounted to $18 million in annualized investment in CLBC - and half of that amount had been previously announced in September 2011. This new funding does not begin to redress the outstanding service requests due to cuts for existing services. Stakeholders believe $70 million is needed to meet the anticipated demand for services and supports for youth transitioning to adult care in the next two years alone

  • Constant governance changes continue to inhibit serious reforms of CLBC. Following the September 5 cabinet reshuffle, there have been five Ministers for Social Development in the past two years.

SOURCE: B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

For further information:

Media enquiries: Oliver Rohlfs, BCGEU Communications (778) 318-9164

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B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

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