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CUPE members have joined with parents and the community to resist the recently-announced closure of a Montreal centre for people with severe intellectual disabilities. Citing concerns about underpaid and under-qualified staff and inadequate supervision, they are opposing a plan to transfer residents of the Gary Taylor Centre to private facilities.

“This is a purely financial decision that completely ignores the very specific needs of the centre’s residents,” said Tyrone Searles, President of CUPE 1841. “They are trying to find private contractors by placing classified ads in newspapers - as if they had ‘patients for sale’. They are flashing an $80 daily per diem for each resident. Yet that amount could change because the per diems are being standardized across the province.”

“Closing the Centre means the programs and specialized care for our residents will disappear as they are sent to private facilities. If the residents can’t cope and become aggressive or disoriented, they’ll be no back up support or a centre to return to,” added Searles.

Claude Généreux, president of CUPE-Québec and the provincial health and social services council, called on the government to halt the closure of the centre until a comprehensive study on evaluation and funding involving CUPE members has been completed.

“Private homes are springing up left, right and centre,” he said. “Yet from day to day, they don’t know what their funding level will be. It makes no sense.”

“It would be sad if by moving too fast and without proper consultation about the growth of these private facilities, we will have created a new category of ‘Duplessis orphans’,” he warned.