Childrenâ€™s advocate calls for end to lockout at Hamilton teen jail
Province should step in to reopen Arrell Youth Centre says rights group
The Hamilton Spectator, Jun 30, 2018, by Joanna Frketich
Members of Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 216 hold picket signs at the corner of Stone Church and Anchor Roads outside Banyan, the not-for-profit organization that runs the Arrell Youth Centre, in April. - Hamilton Spectator file photo
The Canadian Children's Rights Council is calling for an end to a labour dispute that has closed a Hamilton youth detention facility for more than two months.
No new talks are scheduled after negotiations broke down June 24 in the ongoing lockout at Arrell Youth Centre at 320 Anchor Rd. near Stone Church Road East and Dartnall Road.
The centre, which normally houses 16 young men convicted or accused of serious crimes, has been empty since the lockout began April 27. Most of the 16 teens who were moved stayed in the west region, which includes London, Guelph and Niagara. But three had to go to the east region, which stretches as far as Kingston.
"It undermines the whole idea of rehabilitation," said Grant Wilson, president of the nonprofit advocacy council. "That's a life-altering experience to go through that kind of labour disruption when you are a youth ... It's destructive to everybody."
He is calling on the province, which funds the detention centre, to help find a resolution that will see Arrell open again as soon as possible.
"The province should step in and do whatever it takes to sit these people down and work something out for the sake of everybody," said Wilson. "They should do something to get this back on the tracks."
The Ministry of Children and Youth Services declines to say how the prolonged closure of one facility is affecting the conditions at the rest of the province's detention centres.
A statement to The Spectator said: "As labour negotiations are a matter between the employer and the union, it would be inappropriate for the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to comment."
Banyan, the not-for-profit organization that runs Arrell, says other detention centres have had low occupancy so the impact has been marginal so far.
"The system has been able to rewire itself with the closure of Arrell," said CEO Kim Ciavarella. "They had capacity to take our youth."
But Wilson says the council's concerns about the closure go beyond whether there is physically enough room to house the teens at other sites.
"You want them to have a positive influence in their lives and that just doesn't happen when you have been sent away to another place and taken away from everybody including the workers themselves who are trying to build relationships with these 16 people in custody," said Wilson. "It will make people feel very uncomfortable not knowing how long it's going to be."
He questioned what disruptions the labour dispute is causing to the teens' schooling, family, treatment programs or other services based in Hamilton.
"It's a holding pattern," Wilson said about their current situation.
More than nine weeks of labour dispute involving one-quarter of Banyan's workforce is starting to strain the small not-for-profit," says Ciavarella.
"The stress upon our organization and our employees is mounting," she said. "We really would like to see a resolution to the dispute. I'm hopeful and determined to get these teams back to the table ... It's not an optimal situation at all."
She says the June 24 talks broke down after a mediator determined they had reached an impasse.
The union says it was Banyan that walked away from the negotiating table.
"The union did make some movement and conceded on a few things," said Len Mancini, Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 216 bargaining chair for the centre. "We were trying to be as creative as possible to negotiate a deal. We tried very hard. The employer wasn't as willing to move off of their issues as we were."
At the heart of the dispute is the cost of benefit premiums. Banyan wants staff to cover 20 per cent of the costs and take a reduced benefits package. The 60 staff are opposed because they already pay the entire cost of long-term disability benefits and have no Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) coverage.
"I truly hope they get back together very soon and try to get this place back to what it was," Wilson said.
TV Show about Parental Alienation
November 7, 2009
The world of divorce is scary for any child. But when a divorce becomes especially toxic, children can become the target of an unrelenting crusade by one parent to destroy the child's relationship with the other. Experts call it parental alienation.
The New York Times, New York city, U.S.A. August 8, 2004
Not too long ago, Jacqueline Scott Sheid was a pretty typical Upper East Side mother. Divorced and with a young daughter, she had quickly remarried, borne a son, and interrupted her career to stay home with the children while her husband, Xavier Sheid, worked on Wall Street.
Early last year, Mr. Sheid lost his job and saw his only career opportunity in California. But Ms. Sheid's ex-husband, who shares joint legal custody of their daughter, refused to allow the girl to move away. So Ms. Sheid has spent much of the last year using JetBlue to shuttle between her son and husband on the West Coast and her daughter (and ex) on the East.
The New York court system, which she hoped would help her family to resolve the problem, has cost her tens of thousands of dollars in fees for court-appointed experts, she said, and has helped to prolong the process by objecting to her choice of lawyers.
PA News (U.K.), July 3, 2004
A key court decision to grant a father custody of his daughters after the mother flouted contact orders for four years was today welcomed by campaigners.
Fathers 4 Justice said that the High Court ruling was a vital victory and called for more judges to take a similar stance when faced with resistant parents.
The comments come after Mrs Justice Bracewell transferred the residence of two young girls to their father because the mother persistently refused him contact, despite court orders. Read More ..
Rick James Lohstroh, a doctor at UTMB, was fatally shot this summer, apparently by his 10-year-old son.
ABC13 Eyewitness News, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
Dec. 29, 2004
The 10-year-old Katy boy accused of murdering his father this summer is now the face of an unofficial psychiatric disorder that may have lead to his father's death.
Some psychiatrists call it Parental Alienation Syndrome and they say that's why the son killed Doctor Rick Lohstroh last summer. The syndrome is basically caused by a bitter parent who poisons a child against the other parent, usually in cases of divorce.
THE CANADIAN BAR ASSOCIATION
L'ASSOCIATION DU BARREAU CANADIEN
May 12, 2009
By Nicholas Bala, Suzanne Hunt & Carrie McCarney
Faculty of Law
Kingston, ON Canada
Alienation cases have been receiving a great deal of public and professional attention in the past few months in Canada. As with so many issues in family law, there are two competing, gendered narratives offered to explain these cases. Men's rights activists claim that mothers alienate children from their fathers as a way of seeking revenge for separation, and argue that judges are gender-biased against fathers in these cases. Feminists tend to dismiss alienation as a fabrication of abusive fathers who are trying to force contact with children who are frightened of them and to control the lives of their abused former partners. While there is some validity to both of these narratives, each also has significant mythical elements. The reality of these cases is often highly complex, with both fathers and mothers bearing significant responsibility for the situation.
Two of the many findings are:
Mothers are twice as likely as fathers to alienate children from the other parent, but this reflects the fact that mothers are more likely to have custody or primary care of their children; in only 2 out of 89 cases was a parent with only access able to alienate a child from the other parent.
Fathers made more than three times as many unsubstantiated claims of parental alienation as mothers, but this too reflects the fact that claims of alienation (substantiated and unsubstantiated) are usually made by access parents, who are usually fathers.