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OTTAWA At 6:00 a.m. this morning, August 7th, residents and staff of Ottawa Valley Autistic Homes (OVAH) were confronted with private security personnel, informing all staff in the residences to leave the premises.

This represents a new low for this agency and for the Eves government, illustrating their total disregard for the care and support of citizens with disabilities in this province, says Dan Pike, president of Local 2862 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). The residents were already facing an uncertain future, as the homes were slated to close in September with no proper planning in place to ensure quality and continuity of care now they are being terrorized in their own homes.

The security guards, from LPI (London Protection International), a private scab (replacement worker) protection company, also turned away employees who showed up for work this morning, effectively locking out 80 behavioural counsellors, team leaders and therapists who care for autistic adults in the Ottawa area. OVAH was slated for closure in September.

The board of directors of OVAH resigned in April, after refusing to implement a series of recommendations to improve services and infrastructure at OVAH residences. The Conservatives then appointed an interim board to oversee the dismantling of the agency.

The arrival of thugs and the loss of caregivers whove spent years building personal relationships with these residents is nothing less than an attack on some of our most vulnerable citizens, says Pike. The residents with autism need stability and routine, and this disruption will cause irreparable setbacks. Some of these residents have lived together for 15 years, and now their homes are being destroyed.

Members of CUPE Local 2862 will be meeting to discuss their next steps in fighting for the proper care and support for residents of OVAH. As part of their community campaign to save services for autistic adults, they have called on concerned citizens to lobby local politicians and in particular, the minister of Community, Family and Childrens Services, Brenda Elliott, to urge her to personally intervene in this case.

OVAH is the only agency in Ottawa providing residential care and vocation programs for adults with autism, says Pike. This whole process has been a slap in the face for residents and their families and loved ones.


For further information, please contact:

Dan Pike, President CUPE Local 2862, 613-293-3535
Mert McDonald, CUPE National Rep., 613-237-0115
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications, 416-292-3999