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Mental Health Centre issues 14 layoff notices

BY CRAIG GILBERT [email protected] It?s not as bad as it could have been, but it?s not a happy day, either.
BY CRAIG GILBERT

It?s not as bad as it could have been, but it?s not a happy day, either.

Management at the Northeast Mental Health Centre (NEMHC) handed out 14 layoff notices Thursday, but as many as 26 people could have lost their jobs, according to the centre?s executive director of clinical services, Bonnie Rymal.

Working ?very closely? with the Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care, Children and Youth Services and Community and Social Services, NEMHC managed to save 12 positions.

On the chopping block, however, are three full-time developmental clinical service providers, one worker from the clinical integrated children?s division as well as six full-time and four part-time workers at the Pine Gate withdrawal management program.

Rymal noted in some cases the impact of the layoffs on those getting treatment will be offset by the bumping that will occur when seniority rules take effect.

Since a few open positions were kept vacant as a cost-saving measure, the level of service won?t be hit as hard as it would have been, were the centre firing on all cylinders, she said.

Also, the soon-to-be-opened Pine Gate co-location (men and women), with its reduced number of beds and staff complement, will mitigate the impact there.

Only $97,000 of over $626,000 in funding provided in August was to be spent at the discretion of NEMHC; it was used to save one full-time clinical and two part-time clerical jobs.

?We are still working with the province to navigate through the rest of the budget,? said Rymal.

In tightening its priorities with fewer resources available, NEMHC will be focusing on essential diagnostic and counselling, as well as behavioural intervention services, she added. The centre will leave other services within the scope of other organizations within Sudbury?s mental health network to them.

?There are other people in the system who can provide those services,? said Rymal, Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 666 president Peggy Wong is pleased 12 jobs were saved, but disappointed 14 were lost.

The job cut at Pine Gate is of ?grave concern,? she said.

?We will continue to fight and rally for Pine Gate, because that is a crucial service to a vulnerable group of people.?



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