“Who is going to care for our clients? How will they cope?” asks Theresa Poness, a staff member at the Welfare Rights Centre in Regina.
Speaking at a rally in downtown Regina on January 24, Poness said she and her co-workers, members of CUPE 4973, are worried about how Regina’s most vulnerable citizens will manage when the Centre’s doors close next month.
The Welfare Rights Centre has provided advocacy and support services for people on low incomes for 35 years. But the government plans to terminate the Centre’s funding on February 25.
That doesn’t sit well with CUPE and anti-poverty activists. They have been trying to arrange a meeting with Social Services Minister June Draude for months, but have received no response. Yesterday, they took their concerns to the front door of the Social Services building.
“Silence is not an appropriate response from a Minister,” CUPE National President Paul Moist told the rally. Moist attended the rally with National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux and CUPE staff. “People on low-incomes in this city need these services and our members need these jobs.” He urged the Minister to arrange a meeting.
Anti-poverty activist Peter Gilmer told the crowd, “The city desperately needs to maintain the valuable work of the Welfare Rights Centre,” noting other anti-poverty groups don’t have the capacity to handle the extra workload.
“Advocacy is a critically important service,” Gilmer said. “Those with wealth and power can protect their own interests. We need more people, not less, to defend those who cannot. We must ensure these services continue,” he told the rally.
- For more information, check out CUPE’s facebook page Support Welfare Rights Workers