Government to shut down Welfare Rights Centre

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CUPE angered at decision to close doors

Cheyenne Geysen
Op-Ed Editor

Support for those who may be considered less fortunate in the city of Regina will soon become less.

The Ministry of Social Services intends to close the doors on the Regina Welfare Rights Centre, an agency which has provided advocacy and support for low-income people in the city for more than 35 years. The Centre helps those on social assistance find affordable housing, manage finances, and provides family support.

The centre was staffed by members of CUPE 4973. On Nov. 25, they learned that the centre’s funding would be cut in 90 days. No reason was given.   

“It’s a decision that will hurt the most vulnerable people in our community, those most in need of services,” said CUPE staff representative Guy Marsden.

CUPE 4973 president Pam Belanger is frustrated with the latest blow for the union, which has been facing threats and intimidation from the government.

“We want the government to hold our bound accountable for service delivery – but abolishing our agency harms the people we’ve worked so hard to help,” she said.

Lea Bage, centre staff and local union secretary-treasurer adds, “It’s not fair to our clients or to the staff who have served this community for many years. Our clients and core neighbourhoods need those services and we need those jobs.”

CUPE wants the Ministry to reconsider its decision, which may have stemmed from a management change-over. The new management is supported by an inexperienced volunteer board and has created a “corrosive work environment” for staff.

“You don’t close the legislature because of one bad MLA and you should not be closing the Welfare Rights Centre because of bad management,” said Marsden.

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