BC Association for Community Living
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Danielle Kelliher, Director of Communications, BCACL
604-777-9100 ext. 527


Minister's Comments on Client Support Team Misguided


New Westminster, B.C., November 17, 2011 - The BC Association for Community Living (BCACL) is extremely disappointed at recent comments made by the Minister of Social Development concerning calls received by her ministry’s Client Support Team. According to Minister Cadieux, because the team has only received 63 complaints, the crisis is “not maybe as large as some would like us to believe.”

The creation of the Client Support Team was problematic from the beginning. Created and announced seemingly overnight, without any consultation at a time when confidence in Community Living BC (CLBC) is at an all-time low, it was yet another indication of the government’s unwillingness to acknowledge serious systemic failures within CLBC. But it is even more troubling that the Minister has used the ad hoc initiative to downplay the seriousness of the crisis in community living.

Faith Bodnar, BCACL Executive Director states, “Given what many families have experienced, why would they trust this new so-called team? What assurances do they have that their issues will be resolved fairly? The term “client” is off-putting, never mind the fact that it remains unclear how inquiries and complaints are being handled.”

“It is unfortunate that the Minister has seriously underestimated the power of families to bring issues to the fore on a number of fronts”, says BCACL President and family member Annette Delaplace. “She is instead choosing to diminish and dismiss the real stories of families from across the province who are in crisis. I don’t understand this government’s reluctance to come up with serious, well thought-out solutions that are equitable, consultative, transparent and adequately funded.”

BCACL representatives visited and met with individuals, families and service providers from across BC earlier this year. We spoke with many families who are struggling to provide their loved ones with the bare essentials; many do not have the time or energy to visit the Minister’s website and read her press releases. As the Minister has made no attempt other than the press release to contact the thousands of families about the Client Support Line, it is preposterous to conclude that only 63 families in B.C. are unhappy with the services they receive or don’t receive. Further, that the majority of those few resolved cases resulted in a decision to increase supports shows that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Client Support Team is a hollow and vastly inadequate response to what is an obvious crisis for people with developmental disabilities and their families. For the Minister to jump to any conclusions about the fact that only 63 families have connected with it is ill advised.

BCACL and our community partners remain waiting and willing to work with government to come up with real solutions and positive change. We call on the Premier to show real leadership and launch an independent external review of CLBC that includes the voices of families, individuals and community.
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