OTTAWA – Workers and residents at the Therapeutic and Education Living Centres Inc. (TELCI), an Ottawa agency providing residential services for adults with developmental and visual disabilities, are shocked the Wynne government is not stepping in to stop staff layoffs that will leave residents without continuity of care by the end of the month and force staff to compete for their own jobs with a new agency, said Joyce Nolan, CUPE 1521-03 Unit Chair.
“For eight months, family members, community allies and front-line staff have been fighting the July 31st closure,” said Nolan. With thousands of families on waitlists to access services, and TELCI residents having lived together for decades, it is outrageous that the Liberal government is closing the agency. TELCI residents were promised continuity of care through the closure, including being allowed to remain in their current homes with their support workers, but as of today, there is nothing in place to make this a reality.
As of today’s date, the new agencies that will be providing services remain unknown, leaving TELCI residents and their families to deal with uncertainty. TELCI workers, 40 women who are now facing layoff notices, are being told they will have to reapply for their own jobs under the auspices of a new service provider. In addition to the imminent crisis confronting TELCI staff, for the adult residents of Ottawa’s TELCI, the closure means losing long-term trusted relationships established over many years.
“The Wynne government could easily fix this by making it a condition of their ongoing funding to the new agency that residents continue to be supported by the staff they know and trust after years of care”, said Nolan.
“Residents at TELCI need 24/7 support, which the government funds, and yet the Wynne Liberals shrug their shoulders and look the other way while 40 women support workers lose their jobs and are forced to compete with applicants off the street who do not have a relationship with the TELCI residents.”
On July 31st, responsibility for support for the residents will be assumed by an as-yet-unnamed agency. Residents will remain in the current TELCI residences, but their support workers will not be with them. Instead, the staff, members of CUPE 1521-03 will be unemployed and forced to reapply and compete for their own jobs. Coincidentally, August 1st is the date of a provincial by-election in Ottawa South where the Liberals hope to save what was Dalton McGuinty’s seat in the Ontario Legislature.
Although worried and discouraged, TELCI workers say they are still hoping someone in Kathleen Wynne’s government will step up and save not only their jobs, but the continuity of care residents deserve.
For further information:
Joyce Nolan, CUPE Local 1521-03 Unit Chair: 613-858-3051
Sarah Declerck, CUPE Social Services Coordinator: 416-830-9537
Barry Blake, CUPE Communications: 613-852-3279