The Quebec government is committing $6 million in new funding to addiction rehabilitation centres in the province.
The announcement follows the controversial closure of the Mélaric Centre in Saint-André-d'Argenteuil earlier this month, which the centre's administrators blamed on welfare reforms instituted by the province.
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- Rehab clinic blames sudden closure on Quebec government funding cuts
- Quebec welfare cuts worry drug and alcohol rehab centres
The 130-bed clinic was the largest of its kind in Quebec and its sudden closure Jan. 12 forced the relocation of 75 clients who were being treated for alcoholism and drug addiction.
Many were at the centre for court-ordered therapy and had to return to detention centres.
The centre said provincial financing for social aid programs has been cut to the point that it could no longer remain open.
Social aid reforms implemented last year cut monthly social benefits for those enrolled in a rehab program to $200 from $700.
Clients at the Mélaric Centre had been responsible for paying a $150 admission fee and a monthly therapy fee of $400, but the reduction of their provincial benefits to $200 a month made charging such fees "morally unacceptable," the centre's deputy director general said.
The loss of those fees amounted to $350,000 in lost revenue for the centre in 2015.
The new funding will benefit rehab centres that do not have access to provincial funds through a support program for community organizations known as the PSOC.
An estimated 70 centres will benefit from the $6 million.
Nicolas Bédard, director of the Envolée centre and president of Quebec's association of drug-dependency organizations, welcomed the new funding.
"It's a breath of fresh air," he said.