HURONIA REGIONAL CENTRE
Mr. Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North):
I rise today to draw to the attention of all
members of this House and to all the citizens
of our province the uncertainty that will be
faced by the 340 residents of Huronia Regional
Centre and their families when the Orillia facility
is closed. We have now received thousands of
signatures from citizens from across our province
asking the government to carefully reconsider
what has become a decision that clearly is a
mistake and has no plan behind it.
On Saturday, April 9, between 1 p.m. and 3
p.m., the Huronia Helpers Family Organization
will meet at the Royal Canadian Legion in Orillia
to discuss further intentions. These friends
and family members are afraid for their loved
ones who reside at the Huronia Regional Centre.
Most of the residents have very special needs,
are elderly and have called HRC their home for
most of their lives.
I have visited the HRC many times over the
last few months. The facility is clean, neat,
and its residents live in family-like units,
not in the jail cell atmosphere that some would
make you believe is the case. The 680 employees
who care for the residents in a very kind and
professional manner are part of the culture
of Orillia and area. Their payroll contributes
$29 million to the local community.
Although I support the mandate and intent of
community living associations, I still feel
that there is a need to accommodate the residents
with very special needs who continue to live
in the three remaining facilities. I urge all
Ontarians to support the continuation of HRC
by signing petitions and by telling Dalton McGuinty
that the closure of HRC was not part of his
2003 election platform.