Funding withdrawn from Dawson Trail Opportunities

by Marianne Curtis

   At the beginning of March, the province gave notice to Dawson Trail Opportunities that they will no longer be funded. Dawson Trail Opportunities provides services to intellectually challenged adults in Ste. Anne.

    “Manitoba Family Services told the Board of Dawson Trails Opportunities that it has lost confidence in the agency’s ability to province consistent care and services to its clients,” stated Linda Burnside, Director of Disability Programs.

   Dawson Trail Opportunities is a registered charity that receives both federal and provincial funding to provide programming for 35 mentally challenged adults and oversees five homes where up to ten people live.

   It has been co managed with Manitoba Family Services over the past year after allegations surfaced about alleged verbal and physical abuse, along with financial irregularities.

   At the time, Grant Doak a senior with Family Services stated that allegations of verbal abuse and physical abuse had surfaced. An investigation was launched and “serious concerns” surfaced. Within a few months three employees were suspended with pay.

   According to Burnside, the next few months will be a transitional period as the province tries to find another agency to take over the services offered by Dawson Trail Opportunities to other agencies in the region. It was noted that there are several agencies in the region that are capable of filling the gap.

   “We want to ensure a smooth transition that will have minimal impact on program participants,” stated Burnside.

   Provincial funding was withdrawn based on several things, added Burnside. She noted that the agency failed to report any issues to the government and even hired a staff member without a prior criminal check.   

   Grant Driedger, council for Dawson Trail Opportunities says that agency “is disappointed” with the government’s decision.

   Dawson Trail Opportunities has been providing services to mentally challenged adults for approximately twenty three years.


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