Staff cut to one from six; GOA pushes ahead with privatization plan
Staff cut to one from six as GOA pushes ahead with plan to privatize group homes
EDMONTON – Without warning, the Government of Alberta has slashed the office of Alberta’s disability advocate, threatening a vital support for vulnerable Albertans.
The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) has learned that the advocate’s staff has been cut from six to only one. Four of the five employees affected are AUPE members and have been reassigned to other duties.
“This is a particularly cruel cut,” says Bobby-Joe Borodey, vice-president of AUPE, which represents more than 95,000 workers. “The advocate for persons with disabilities and his staff were doing important work helping people access the support and services they need. That’s how the advocate learns what the key issues are, by building relationships with folks in the disability community. That’s how the advocate knows what solutions to recommend to government, which has a duty to listen to citizens.”
Borodey said a cut on this scale would seriously damage the advocate’s ability to do the job. “Why on Earth, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, does this government think these cuts are acceptable?”
AUPE called on Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Community and Social Services, and Premier Jason Kenney to explain why this move was necessary and what they hope to gain.
Borodey asked: “Could this move be happening now because the government is in the middle of a dangerous plan to privatize group homes for developmentally disabled children and adults in Calgary and Edmonton? It seems like the government may be trying to silence opposition to its latest plan. Family members of these disabled Albertans and workers have united to say that changing the way care is delivered or moving residents from their homes is risky.”
Borodey called on the government to reverse the cut’s to the advocate’s office and call an immediate halt to plans to privatize Calgary and Edmonton homes for disabled Albertans.
She added: “One of the first things this government did was to de-index payments to those on Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH). This is a pattern of abusive behaviour to those who do not have the strength to fight back. How else can you explain why Alberta has billions of dollars to give to corporations, but has to slash support for the disabled?
“This government should remember that AUPE members have a voice and we have power. We will fight back for those Albertans we serve every day.”
Bobby-Joe Borodey is available for interviews.
For more information, please contact: Terry Inigo-Jones, Communications Officer, 403-831-4394