Media releases | March 30, 2012

Provincial Government Doing Nothing to Address Threats and Intimidation

EDMONTON An 81 year old woman recovering from cancer is speaking out after receiving an eviction notice for today at 12 noon because she had gotten together with others in her seniors lodge for tea.Eva Makowichuk, and others in the lodge have been raising questions and concerns about internal management issues. The management has responded by telling all residents “there is to be no gatherings or meetings of any kind in the common areas until further notice” including “no coffee or fellowship after church service.”Her eviction notice, dated March 15th said they are evicting her with only two weeks’ notice because, “You have been engaged in meetings, in the common area, whose sole purpose was to undermine the authority of the Board and the wellbeing of other tenants.”Mrs. Makowichuk is in no position to just pick up and move within 14 days out of the independent seniors’ apartment she has lived in for 16 years. Nor was any right of appeal offered to her, nor any form of support given to help her find a new place to live.The provincial government owns the low-income seniors lodge run by the Dnipro-Selo Housing Society. Officials within the Ministry of Housing have been made aware of the serious management issues over the past year and half, including threats of eviction, yet have taken no action to stop this abuse of power.Mrs. Makowichuk says “I am terrified about being evicted because I have no place to go. But I just have to speak out because this abuse of threatening me and others has to stop. We reported these problems to the Alberta government, but they have done nothing, even though they are ultimately in charge of this building. Seniors don’t know what to do when they are being threatened and it seems the government is not listening.”“The Alberta government must set up a system that protects vulnerable seniors,” says Noel Somerville, Chairperson of Public Interest Alberta’s Seniors Task Force. “We want all seniors’ homes and care facilities that receive government funding to have family councils that have full access to all complaints and that can address the issues long before they become a crisis.”Carol Wodak from Continuing Care Watch and the Seniors Action and Liaison Team says “Alberta seniors are not protected by this kind of abuse under the Protection of Person in Care Act because abuse is so narrowly defined and the system if just too difficult to navigate for most seniors. The government needs to establish a truly independent senior’s advocate that can proactively address these systemic issues. What better time to make a strong commitment to protect seniors than during a provincial election?” Eviction Letter-pg.1 (PDF) Eviction Letter- pg.2 (PDF) Notice from Dnipro Selo Housing Society Prohibiting Meetings(PDF) -30-Media Contact:Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director, Public Interest Alberta (780) 993-3736 

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