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October 18, 2011

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Rick Mowles dismissed as CEO of Community Living BC

BURNABY—CEO of Community Living BC (CLBC), Rick Mowles, has had his last day on the job.

CLBC announced October 14, that Mowles had been dismissed from his position at CLBC effective immediately. The agency denies that it is a response to bad publicity and said that Mowles was let go because board members feel that the agency needs to seek new leadership to help it move forward.

His dismissal comes after months of chaos in the agency and increased pressure from the NDP for the provincial government to step up and support adults with developmental disabilities and their families.

Saturday, a rally was held in support of stopping the cuts to CLBC. NDP democrats joined families and self-advocates outside the Vancouver Public Library to protest the cuts and lack of support supplied by CLBC. Opposition leader Adrian Dix was on hand and criticized the Liberals for creating so much chaos within CLBC.  Click here to see the Global video from the rally.

Dix has been an important advocate for families in B.C. who have had to deal with four different social development ministers in the past year and continuing chaos within CLBC. He acknowledges that there are many more resources in the CLBC youth system and when individuals with developmental disabilities turn 19 they can face some pretty serious problems. The opposition leader is calling for an independent review of CLBC and a moratorium to group home closures.

Monday, Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast and opposition critic for CLBC, supported his party’s leader and introduced a motion in the legislature calling for the closure of group homes to come to a stop. He said in an interview on CBC radio yesterday afternoon, that group home closures are just the “tip of the iceberg” and that the moratorium is just the first step towards undoing all the chaos within CLBC.

It is believed that a halt in group home closures would allow time for an independent external review to take place and that this would help to ensure that no irreversible damage is done.

In the past three years 65 group homes in B.C. have been closed but, more than 2,800 people remain on wait-lists for government services across B.C.

Community Living B.C. is the government agency that pays to provide services to adults with disabilities. Mowles had been the chief executive officer of the agency since its creation in 2005. Doug Woollard, the current vice-president, will act as the interim CEO until a permanent appointment is made.

CUPE represents 2,500 workers in B.C.'s Community Social Services sector.  Community social services workers provide childcare for families, support children and adults with developmental disabilities, counter domestic and sexual violence, conduct parenting courses, assist immigrants and refugees, provide community employment training, deliver services to youth, coordinate housing for seniors, and assist people with mental health and addiction issues.

Link to petition against CLBC cuts: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stopthecutsnow/

Link to B.C. Community Living Action Group: http://communitylivingaction.org/

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