November 04, 2013
Protection of PDD clients must be top priority: Wilson
EDMONTON, AB (November 4, 2013): The provincial government must step up its responsibility to provide quality of life for PDD clients and assure Albertans that steps are being taken to address negligent inaction of department bureaucrats after the death of Betty Anne Gagnon, Wildrose Human Service Critic Jeff Wilson said today.
Gagnon died in 2009 due to the negligence of her caregivers, a provincial court found last week. Lawyers cited the lack of support from provincial agencies as a contributing factor to the death of Gagnon. Tragically, PDD sent a letter indicating an alternate placement had been found for Gagnon months before her death, but caregivers did not receive the letter. The department did not follow up and Gagnon’s file was closed prematurely. “Betty Anne Gagnon’s story is a wakeup call. For an undelivered letter and a lack of due diligence from the department to have played such a devastating role in the events is unthinkable,” Wilson said. “PDD owes it to clients and families to ensure this kind of oversight by the bureaucracy does not result in files being prematurely closed while PDD clients are still in need.” In Question Period, Wilson demanded answers from the Minister of Human Services on the carelessness of provincial bureaucrats to turn down repeated requests for help, and asked that steps be taken to ensure nothing similar ever happens again. “The provincial government must remedy the cracks in the system that allowed Betty Anne Gagnon to fall through and be denied the necessities of life.”