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Residents protest cuts
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 16 décembre 2010
Photo Marie Cicchini

Citizens called for help at the Côte-des-Neiges-NDG borough council meeting in order to preserve front-line services offered by community workers whose positions are being abolished this year by the CSSS Cavendish.

The full-time community organizer for PALV/Homecare for the last 17 years retired last May, and the position was abolished in October.

The present community worker, who carried out extremely important community work at both CLSC NDG and CLSC René Cassin, was advised that he would be laid off as of Dec. 31, 2010. His community worker job went from a full-time position in 2005 to a part-time contract position in December 2007. The full-time position was never posted.

The laid-off worker was the coordinator of the group grocery program, senior outings, the free income tax program, Rosh Hashanah and Passover food baskets, and training for new volunteers in homecare and health promotion (depression, suicide and safety counselling). He was a community liaison contact for citizens, not-for-profit organizations, nine HLM tenant committees and clinical staff.

“There are 20,000 seniors on the CSSS Cavendish territory, as well as many people with visual, auditory and mobility problems,” said Grace Moore on behalf of HLM Claude-de-Mestral.
The 2010 Quebec budget was to slash just over $33 million from the administrative costs of local health care spending in 2010. David Levine, director of the Montreal Regional Health Agency, insisted that the cuts would be mainly to training and travel budgets and would have no impact on front-line services.

Lianne Kagan, president of Saint-Raymond’s HLM tenant association, said that residents are fed up with “a dictatorial, non-transparent organization called CSSS Cavendish” and will march in the spring of 2011 if the three-day per week community worker position is not reinstated.

“Executive Director Francine Dupuis, President Alan Maislin and the Population members of the CSSS Cavendish board have not organized meetings with us, the citizens, in order to consult the community about their fiscal challenges and intended cuts,” explained Kagan.

A motion requesting that the management of CSSS Cavendish endeavour to avoid cutting its staff will be sent to the local members of the National Assembly, to the minister of Health and Social Services Yves Bolduc, to the minister responsible for Seniors Marguerite Blais, and to district MNA Kathleen Weil.

Susan Clarke, chair of the Housing Committee for the borough, explained that the borough council agreed to help because of its ongoing relationship with community workers through the housing committee, which requires meetings every couple of months.

[Marie Cicchini]

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