Blind or partially sighted people in Grande Prairie may soon experience a lack of services available to them here at home. Due to funding losses, Vision Loss Rehabilitation Alberta says it will be closing offices in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Grande Prairie and Red Deer as of September 20th.
In a release, VLRA says that each location requires provincial government funding to provide professionally accredited health care services, which can help people develop or restore skills crucial to mobility, independence and personal safety.
It says it is now unable to do that due to its funding request being denied by the provincial government.
“This funding shortfall required a difficult reevaluation of how we deliver our client services while continuing our commitment to provide core services to both rural and urban areas. However, the cost to operate all existing “bricks and mortar” facilities is simply not feasible under the current fiscal reality.”
It adds that the funding cuts will also “result in reductions in travel and mobility instruction as well as Early Intervention Service Provisions for children with vision loss aged 0-6 across the province.”
VLRA says a transition plan is in place and staff are currently looking at alternate ways to provide service such as bringing in therapists from Calgary and Edmonton to provide services in clients’ homes.
Offices in Calgary and Edmonton will remain open but 11 staff members will lose their jobs in the closure.