Red Deer’s Michener Centre may be one of four facilities targeted for job cuts by the UCP government, says the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.
Vice president Kevin Barry said the province could be looking to outsource 85 to 92 maintenance jobs and some of them could be at the Red Deer centre for adults who are developmentally disabled, as well as Edmonton Law Courts, the federal building in Edmonton, and Spy Hill Campus with the University of Calgary.
Consultations between the government and the AUPE are set to continue into April.
“We know the services that Michener Centre provides is certainly unique,” Barry said.
“We’re hopeful we can give (government) some options that they can look at. To date, no decisions have been made.”
A statement from Alberta Infrastructure said government is exploring potential changes to how maintenance services are delivered for several government buildings, including Michener Centre South where there are eight workers.
“We are exploring a number of options and we will take the time to consult with the AUPE to hear their feedback and carefully assess this information. It is part of our responsibility to review all programs and services to make sure they are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible,” the statement said.
Barry said the community fought extremely hard to keep Michener open in recent years when the province wanted it shut down. Last year Michener dental services and funding to Camp L.G. Barnes, located on Gull Lake, were eliminated.
“This is an indication that they’re slowly trying to kill it off.”
He said Albertans want facilities like Michener, but they end up on a waiting list and are shoved into a private sector facility that doesn’t provide the same level of service available at Michener.
“I don’t believe they’ve consulted with families of the Michener Centre. We know what small changes do to folks in those facilities. It’s not good for their well being.”
He said the province is not creating jobs as it claims, but is destroying jobs by handing them over to the private sector.
“Costs don’t change because (the private sector) still have those facilities to maintain, but it puts more money in the hands of corporations, as opposed to people who will spend it in the community.”
Barry said post secondaries will also lose 750 jobs across the province according to the new budget, which could be another blow to Red Deer.
“During the post-pandemic recovery we’re going to need post-secondary institutions to retain people in this province. To see those cuts coming to post-secondary doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”
Red Deer College has already been denied university status, he said.
“Driving people away from their communities to seek post-secondary education is not beneficial.”