CALGARY – Joining with families of disabled Albertans living in Calgary’s Scenic Bow home, members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) have collected over 3,000 signatures to stop the privatization of Scenic Bow and Edmonton disability services.
On July 24, 2020, they’ll be presenting the petitions to Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Community and Social Services, at her constituency office in north east Calgary.
“AUPE members who do the majority of the work supporting and caring for Albertans with complex disabilities have said no to privatization,” says AUPE Vice-President Kevin Barry. “The staff know that public sector homes deliver a higher level of care. They’ve spent years building relationships with the people they care for. If Minister Sawhney proceeds with this cruel plan to privatize during a pandemic, all that will be thrown away.”
On Wednesday, June 10, 2020, guardians of the residents of Calgary and Edmonton public homes for persons with developmental disabilities were given 90 days notice that the government was exploring “alternative service delivery.”
“We didn’t call for this,” says guardian Pamela Bloomer. “My sister Merilee has lived in Scenic Bow for decades. We’ve always had the option to explore private care, and it’s never been a good option for us. My sister has complex needs. She’s been in Scenic Bow for so long now I can’t imagine her being well-served in any other home or by anyone but the staff who care for her now.”
“The staff are incredibly upset by this,” says AUPE Vice-President Barry. “They work in the public sector for a reason, because that’s where they have the resources to deliver quality care. Past attempts at closing homes like Scenic Bow and Rosecrest in Edmonton have been reversed when past governments realized how insulting it would be to eliminate a public service over the wishes of the people our members serve.”
Bloomer says she’s hoping to meet with and convince the Minister to commit to keeping all the homes open so long as people want to live in them. “The Scenic Bow residents are getting older,” she adds, “and I worry about what a transition to a new home and new staff will do for their health and well-being. Our voices deserve to be heard.”
Pamela Bloomer and AUPE Vice-President Kevin Barry are available for comment over the phone, or in person outside Minister Sawhney’s constituency office at #1080, 11124 - 36 St NE, Calgary from 11 a.m. to noon.
For more information: Trevor Zimmerman, AUPE Communications, 780-930-3413