Quality care at public group homes is saved, but questions remain
EDMONTON – Family members, guardians and workers are celebrating a victory today (Friday, Jan. 29) in their fight to save groups homes and quality care for vulnerable Albertans in Edmonton and Calgary.
“We are delighted that the government of Alberta has finally recognized what we all knew all along, that these homes provide an excellent service to the most fragile people in Alberta,” says Kevin Barry, vice-president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) and chair of the union’s anti-privatization committee.
“We have a saying at AUPE: When we fight, we win,” he says. “Today, we have proof that when Albertans fight for a just cause, it’s possible to get this government to change direction.”
Community and Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney today announced that after more than seven months of examining handing over care to private operators, which might have involved moving residents during a pandemic, she decided the current model of care should continue.
The homes being reviewed included Scenic Bow in Calgary, as well as Glenwood, Rosecrest, Hardisty, Woodvale and others in Edmonton. They provide publicly funded and publicly delivered care to children and adults.
“Workers and family members united to fight back against any change to the way care is delivered,” says Barry. “We are delighted with the minister’s decision, but some issues still remain.”
The union is asking for guarantees that new admissions will continue at these homes and that there will be no cuts to the services provided.
“We do not want to see happen to these homes what has been happening at the Michener Centre in Red Deer, where new admissions have been halted, occupancy has gone down and services have been cut,” he says.
“Today, the government has acknowledged these group homes offer the right model of care for families and residents. Will it commit to allowing future vulnerable Albertans to have access to the same services and supports? Will Albertans continue to have the choice of having publicly delivered care?”
Barry adds: “The stress and pain caused by this uncertainty has been immense and unnecessary. We need to ensure vulnerable Albertans and those that love them are not subjected to this again.”
Kevin Barry is available for interviews.
For more information, contact Terry Inigo-Jones, communications officer, 403-831-4394 or firstname.lastname@example.org.