Groups claim conflict of interest at Community Living BC
Published Tuesday, October 25, 2011 5:43PM PDT
The Ministry of Social Development is looking into reports that senior managers at Community Living BC are "moonlighting" by giving out home-share and care contracts to relatives and friends.
The accusations come from several service-providing agencies and have left advocates for the disabled aghast at what they believe is a conflict of interest.
"They are making decisions about how to allocate resources and on the other hand they are receiving contracts to provide services. You can either be someone who is providing oversight or you can be someone who is providing service. If you're trying to do both at the same time, there are huge conflicts of interest," Dawn Steele of Moms on the Move told CTV News.
Families across the province have complained about cuts to CLBC programs and group home closures for months, and the organization has taken flak because of hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses paid out to top managers to keep costs down.
Stephanie Cadieux, the new social development minister, has ordered an end to the incentives program, and the ministry has told CLBC that an independent person will be looking into its policies regarding conflicts of interest.
The Developmental Disabilities Association says its conflict of interest guidelines would never allow for such a cozy relationship between staff and care providers.
"It's the same person who is funding the position who also has authority in terms of investigating accusations of abuse and providing care. We see this as a very serious conflict of interest, which very much disadvantages the people we support," association director Alanna Hendron said.
CLBC's new CEO Doug Woolard says the organization does have a policy on conflicts of interest, but he doesn't believe it's being violated.
"We respect the right of employees to participate in Community Living activities, such as home sharing. However, we have strict standards of conduct, which requires that those employees disclose that arrangement," he said.
Woolard has only held his position for a matter of days after the previous CEO, Rick Mowles, was fired.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger