Chronic Funding Shortfall at Massey Centre for Women Becomes Crisis

QUEEN'S PARK, ON, April 28 /CNW/ - Young mothers and staff from the Massey Centre for Women today appealed to the Minister of Children and Youth Services, the Hon. Laurel Broten, to address the critical funding deficit at the east Toronto centre.

Many young new mothers like Victoria Hospedales rely on the Massey Centre to provide stability, support and security so they can provide the best possible care for their newborns while they get back on their feet.

Victoria lives in the centre's post-natal residence, which supports new moms as they return to school or pursue a career.

Victoria said staff at the centre have become like family. "I love the staff at the Massey Centre," she said.

But she made clear the centre's most important role is to help her go it alone. "I can't move on without daycare," she said.

Nicole Wall is another mother who relies on the centre for daycare. "As a first-time mom, I was a little nervous about taking my son to daycare. All my fears were laid to rest because the staff at Massey Centre are committed and take care of him like he was their own. They are open and helpful and do things they don't have to do," said Nicole.

The mother said she had contacted the Minister's office. "Their response was disappointing," Nicole said.

The local MPP for the area, Peter Tabuns, said he helped the women organize a press conference at Queen's Park today out of concern the funding crisis has gone on so long.

A decade ago, staff voluntarily chose to freeze their pay increases when they got promotions for 2 years to help ease budget pressures. They are still frozen 10 years later.

The crisis came to a head on the weekend after the government rejected a proposal submitted by the Massey Centre for an immediate commitment to provide long overdue pay equity funding the centre has been waiting 7 years for.

The proposal had the support of staff, residents, clients, and management at the centre but was denied by the Ministry.

The thumbs down made it clear the centre could not meet its labour obligations and service was disrupted as staff began a picket outside the centre.

MPP Tabuns said: "The Massey Centre has been struggling after years of underfunding. Staff are on strike without a salary and mothers are facing a very difficult time. We want to know what the Premier and the Minister for Children and Youth Services are going to do about this. What action are they going to take?"

SOURCE SEIU Healthcare

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