CHATHAM, ON, Oct. 11, 2013 /CNW/ - Yesterday's announcement by the
Chatham-Kent Children's Services that 17 jobs will be permanently
eliminated will impact hardest on children and families who depend on
child protection services, says the union that represents the workers.
"Children's Services is blaming these job losses on an operating deficit
that has grown over the years and that the province demands it must
eliminate now," said Candice Copeland, vice president of Local 148 of
the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents
the affected workers. "If that's the case why should our clients, their
families and our members pay such a steep price for the fact that
management has been incapable of balancing its budgets?"
Copeland pointed out that caseloads at Chatham-Kent Children's Services
have been steadily growing in recent years thanks, in large measure, to
a weak local economy. Today's announcement that 17 positions will be
permanently lost will only increase pressure on the already stretched
services at this agency, asking workers to do more with less.
She added that a new funding model imposed by Queen's Park - that
stipulates all Children's Aid societies in the province must operate
from a set amount of funding regardless of caseloads -- is the root
cause of a weakening of services. The same funding model is to blame
for the loss of 40 jobs at the London-Middlesex Children's Aid Society.
"This government must realize that the new funding model will
destabilize the child protection system if it cannot take into account
actual numbers of children and families being served. I have said this
before, job losses could be avoided were the province to adopt an
alternative "transitional funding" formula in place of the model put
forward by the Liberal government that will directly impact the
delivery of frontline services to children and families at Chatham
Kent" said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, whose union represents the employees
who have been told by management at the Chatham Kent Children's
Services that they will be laid off starting November.
The elimination of jobs at CKCS will be staggered, starting next month
and will continue into early 2014.
For further information:
OPSEU Staff Representative
Candice Copeland, Vice President, OPSEU Local 148