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Staff layoffs and resident evictions illustrate the tragedy of closing seniors’ care facilities

Forty-five care aides and therapeutic and food services workers at Burnaby’s Cascade Residence received layoff notices late yesterday as the Fraser Health Authority moves ahead with the Campbell government’s reckless scheme for seniors’ care and prepares to close the 205-bed extended care facility.

“This is another example of the Campbell Liberals’ cruel and cold-hearted policies for seniors’ care,” says Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) spokesperson Chris Allnutt.

“The layoff notices mean that B.C.’s public health system is losing skilled, dedicated caregivers when the need for high quality health services to seniors is increasing.

“It makes the closure of Cascade all the more tragic. Not only are Burnaby seniors losing a good, public care facility, they are also losing very experienced, caring staff,” Allnutt says.

Management representatives have advised HEU that the Cascade caregivers will not be laid off in reverse order of seniority. The union’s suggestions that affected members be allowed to retire or take voluntary layoffs have been refused.

The layoffs come in the wake of confirmation that Cascade Residence will shut its doors March 31, 2003. Evictions of the facility’s frail elderly were accelerated in recent months and there are now fewer than 65 residents living there.

The Fraser Health Authority is closing Cascade Residence after reneging on an earlier deal to replace it with 200 new multi-level care beds and assisted living spaces in Burnaby.