Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

July 02, 2009 15:48 ET

Bed Closures at Brockville Mental Health Facility "outrageous" says OPSEU

BROCKVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 2, 2009) - The closure of 90 beds at Brockville Mental Health Centre and the resulting layoff of over 240 mental health workers is a stunning blow to both the community and the economy in the area, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is demanding that the McGuinty government step up and restore funding to keep these critically needed beds open.

"In 1997, the Harris Conservatives recommended the closure of this facility, and it didn't happen because these services are vital to Eastern Ontario" Thomas said. "Now, they plan to cut beds because the McGuinty government refuses to make up a $3 million shortfall in funding to the area Local Health Integration Network. It's outrageous."

Thomas goes on to say that for over a year he has offered the union's help to lobby the government for additional funding. That help was ignored. "I was told by George Weber, President and CEO of Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, that this was all secret, so we couldn't help. This 'secret' has resulted in devastating cuts to patient services and jobs that this area desperately needs. I guess the government would rather pay out nearly a million dollars in severance to one person in E-Health than spend $3 million to save services and 240 full-time jobs."

David McDougall, President of OPSEU Local 439 at Brockville, says that the bed closures will seriously harm mental health services in the area. "Over the next 18 months, we are going to lose some of the most highly-skilled mental health workers in this country while Ottawa and Kingston gets a few additional jobs," McDougall said. "This is the time to be investing in services like these, not making blind cuts based on nothing but figures on a balance sheet. Health Minister David Caplan needs to seriously re-think his priorities on mental health care in Ontario."

Contact Information

  • OPSEU Local 439
    David McDougall
    OPSEU Communications
    Don Ford