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

Couple selling fake jewelry in Fraser Lake, say RCMP

A man and woman have been defrauding local residents, offering fake jewelry for sale

Gitxsan forming cross-sector salmon management team

Nation again declares closure of fishery in territory for 2019

Editorial: The Speaker shouldn’t be an MLA

Time to re-evaluate the Speaker position

Column: condition of cows after winter feeding

The protein content of winter feed is important, says rancher David Zirnhelt

Concept designs for Vanderhoof’s new CNC campus unveiled

Community was invited to provide feedback at a public engagement session Dec. 6

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

Scientist awarded $100K for work on Arctic contaminants that led to ban

Derek Muir has received the $100,000 Weston Family Prize for his research that showed those carcinogens were able to move into the Arctic.

Manhunt continues for France shooter

Suspected gunman named, had long police record

‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘Shining’ added to National Film Registry

“These cinematic treasures must be protected because they document our history, culture, hopes and dreams.”

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

Most Read