Manitoba

Youth addictions treatment centre cutting 4 staff positions

An addictions treatment facility for young people near Portage la Prairie will cut four full-time positions as the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba reallocates its resources.

Laid-off employees offered other positions within Addictions Foundation of Manitoba

An addictions treatment centre for youth near Portage la Prairie plans to cut four full-time positions by Nov. 1. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

An addictions treatment facility for young people near Portage la Prairie will cut four full-time positions as the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba reallocates its resources.

The 14-bed Compass Residential Youth Program offers a six-week treatment program for young people. AFM says the facility is not at capacity and there is no waiting list to get in, so the layoffs will not affect client care or safety.

"We've taken a great deal of time to assess and make this determination. This isn't based on one point in time. It's not related to one event or one circumstance," said chief executive officer Ben Fry.

After the cuts, the centre will still offer 14 in-house treatment beds, youth care workers, counsellors, nursing, a learning co-ordinator, a supervisor, an office assistant, physicians and psychiatrists.

The union representing more than 300 staff at the AFM says the foundation is struggling with a $2.7-million budget shortfall. 

Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union president Michelle Gawronsky says the layoffs come at a time when resources to meet a growing addiction crisis are scarce.

"These cuts at Compass make it more difficult to address the need for addictions services,"  Gawronsky wrote in a statement to CBC News. "This is very concerning as the mounting issues our youth are dealing with are often complex and require additional resources.  Meth- and opiod-related substance abuse is at a crisis level in this province, which means more people are seeking treatment."

The foundation says it is working with affected staff members to find them other employment.

"We're working with those staff, who were informed yesterday, to find other employment options within AFM. And we do have opportunities, so we are working with them and the union to make that a possibility for these staff," Fry said.

The changes are expected to take effect by Nov. 1.

AFM says it is working with local First Nation agencies, health authorities, schools and other organizations in an effort to connect with youth with addictions.

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