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

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Rossland St. Andrew’s United Church planning for restoration

Rossland’s United Church has received a CBT grant to support a restoration of the Red Roof Church.

Winlaw man dead after collision near Slocan Park

Nelson RCMP are asking for witnesses after Sunday incident

Rossland city council sorts things out with museum

The Rossland Museum Discovery Centre has been growing its funding sources.

Lots to love this week at Joe Hill Coffee House

Here’s more to love from Joe Hill Coffee House and our talented local performers.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Canada rounds out Day 11 earning gold in 2 more events

Comox Valley’s Cassie Sharpe and fan-favourites Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir all earned golds

Trudeau announces two-way $1 billion investment deal with India

Some of India’s biggest companies to invest more than $250 million in Canada in the coming years

’60s Scoop group educates survivors, pushes rejection of federal settlement

Federal government’s compensation proposal includes $50 million for an Indigenous Healing Foundation

As ‘Black Panther’ shows, inclusion pays at the box office

At the box office, inclusion is paying — and often, it’s paying off big time

Washington senator wants B.C. to follow suit and phase out net-pen fish farms

An American ban will be less effective in the shared ecosystem of the Salish Sea, senator says

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

Most Read