Support workers at the Therapeutic and Education Living Centres Inc. (TELCI), members of CUPE Local 1521-03, are mounting an eleventh-hour campaign to try to hold onto their jobs in order to maintain continuity of services for TELCI residents, many of whom have been in their care for decades. With the help of supporters, family and friends, they’ve been going door-to-door in a campaign to pressure the Liberal government to intervene and help the residents of TELCI.
“So far we’ve been to 2,000 homes in Ottawa South with our message about keeping staff and residents together. Our fear is that, once the by-election is over, the Liberals won’t care what the community thinks,” said Joyce Nolan, spokesperson for the staff at TELCI, members of CUPE Local 1521-03. “The fact is that, after July 30, when we are all laid off, these residents, our friends as well as our clients, will be cared for by strangers and the results can be catastrophic.”
The residents have visual and developmental disabilities and requireround-the-clocksupports. On July 30, responsibility for that carewill be assumed by two different agencies. While residents are promised they will remain in the current TELCI residences, they will no longerbe supported by support workers they have worked with for decades and who have almost become extended family for them. Instead, those workers, members of CUPE Local 1521-03, will be on the streets,forced to reapply and compete for their own jobs.
There has been much talk – many promises about continuity of care – both from the Ministry of Community and Social Services and from the TELCI administration. In both cases, however, the emphasis has been on continuity of physical space while the need for continuity in services has been ignored. Without the people who made TELCI residents feel at home for all those years, home will feel like an unfamiliar and alien place to them.
It is not too late for the Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne to do the only thing that will ensure true continuity of care. There is still time for them to take the necessary steps to ensure that TELCI support workers remain where they need and want to be – working with the residents.
For the sake of everyone involved, let’s hope the government is listening.
For further information, please contact:
CUPE Local 1521-03 Unit Chair
CUPE Social Services Coordinator