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REGINA – The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) wants the health minister to ask the provincial auditor to investigate the financial operations and governance structure of Regina Recovery Homes Inc., a non-profit agency that provides addictions treatment and counselling services in Regina and Indian Head.

The union made the request in a letter delivered to Minister Nilson last Friday.

CUPE, which represents workers at the Detox Centre in Regina and Pine Lodge in Indian Head, says the agency’s financial statements point to the possible misuse of public funds and an apparent conflict of interest involving several directors.

The union documented its concerns in a brief it prepared for the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, which provided nearly $1.5 million to Regina Recovery Homes in 2004. (The brief is available to download at: www.cupe.ca)

We are concerned that public funds are not being adequately safeguarded and the quality of treatment services is suffering,” says CUPE staff rep Andrew Huculak.

CUPE’s review of Regina Recovery Homes financial records found the agency is making significant rental payments to Keystone Enterprises Inc. – which shares some of the same directors as Regina Recovery Homes. The exclusive lease arrangement has been in place since the incorporation of Regina Recovery Homes in 1981.

It certainly raises questions about a possible conflict of interest – questions we hope the provincial auditor will be allowed to investigate and answer,” says James Desjarlais, president of CUPE 4658, which represents workers at the Detox Centre.

Desjarlais stressed the health region must ensure that people dealing with substance abuse have access to quality treatment services.

Earlier this year, the Saskatoon Health Region took over the administration and delivery of Larson House, which provides detox services in that region.

Desjarlais says an investigation of Regina Recovery Homes may require the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region to take similar action.

For more information call:
James B. Desjarlais in Regina at 535-9138;
CUPE staff rep Andrew Huculak at 525-5874.