People with disabilities in a Ridge Meadows supported work program will be out of work if the province withdraws support after 20 years.
A program that supports people with disabilities working at the Ridge Meadows Recycling Depot will no longer be funded by CLBC because, executive director Kim Day was told, the program is an old model.
…But Community Living BC’s director of regional operations with the Fraser region, Carla Thiesen, said CLBC is “repurposing” its dollars to ensure people with disabilities get “real jobs for real pay.”
Bill Elder, Board member of the Ridge Meadows Recycling non-profit society, said:
We were notified basically about three weeks ago, the end of August, that our program was terminated and when we met with two people from Community Living, we were absolutely shocked.
…They considered our program not real work for real pay. To suggest that it is not real work is an insult to the people doing the work. This is a chance for these people to do meaningful work in the public eye.
Harry Bloy, puissant master of of BC’s third largest ministry, explained the situation:
Ahmmm. The decision, ah, was made by Community Living British Columbia. Ah, the final decision hasn’t been made in fact. Community Living BC is meeting with the parents and the society. Ahm, to, ahh, to come up to a solution with this. They’re all working together, ahh, to ahh, retain this program.
You, you know, the meeting has been, a meeting is planned and I believe the date is set. I don’t have the date. And, when I first heard about it, it was explained that they wanted to meet before the end of October and then it was, it was extended to the end of December so that they could have this meeting with the clients and with their parents, family support group and the society.
There you have it, admittedly with some absence of clarity. Bloy’s confusion may have been because of him misreading hand signals from ministerial staff who were listening to the speaker phone on which the interview was conducted.
This particular work program was terminated by a decision of CLBC, but the decision is not yet made and every party, except the actual subjects who have been excluded, is working together to retain the program unilaterally terminated with no notice. Now, it will close in December, giving the workers a chance to search for a place where they can perform real work for real pay. However, public push back is so strong, the provincial government might be forced to do the right thing. That is to continue the current effort or put meaningful, actual alternatives into place before unsettling lives of 29 people who are already doing real work for real money.
Incidentally, annual remuneration of Harry Bloy would fund the actual wages of more than half the disabled persons employed at the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot supported work program.
Categories: BC Liberals