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Closing High-Demand AESL Office in Bonavista is Poor Public Policy
PC MHA for Bonavista Craig Pardy said, “The Ball Liberals’ decision to close the high-demand Advanced Education, Skills and Labour (AESL) office in Bonavista is poor public policy that will reduce access to basic services to people who really need it.”
Friday, February 14, 2020

Office of the Official Opposition
For Immediate Release

 
Bonavista, NL (February 14, 2020) – PC MHA for Bonavista Craig Pardy said, “The Ball Liberals’ decision to close the high-demand Advanced Education, Skills and Labour (AESL) office in Bonavista is poor public policy that will reduce access to basic services to people who really need it.”

“The Bonavista AESL office was among the busiest in the province, with double or triple the number of weekly visitations compared with other locations, proving the office’s services are badly needed and their removal will cause hardship for people,” said Pardy.

AESL does frontline work with income support clients as well as students, persons with disabilities, people with literacy challenges, single parents, apprentices, and unemployed or underemployed individuals needing skills training.

“Although the government claims people can avail of online services instead of visiting an office, many people in the region have no access to online technology in their own homes. In fact, the people most in need of AESL help are the people least likely to have easy access to online services. These are people with the least amount of disposable income to spend on technology,” he said.

“Although the government defends the closure as a way to save leasing expenses, the province currently has space of its own in Bonavista where staff could work without incurring leasing expenses,” he said.

“Although the government suggested the closure would reduce personnel expenses, the net reduction of personnel was insignificant, and at least one of the employees must now travel regularly from another centre over a great distance at government expense in order to meet with local clients. How does that save the government money?”

Pardy said, “One by one, the government’s arguments for the office closure have been dismantled while the arguments for keeping the Bonavista AESL office open are looking stronger and stronger with each passing week. The closure decision was not in the people’s or the province’s best interests, and needs to be reconsidered in light of the facts on the ground.”
 

Contacts:

Bradley Russell

Director of Policy and Research

(p) 1.709.729.3668

BradleyRussell@gov.nl.ca

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