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Community Living B.C. leaders given second term

Jul 10 2012

The B.C. government has reappointed the chairwoman and four directors of Community Living B.C.'s board less than a year after the agency admitted losing its way.

Social Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux announced the reappointments Friday, saying the incumbent directors will provide needed continuity as CLBC works to improve services for adults with developmental disabilities. She also named one new director.

"I've been working with the board now for nine months and they do understand better than most the challenges that we're dealing with at CLBC," Cadieux said. "I feel confident in their ability to assist us to get the necessary work done, and I think it's important to provide that stability during this time when there is so much change and so much that we're working on doing."

Board members serve three-year terms, and the minister has the option of extending them for three additional years.

Board chairwoman Denise Turner was given a second term on the 10-member board along with Mark Duncan, Norah Flaherty, Ernest Malone and Arn van Iersel.

John McCulloch, former vice-president of the Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports and former president of the Whole Dyslexia Society, was named to the board for the first time.

Community Living B.C. and its board came under heavy fire last year for pushing people out of group homes in an effort to save money and deal with a growing list of people waiting for services. In other cases, young people faced losing needed services once they turned 19 and CLBC took control of their care.

"On some occasions, CLBC lost sight of its core values and created stress and anxiety for individuals and their families," an interim report by the agency stated last November.

The problems prompted several reviews. Cadieux's predecessor was demoted, the former chief executive officer departed, earlier this year the government announced a $40-million boost in the agency's budget and a 12-point plan for renewal.

NDP critic Nicholas Simons questioned the government's commitment to real change when the same directors who oversaw many of the initial problems are given a second term.

"I don't see any real commitment to change other than buzzwords," he said. "It doesn't give me a lot of confidence that exactly the same people are making the same kinds of decisions informed by the same kinds of perspective."

Simons reiterated his party's call for an external review of Community Living B.C., saying that's the only way the public will have confidence that services to people with developmental disabilities will be improved.

lkines@timescolonist.com

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