VON shutdown casts doubt on future of N.L. community programs

What will happen to programs such as Meals on Wheels home care visits, and flu clinics is uncertain following VON's announcement it's ceasing operations in the province.

33 VON employees in the province now out of work

Corner Brook is one of three VON office locations in the province. (CBC)

The surprise announcement Wednesday that the Victorian Order of Nurses is ceasing operations in Newfoundland and Labrador leaves 33 people out of work, and a huge gap in the community programs it operated.

"Some services will cease immediately, while others will wind down in the coming days and weeks, and we're working through that with our funders," said Jo-Anne Poirier, president and CEO of the non-profit organization.

Poirier did not offer timelines on when specific programs in Newfoundland and Labrador would close. VON provided a myriad of services, from Meals on Wheels to seniors' home care. 

"We understand that those programs are very successful and very important, and it was a tough decision to make," said Poirier.

"We have been dealing with the government, and they are going to be seeking alternative ways to offer those services."

Out of work

The five full-time employees and 28 casual employees worked at VON's three offices in St. John's, Gander and Corner Brook.

"I've been talking with employees, clients and partners affected by the changes, and they have been my first and primary concern," said Poirier.

VON is also pulling out of five other provinces and focusing its efforts in Nova Scotia and Ontario.

"We had to look at what sites were affordable to continue offering, where we were not losing money. And those were the tough decisions we had to make," said Poirier.

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