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Closure of youth-treatment centre a double whammy for High Prairie

Families and workers forced to move hundreds of kilometres away

Apr 02, 2024

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EDMONTON – Vulnerable children and the town of High Prairie will suffer from the Alberta government’s decision to permanently close the youth-treatment centre. 

“The Campus Based Treatment Centre provided a vital residential service for youths with serious behavioural issues in High Prairie and the surrounding area,” says Sandra Azocar, vice-president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE). 

“Instead of refurbishing the centre after a fire in November 2023, the government will keep it closed for the foreseeable future. The children who need help, and their families, will now have to travel hundreds of kilometres for treatment. 

“It will mean ripping children even further from their families and community, where they may have a support system, to an area where they know no one.” 

Treatment will now be offered in Edmonton (370 kms away, nearly four hours by car), Lac La Biche (340 kms or 3.5 hours by car) or Lethbridge (870 kms or 8.5 hours by car). 

The government’s decision is also bad news for the town. A total of 22 AUPE members working at the centre are either losing their jobs or are being forced to relocate to Edmonton, Lac La Biche, or Lethbridge. 

“That’s the loss of 22 good-paying jobs, of 22 families from the community,” says Azocar. “This will have a spin-off effect on the town’s economy, particularly on local business. 

“It’s also devastating to those workers and their families. They must choose between uprooting themselves or losing their jobs.” 

A total of nine positions have been eliminated, while 13 other workers must choose between unemployment and a long-distance move. The jobs include child and youth care counsellors; individual support workers; cooks; and rehabilitation staff. 

“The children need this centre to reopen,” says Azocar. “High Prairie needs this centre to reopen. The government has given no reason why it can’t be reopened. High Prairie deserves better.” 


AUPE vice-president Sandra Azocar is available for media interviews.  

For information, please contact Terry Inigo-Jones, communications officer, at 403-831-4394 or 

News Category

  • Media release


  • Health care

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