CUPE Local 600-3, representing workers at Valley View Centre in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan are raising concerns following a government announcement that residents will be relocated over the next four years. The government plans to replace the current program with group homes and expanded day programming.
“Our members care deeply about the residents,” said Jacalyn Luterbach, president of CUPE 600-3. “Many staff take residents on outings like fishing trips and to movies with their own families. Some even take them home to spend Christmas. They consider them to be part of their extended family.”
The relocation will take place within the next four years. Residents range from those who are able to live independently with support, to those who require around the clock care. The government has stated that employees “will also play a very important role in this planning.”
Luterbach agrees that CUPE members should be highly involved in whatever process takes place but notes that the announcement was made before all staff caring for residents had the chance to hear about it. She is concerned that some residents have complex needs that require much more care than would be available either in a group home setting or in a day program.
“Ultimately, those affected most are the residents,” says Luterbach. “CUPE members know each resident individually and along with their families, have their best interests in mind. We know their needs and the care each individual must have, and we intend to advocate fully on their behalf.”
CUPE 600–3 represents 300 members employed at Valley View Centre. These workers provide residential and day program services to Valley View residents who have intellectual and physical disabilities. Services provided include laundry, dietary, housekeeping, facilities maintenance and administration, lab services, dental, therapy, nursing care, and more.