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WORKERS, CLIENTS, family members and advocacy groups launched a campaign yesterday urging the provincial government to restore $100 million of funding that has been slashed from community-based social services over the last two years, and cancel its plans to cut a further $70 million from next year’s budget.

Campaign organizers say the cuts are having a devastating impact on the lives of our most vulnerable citizens and are creating even more instability in a sector that is already reeling from “endless administrative restructuring.”

The grassroots campaign will focus on mobilizing people in their communities to make their voices heard by contacting their local MLAs, asking people to sign petitions and postcards, and holding events that profile the impact cutbacks are having on local community social services.

HEU member Marilyn Rust, a grandmother of seven, says her grandson with autism needs support to attend school on a daily basis. “It is difficult to believe that the supports he requires to fully participate in his school and his life will still be there once this government has completed its agenda,” she says. “These are our children. They are our future and they deserve more than lip service.”

Linda Korbin, Executive Director of the B.C. Association of Social Workers says her organization supports the government’s vision of community-based services. “But a vision without a commitment to proper funding is no better than saying to vulnerable families, the poor, the disabled, and the sick that they are on their own.”

“We don’t believe that British Columbians want to see the programs that provide vital services in their communities shut down for lack of funding, or the staff of under-funded agencies placed in the unenviable position of determining who receives help and who doesn’t,” she said.

For more information, or to help with the campaign, please check out the
campaign website where you can sign a postcard on-line or contact HEU’s provincial office at 604-438-5000.