Executive pay raises eyebrows and concerns

Cariboo-Chilcotin NDP candidate Charlie Wyse challenges government on handling of Community Living of B.C.

Cariboo-Chilcotin NDP candidate Charlie Wyse has voiced his concerns about the B.C. Liberal government’s failure to eliminate pay increases to Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) executives.

After the end of the fiscal year, executives will have the former “incentive pay” bonuses rolled into their base salaries to be spread over the next three years.

Social Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux wrote in a guest editorial in the 100 Mile House Free Press (July 11 edition, page A8) that the government needed to make this change without ripping up employment contracts, potentially resulting in lawsuits.

She was responding to a guest editorial by NDP critic for CLBC, Nicholas Simons (page A8 of the July 4 Free Press), who noted that when the New Democrats asked earlier about the chance these would get rolled into salaries, Cadieux had been adamant they would get rid of the bonuses.

On July 23, Wyse said finding the funding is a priority.

“When you’ve said you’re not going to have bonuses, and then you say ‘it’s not bonuses, we’ve increased the salary the same amount of money’, there’s a misrepresentation there.

“It doesn’t matter, whatever the Premier [Christy Clark] wants to call these pay raises or bonuses or rollbacks, the government had promised these bonuses were not going to happen.”

He added forking out pay raises regardless of executives’ performance isn’t this government’s only “broken promise.”

The plan to have an advocate for 19- to 24-year-olds transitioning from the Ministry of Children and Family Development to CLBC was another issue Wyse pointed to as a “break in the coverage.”

“It really required expanding the mandate for the Representative for Children and Youth and giving that office the ability to advocate for this group of individuals with these special needs and requirements. That never did happen.”

Cadieux said the review undertaken in the fall was “thorough and rigorous” to understand “the nature of the problems.”

Wyse explained the “real problem” lies in the “inadequate” internal review the government performed on CLBC. He noted it should have been a complex external review to “identify properly” what the specific needs are, and where any new funding should go.

Cadieux argued $144 million in funding over the next three years, plus $36 million being held in contingency, was announced in January with a plan to improve services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

Wyse said without having an independent ministry review, and without knowing the current state of the province’s financial books, it remains “uncertain” where needs are the greatest and how much funding is needed to address them.

Often unable to speak up for themselves, he added there is vulnerability in individuals receiving care for developmental disabilities, and they consequently become more dependent on having expert opinions to identify system shortfalls.

“Until you have an impartial external review done, who knows where all the inadequacies are? We do know the families that are looking for the support for their children constantly point out the inadequate support that is there.”

The advocates that are close to these situations make, and back up, these same points, Wyse explained.

However, he added finding the funding for these services is also an issue of priority.

“If the government has money for bonuses, surely it must have money to have this external review done, so there’s a proper game plan to be implemented to look after these inadequacies.”

100 Mile House Free Press