Mosse Jaw - On August 1, the Ministry of Social Services gave pink slips to the first seven employees at Valley View Centre, whom it has deemed as not part of core client needs. The first to go are six security services personnel and the Pastoral Care Coordinator.
“We think that ensuring client safety of the clients and providing pastoral support to some of society’s most vulnerable people are valuable services core to providing a supportive environment,” said Jacalyn Luterbach, President of CUPE Local 600-3. “But this decision shows that the Ministry does not share our views.”
One of the workers, Lori Friars, has worked for 33 years at Valley View as the Coordinator of Volunteer and Pastoral Services. “At 10 o’clock on Friday morning my whole life changed,” said Friars. “I still care about the people and the relationships I have developed at Valley View, but I have some tough choices to make about my future.”
Though the Ministry deems the services unnecessary, the job duties may be contracted out to private companies. Union representatives have been told that the security jobs that were abolished would instead be filled by a private company.
“It is even more ironic that there will still be security personnel on site – just contracted out to a third party with no experience to the specialized needs of Valley View,” said Luterbach. “Why lay off trained and qualified staff if the duties are still required?”
Valley View Centre has been a home for Saskatchewan residents with intellectual disabilities since 1955. The centre is a place where people can live a full and rewarding life in a warm and welcoming setting, with all the support and professional services they require. For over two years workers and families have worried about what the plan is for closing Valley View, and what it will mean for clients, workers and the community of Moose Jaw.
“The rest of us who still work there still have no idea when we can expect our layoff notices,” said Luterbach. “These are uncertain times for Valley View, and for the economy of Moose Jaw.”