The Ontario Public Service Employees Union says the closure of the Cecil Facer Youth Centre (CFYC) in Sudbury will pave the way for a detention centre for adult women to be built on the same property.
OPSEU also said the closure of the 16-bed facility for northern male young offenders means young people in custody will be even farther from their families, and is devastating for the centre’s staff.
"This is yet another short-sighted closure of a facility for youth who need specialized help in their own communities," said Peter Harding, OPSEU/SEFPO co-chair of the Youth Justice Ministry Employee Relations Committee and a Youth Services Officer. "It's not too late to reverse this bad decision."
The union said it was informed by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services that the grounds of Cecil Facer will be the location of a new 50-bed institution for adult women. Staff displaced by the closure of CFYC will be provided with employment options, the union said.
"Now our members have to decide whether to relocate hours away to keep working with youth, or to change careers and work with adults," said Harding in the news release. "It's an agonizing decision, and so unnecessary. You don't have to move young people in custody or the staff who work with them hours away from their communities."
OPSEU said the land for CFYC was donated to the province by Judge Cecil Facer and his family, “who wanted the land to be used to support youth in conflict with the law. Judge Facer presided over the Sudbury Juvenile and Family Court from 1945 to 1964.”
"We support the employer's efforts to provide more services for women in custody," added Harding. "But not at the expense of northern youth who require services in their own communities."
Cecil Facer is located on South Lane Road off Highway 69 south of the city. The ministry says it opened in 1971 as a training school for boys and became a youth-only secure custody facility in 1985.