Pressure grows for disability support

A B.C. Liberal MLA has joined opposition calls for an overhaul of services to developmentally disabled people.

Premier Christy Clark and Social Development MInister Stephanie Cadieux are under fire over growing caseloads and turmoil at Community Living B.C.

VICTORIA – A B.C. Liberal MLA has joined opposition calls for an overhaul of services to developmentally disabled people, as the provincial agency responsible struggles with a growing and aging caseload.

NDP MLAs called in the legislature Monday for an outside review of Community Living B.C., the agency responsible for developmentally disabled people once they are adults. B.C. Liberal MLA Randy Hawes rejected the NDP motion as “too simplistic,” but said his constituents need more help than they are getting.

“There are people who have looked after their kids forever, and they’re aging out,” Hawes told reporters after an emotional debate in the legislature. “They’re 80 years old with 50- and 60-year-old children who need to have some service, and we never knew they existed.”

The board of directors of Community Living B.C. fired CEO Rick Mowles on Friday, after a series of controversies including the announced closure of a work program for developmentally disabled people at a recycling facility in Maple Ridge. CLBC has been phasing out some group homes as facilities and residents have aged, moving to home-share arrangements with contracted caregivers.

During legislature debate, Hawes described one family whose developmentally disabled son grew to more than six feet tall and became violent as he reached his 20s. He was put in a home-share but that lasted only two weeks.

“It was a fight, a real hard fight, to find a space for him,” Hawes said. “Definitely, he has to be in a group home.”

Surrey-Panorama MLA Stephanie Cadieux was appointed social development minister in September, replacing Burnaby-Lougheed MLA Harry Bloy in the ministry responsible for CLBC. Cadieux said Monday she supports the CLBC board’s decision to make changes, and she does not agree with the NDP’s demand for an outside review of the agency’s operation.

“That’s my job as minister, to dig in and see what’s going on,” Cadieux said. “I’m doing that.”

In question period, NDP MLAs continued to hammer the government over the closure of 65 group homes and the growing wait list for CLBC services. Developmentally disabled children receive support from the Ministry of Children and Families until they turn 19, and then must apply to CLBC.

Hawes described one constituent, a man in his 70s with a developmentally disabled son in his 50s. His wife now suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and the man told Hawes his three days of respite care are no longer enough.

Just Posted

Here’s what Fort St. James councillors refused to hear

Citizens express frustration and anger

Citizens ejected from Municipal Hall – Locked out

Mayor refuses to allow discussion on controversial Bylaw regarding marijuana

UPDATED: 9 killed, 16 injured after van hits pedestrians in Toronto

Toronto police say nine people have died and 16 are injured

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Vancouver to rake in $30 million in empty homes tax in first year

The tax is the first of its kind in Canada, and was intended to address the city’s near-zero vacancy rate

B.C.’s snowpack continues to increase, melting delayed

River Forecast Centre official says sudden melting further into the season could cause flooding

Another B.C. First Nation voices support for Kinder Morgan pipeline

Simpcw First Nation claims people living on one-third of pipeline route support the project

Malicious Monster Truck Tour coming to Northwest B.C. this summer

It’s the first time in 20 years monster trucks have rolled past Prince George for a northern show

Protesters argue both sides of B.C.’s SOGI curriculum at teachers’ union office

The sexual orientation and gender identity program was launched as a pilot project last year

Prankster broadcasts fake nuclear threat in Winnipeg

The audio recording on Sunday warned of a nuclear attack against Canada and the United States

Most Read