Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

June 23, 2010 17:39 ET

CUPE 3697 Decries the Sudden Shut Down of Community Agency Voices of Positive Women

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 23, 2010) - CUPE 3697 workers at Voices of Positive Women, condemn the sudden closing of the community agency. Voices of Positive Women is a provincial agency that serves women with HIV/AIDS.

"It is a truly appalling situation," said Charlotte Monardo, CUPE National Representative. "Staff, community partners and clients were notified at the last minute – on the very day the agency closed – that Voices of Positive Women was shut down.

"It's a great loss provincially of the only agency that dealt exclusively with the unique issues affecting women who are HIV positive or are living with AIDS. It is ironic that it should come at a time when the health concerns of women worldwide is being openly addressed."

As recently as December 2009 Voices of Positive Women added additional space and remodeled their facility to better service their clients. According to Monardo: "There is obviously a great and growing need for the services offered to clients." 

Management at Voices of Positive Women have maintained that the employees would be treated with "integrity and respect". That is not true. They have been treated with anything but dignity. They were provided notice of closure, and terminations, they were escorted out the door and directed to request an appointment so that arrangements could be made to pick up and remove their personal property. These immigrant, racialized women had no opportunity to ask questions, nor were they given the standard practice of having a union representative present to offer advice, solace, and support.

CUPE 3697 Unit Chair, Kaddu Ndibalwanya, explained that Voices of Positive Women funding came from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, AIDS Bureau (majority funder), City of Toronto, private funders and fund raising events. While there are other agencies that assist those living with HIV/AIDS none are offering services specific to women.

Clients who need assistance can call 416-596-7703. Collect calls will be accepted from individuals outside the GTA. The AIDS Hotline at 1-800-267-7437 (English and 15 languages) or 1-800-267-7432 (French). Clients can also access www.ASO411.ca to locate services available closest to the area in which they live.

"This is a sad day for women's health and health supports in this province," Monardo concluded.

Contact Information

  • CUPE National Representative
    Charlotte Monardo
    416-292-3999 (o); (416) 937-9091 (c)
    or
    CUPE Communications
    Wendy Forbes
    416-292-3999 (o); 416-892-8716 (c)