KARLA BERNARD: Concerns about the lack of transparency over how King government is making decisions to address mental health, addictions, and shelter services

Charlottetown, PE – Today the King government announced the Community Outreach Centre will have a new operator beginning April 18th, 2022. According to a release by the province, operations will be assumed by the Adventure Group with oversight by community partners.

“The news that government is more widely engaging community partners to help Islanders needing mental health, addictions, and shelter services is encouraging. The Adventure Group is a well-respected community organization and I look forward to seeing their vision for the Outreach Centre,” said Karla Bernard, Official Opposition Critic for Social Development and Housing. “However, there are a number of important questions left unanswered in government’s announcement.”

The release provides no mention of the accountability framework that the Adventure Group must operate within. It also does not demonstrate or explain the government’s role in oversight.

“Despite promising to do things differently, the King government has struggled to be transparent and upfront.” observed Bernard. “In November 2020 they signed an untendered $3.7 million, three-year contract with The Salvation Army for it to operate Bedford MacDonald House, Smith Lodge, and Community Outreach Centre without clearly defining expectations for reporting or provision of services. Now, we have another group appointed to do the work without any public disclosure of the process of how they were selected. There is also no disclosure of what happens to the money that was given to The Salvation Army.”

 

Government after government on Prince Edward Island have failed to adequately address mental health, addictions, and shelter services. This government, especially Minister of Social Development and Housing Brad Trivers, has failed to understand or meet the challenges thoughtfully or seriously.

“The Official Opposition has been advocating for Islanders needing these critical services and support,” said Bernard. “We must ensure our partners are able to succeed so that Islanders can succeed. They must have the necessary and appropriate investment to provide the help we have tasked them to provide. This is why we must have a full, transparent process that outlines the expectations, the investment, the goals, the benchmarks, and the accountability framework to determine how well the needs of Islanders accessing the centre are being met.”