CLBC bonus debate a fantasyPosted by Tom Fletcher
Here’s Social Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux, the latest target of a media dogpile over revelations that bonuses paid to Community Living B.C. executives were continued, and rolled into salaries for next year. Cadieux was appointed last year to replace Harry Bloy, whose bumbling defence of cost-cutting at CLBC embarrassed the government.
Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond joined the parade of criticism over the bonuses Friday, noting on CKNW radio that the B.C. government’s own audit showed that there are waiting lists for CLBC services such as day programs for developmentally disabled adults. The money for these bonuses should have gone into services, she said.
Yes, ma’am, there are waiting lists. There are also waiting lists for hip and knee surgery, long-term care for seniors and many other urgent social needs. Does Turpel-Lafond or anyone else seriously believe that imposing a 10 per cent pay cut on a few executives is going to get rid of these waiting lists?
But now this is a “political” story, so it slips the bonds of reality. Minister promised to kill bonuses, then found out she didn’t have the legal authority to cut the contracted pay. Minister broke promise. Media have a villain for their drama. The fact that the B.C. budget is currently a billion dollars in the red, and taxpayers can’t afford a whole range of services that people demand and expect, is forgotten.
And it’s worth stepping back to remember what this bonus program was supposed to do. It was to move developmentally disabled people from group homes to adult adoption arrangements where that is practical. The group home model is a smaller version of the old big institution model, where three shifts of unionized staff supervise people and provide activities for them. Group homes are necessary for those whose condition makes them a risk to themselves and others, but not for everyone. For some developmentally disabled people, an adoption arrangement is the closest thing they will have to a home and family.
Yes, the adult adoption model is to save money. Yes, bonus programs are a private sector approach to creating efficiencies. Yes, there are risks that people in adoption situations can be neglected or abused. Those risks exist in group homes and seniors’ care homes as well.
Bring back the bonus program.