The provincial government announced the closure of Prince George Youth Custody Services yesterday. The closure will impact nearly 50 BCGEU members employed at the worksite, most of whom work in corrections (Component 1), as well as four Component 6 members and three administrative professionals (Component 12).
In this surprise announcement, government cited declining intake numbers in youth custody services as the reason behind the closure, adding that the closure of the centre allows for an opportunity to modernize our province's youth justice system.
Our union is disappointed over the news of the closure given that the BCGEU was not given sufficient notice of these plans. We are here to support our members: the collective agreement provides protections for our members and we are currently working out those details and will follow up with more.
Our union has been informed that there are vacancies – in the Prince George Regional Correctional Centre and the Burnaby Youth Custody Services for example – for members who can relocate. The BC Sheriffs Service may also be an option along with other government vacancies. Most members working at Prince George Youth Custody will find placement and there may be an opportunity to maintain a few members within their classification for a holding facility while youth are waiting to be transported to Burnaby.
Our priority is to look after our members' interests, and we will make sure that members are supported throughout this process. We will be holding meetings over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition for our members and will keep you all apprised of any new developments.
In addition, our union will be asking government hard questions. We want to know why the BCGEU was completely left out of the conversation and not invited to take part in the consultation process. The short notice of this news is unacceptable. Our union also wants to know what the government's plans will be for the facility: the government should meet with key stakeholders and frontline workers who understand the local community and their needs, as they explore possible uses of the facility.
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