The Victorian Order of Nurses is shutting down operations in New Brunswick and five other provinces and will continue operating in only Nova Scotia and Ontario.

VON offices were closed Wednesday when employees showed up for work.

The workers found out they'd be losing their jobs on a conference call at midday.  

"It was a great place to work. and I loved my job," said Sheree Trecartin, a VON nurse in Saint John for 35 years. "As do all the nurses in VON. And to us, it's about out patients and good quality care."

Trecartin was one year from retirement, and can't believe it's over. 

"To have this happen, the way it happened, it's just devastating."

In New Brunswick, 25 full-time employees will lose their jobs, along with 93 part-time and casual employees.

Programs affected in New Brunswick include:

  • Healthy Baby and Me, with approximately 600 clients, ending.
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Centre of Excellence, approximately 250 clients/year, to close or transition on Dec. 23.
  • Provincial youth treatment, 5-6 clients weekly, ending.
  • Workplace flu clinics and wellness programs, up to 50,000 clients per year, ending.
  • Pre-travel clinics, foot care clinics for walk-in visitors, closing.
  • Adult day program in Oromocto, 2-5 clients per day, closing
  • Adult day program in Fredericton, 12 clients per day, to close Dec. 9.
  • Veterans' assessments in Moncton, approximately 500 clients per year, ending.
  • Veterans' visiting nursing, approximately 500 visits per year, ending.
  • Veterans' foot care, approximately 2,100 visits per year, ending.

VON Canada is also decreasing the size of its head office.

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Saint John's Ann Bone is one of the thousands of New Brunswick who have been using the services of the VON. (CBC)

At the Saint John office, Ann Bone showed up, but found the blinds drawn and the door locked.

"I was just on my way by and I wanted to make an appointment to get my husband's feet looked at, and also to get some blood work done," she explained.

Now, there's no indication who will provide these services to Bone and the thousands of other New Brunswick patients and clients of the VON.

The organization has filed for protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act for VON Canada, as well as for its eastern region and western regional organizations.

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This closure notice is posted at the VON office in the Brookside Mall in Fredericton. (CBC)

VON programs in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador will also be shut down.

Prior to the announcement, VON Canada's web page stated it had 5,000 staff and 9,000 volunteers in more than 1,200 communities across the country.

The organization said it would be reducing the number of employees in its head office by 23 per cent.

The VON is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization that provides a range of health and home care services to people of all ages.

A statement released by VON said the organization has been challenged to serve a growing number of clients with finite resources.

"We have had to make some hard choices about where we are able to make a difference in the lives of the greatest number of people," said Jo-Anne Poirier, president of VON Canada in a statement.

"We are closing our smaller operations in six provinces and streamlining our head office to free up capacity to respond to opportunities in Ontario and Nova Scotia, where we believe we have the best opportunities for sustainability and growth."